Wednesday, April 26, 2017

{Review} Drive Thru History® - "The Gospels"

This school year Amber has been taking Bible classes at our homeschool co-op with our church's pastor and loves it. Yet for this reason I haven't really felt the need to provide her with a religion course at home, since the co-op class included homework.  However when we were offered the chance to review Drive Thru History® – “The Gospels”, I decided we definitely had time in our days to include these videos.

The DVD set we received from Drive Thru History® includes 18 30-minute episodes on three discs, as well as a full-color study guide that is part of the book/case with the discs. We thought the packaging was rather ingenious; it looks rather like a pew Bible from the outside with the discs inset into the front and back covers on the inside. The pages are then the study guide that include stunning photographs from the Holy Land along with photos of religious art used in the episodes.  The study guide has a few pages for each episode including a summary, discussion questions, Bible reading passages, "Side Road" information that explains a little more about the topic of the episode.

Review of Drive Thru History® - "The Gospels"

Drive Thru History® – “The Gospels” uses the four Gospels in the Bible as the factual basis for a history narration of the life of Jesus of Nazareth.  The series looks at who Jesus was and what is known of his life not only using facts found in the Bible but also information corroborated by other documents from the time. Since this is a video series, we are able to not only learn about the detailed history of the time, but get a look at where it all took place!

To understand the history and meaning of many of the details in the Gospels, one must have an understanding of both Hebrew and Roman cultures. Drive Thru History® – “The Gospels” does a fantastic job of providing information on those customs, the background history of various people who appear in the biblical gospels, as well as details of the cities and towns. Overlays of how buildings may have looked are even presented on video of the current ruins to help us not only hear but see how world worked during Jesus' time. All of this helps us to make sense of what would otherwise seem to be insignificant details in the Bible.

Review of Drive Thru History® - "The Gospels"

Just in case you are a little shaky on your Holy Land geography, the episodes frequently show clear maps to indicate the locations of the various events in the gospels. We very much appreciated being able to see the location, or presumed location, of each city discussed in the episodes.

What I've described might sound very informative, but also somewhat dry. Never fear! The host, Dave Stotts, has a fantastic sense of humor and provides quite a bit of comedy relief through out all of the episodes. He has a pleasant and informative style that makes it easy to retain the information you hear, while keeping just the right amount of humor.

How we used Drive Thru History® – “The Gospels”

I really thought Amber would watch these episodes mostly on her own and I'd join in occasionally to ensure all was going well. Instead we watched every single episode together on the laptop, of all devices, in the guest bedroom relaxing and spending time with our cat Biscotti that is currently sequestered from the other cats.

Review of Drive Thru History® - "The Gospels"

We finished most at-home school days by watching two or three episodes at a time together. It was a rather relaxing way to end each day. We even occasionally paused the playback to discuss a point or two, especially when Amber noticed an interpretation of a fact she felt was not entirely true. We did not use the study guide, but after reading through the study guide I did find a few of the extra facts interesting and read them out to Amber. We finished the last episode right before Holy Week, which seemed appropriate, given the topic.

Amber and I were both enthralled with all of the detailed information. However we did find a few, not many, discrepancies in the interpretation of the data compared to how it is taught by the LCMS (Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod). As part of Amber's confirmation courses, last school year we attended several presentations by LCMS scholars and seminary professors on some of these very topics. Amber actually caught the differences and made me go back to hear it again. She was a bit displeased with what she viewed as inaccuracies until I explained that some people have different interpretations of the historical data. In the end, all of the information leads to the same conclusions and it is mostly academic. She was placated by this. Still I was pleased she listened closely enough to both the presentations last year and the Drive Thru History® episodes to note the difference.

Review of Drive Thru History® - "The Gospels"

Given all of the discussions this DVD set instigated, we decided these episodes would be the perfect way to round out Amber's elective credit in Religion. The topic fit perfectly with her two Bible studies at co-op: The Gospels and In the Beginning, since the episodes cover the very topic she studied first semester but related back to the prophesies of the coming Messiah from the second semester course.

Drive Thru History® – “The Gospels” turned out to be one of the best video series we have seen in a long time. We both went into a bit of Drive Thru History® withdraw when the last episode finished and are now eyeing sets from Drive Thru History® as a replacement for our end-of-day relaxation lessons. We both highly recommend this set for both historical and religious information.

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Other members of the Homeschool Review Crew also had the chance to watch Drive Thru History® - "The Gospels". Please follow the link in the graphic below to read their experiences.

The Gospels {Drive Thru History® Reviews}

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