Dave Stotts is ridiculous. For a lot of kids this is exactly what is needed to make history interesting—a guide who knows what he's talking about but isn't boring and old, who cracks jokes and adds an element of absurdity to what is often an unbearable subject. At the same time, this isn't some kind of irreverent romp, but a genuinely educational (though incomplete) investigation of important historical figures and events.
How Does This Work?
The Drive Thru History series' purpose is twofold: to introduce historical topics to kids while at the same time emphasizing the good character of important figures. Its layout is simple—students watch a DVD lesson and read a portion of text. There aren't consumable workbooks, teacher's guides, or any other elements to juggle.
Each lesson in Drive Thru History: America—Foundations of Character deals with an important figure in the founding and early development of the United States. Eight individuals are covered in all, most of them familiar (George Washington, Benjamin Franklin), a couple less well-known (Haym Salomon, for instance). Kids learn about the nation's history concurrently with the lives and character of each historic person.
There aren't written assignments or lots of activity suggestions here. This is pretty straightforward, without frills or supplements. This could be either a fun introduction or a supplement to your main history curriculum. No clear age range is suggested by the publishers but the target group seems to be elementary and middle school kids; older students might be amused, but probably won't find tons of new material.
The creators of this series wanted a course that integrated Christian history with "regular, secular" history, not sealing it off as is often done. They also wanted to make it fun and educational, and to offer perspectives and information not usually presented in more politically correct programs. Drive Thru History is unabashedly faith-based, but it isn't preachy and is actually pretty balanced, presenting both virtues and flaws of famous man and women.
Our Honest Opinion:
Many students don't want to study history because they balk at the prospect of shoveling dust off their textbooks and scanning fine print until their good eyesight is reduced to the hazy vision of old people. Dave Stotts will ensure, if nothing else, that kids will be entertained while learning about their country. Parents will appreciate that his humor isn't crude or obnoxious, and that he does, indeed, teach. Picture this as to living history what Life of Fred is to algebra. While this will work in conjunction with any history curriculum, you might consider A History of US as your main course since Drive Thru History will provide the Christian perspective Joy Hakim's series lacks.
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