As a packaged curriculum, Project Management Essentials prepares the user for the CompTIA Project+ Certification Exam and is designed to increase entrepreneurial confidence, and improve practical skills of project management. The components include a glossy hardcover textbook, four DVDs, a Resource CD, a one-page Template and Resources List that tells what is included on the Resource CD, and a sample exam with answers and explanations. The program is based on a professional-level three-day seminar that the instructor (a homeschooling parent with seven children) has delivered in the business community for years. That said, it is designed for mature audiences--probably age 14 and up. The stated course objectives include professional development, entrepreneur ventures, home management (including budgets, scheduling, and effective use of time in the home), discipleship for older children, and Kingdom expansion.
The 280-page textbook has three parts. Part One includes the expected "textbook" portion of the course. Part Two covers the DVD Presentation Slides, providing printed versions of the PowerPoint presentation of the course. And Part Three includes support materials--the quizzes and answer keys and the sample exam and answer key. All of the components are designed to reinforce one another. The DVD instruction is the core and includes more than six hours on four DVDs. Boiler-plate templates are included on the Resource CD, as is the Home Management Bundle from Values-Driven, including the Microsoft Excel budget tool. MP3s of all of the video instruction are also included on the accompanying CD, so you can use an iPod if you'd prefer. Two bonus seminars are included--the Planning Seminar and the Home Management Seminar. This complete, multimedia curriculum for is specifically designed for Christian homeschoolers.
There are embedded questions to test your knowledge; after a question is offered, you simply pause the DVD, determine your answer, and then continue to play the DVD. There are quizzes for the end of each chapter, and the instructor includes Scripture throughout the course. We particularly liked the statement "Everything you do, do as if unto the Lord" when explaining the need for professionalism and completion of a task or project. Tough issues like conflict management and resolution are included as are explanation of adequate problem solving skills. And although staying positive is stressed, the instructor is also thorough enough to stress the importance of documenting a project. He admits it helps to be a technical expert in Project Management, but it is not required.
One fantastic aspect of the program is its flexibility with regard to schedule. You could work through the curriculum non-stop over three days or study it in smaller increments and take more time. And of course, as with any DVD instruction, you can replay any portion you need to spend more time on. The sample exam may be taken repeatedly until you are able to pass it easily. Then you can go on to take the Project+ exam. The inclusion of Biblical examples of project management is a wonderful thing to have included, especially if using this course with your older children. Who would have thought about Joseph being a project manager? Yet the instructor, Marc Carrier, shows how Joseph accomplished various tasks and processes over 14 long years! This is simply a very thorough course. The Excel Budget tool is a blessing, and clearly, if parents were to use this course simply to increase their children's organizational abilities and implement the home organization portion alone, the course would have been a reasonable investment--and even a great deal!
The videos are sometimes "off," with the sound and the lips not in sync, which is annoying. Disc 2 is primarily a commercial for Values Driven, as it includes the Family Values and Home Management seminars. But these are very useful, and I would urge families to use this portion to help train daughters in homemaking. The phrase "Rob Peter to pay Paul" is included as Carrier explains shifting resources during a project, and although it was understandable in the context, I don't know that it was necessary. Some of the presentation is rather dry, but the information is thorough and explained well. We found some of the resources, particularly the various templates, to be very intimidating and much more than we would need. For those intending to use this course as a stepping-stone in the professional world, the templates will be very helpful as tangible examples of the tools of the trade. I should also mention that the use of "the switch" is referenced for disciplining a child, but Carrier focuses intently on the heart and keeping one's focus on God, along with encouragement to avoid materialism and to not chase after the world.
If the Project Management Essentials course did nothing more than light a fire in the hearts of students for completing tasks according to God's will, it would be worth it. The course can be used to prepare the user for a professional certification that will provide a step-up in the work force. For homeschool moms, the course will enable you to better organize your life and accomplish the many tasks you have at hand. Marc Carrier and Values Driven have created a wonderful product that will be well used by individuals who desire to improve their life skills.