For most of my homeschooling career, the kids started studying science and history around fourth grade. They used our ScienceFusion courses, and I assigned them biographies on historical figures. However, a few years ago, I wanted to start them a little earlier; it would help feed Keira’s growing love for history and give them a great foundation for harder courses later on.
Unfortunately, they were a couple grades too young for the ScienceFusion courses we had access to and hadn’t yet learned how to write a proper essay, let alone a biography. I didn’t want to spend money on brand-new resources they would grow out of within a few years. Wouldn’t it be great if I could organize videos, articles, and self-made activities into my own course for them?
That’s when I found Versal. It’s a free (Disclaimer: it’s free if you use it for education, not business purposes), easy-to-use course builder for subjects for which we don’t have purchased resources. On my homeschool account at the moment, I have more than twenty courses: Norse Mythology, the French Revolution, the Human Body, World War I, etc.
Each course is divided into lessons. For example, World War II has individual lessons such as The Holocaust, the European Theater, and The Axis Powers. Each of those can be broken down further into sections. I separated The Axis Powers into Benito Mussolini, Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and Emperor Hirohito. Each lesson and section has a combination of videos, small blocks of text, timelines, diagrams, Quizlet sets, and quizzes.
Versal has a great variety of ‘gadgets’ that teachers can add to their courses. These allow me to take a mini-biography of Winston Churchill from Youtube and easily insert it next to a timeline of his life’s events. I can also make up a set of flash cards and embed those onto the course: no coding skills required!
Here is an example of a Quizlet set I embedded onto my World War I course.
For more in-depth lessons, you can also embed Prezis (I used a great presentation on Anne Frank that my daughter made) and Google Documents.
A great gadget that I recently discovered allows me to make an interactive map; I used it to illustrate places the Vikings settled in a lesson about their exploration.
There are still aspects of Versal I’m yet to explore; they have so many amazing options to make your courses fun and engaging for kids!
For more information and to start your own Versal Education account, visit their site:
One idea can launch a million more
If you want to see what a finished Versal course really looks like, check out my World War II course!