Home School In The Woods – Review

AJ is a hands on learner who enjoys lapbooks. The more activities involved in a project, the more she learns and remembers the topic. I try to bring as much fun into school as possible, but sometimes putting it all together can be time consuming. When we were given the opportunity to review the Project Passport World History Study: The Middle Ages, from Home School in the Woods we were both excited. History has never been our favorite subject, but if we can bring it to life it makes the subject so much more enjoyable.

Home School in the Woods Review
It is available as a digital download (which is what we received) that is compatible for both Mac and PC or as a CD.

The Project Passport for the Middle Ages is a 25 stop unit study all about the Middle Ages. It is designed to take between six to twelve weeks, but I don’t see how anyone could finish it in six weeks! It is packed full of information. You are touring the Middle Ages learning about different topics as you go. The first three stops on your trip cover background information to bring you up to date on the topic. You also set up your passport and gather your materials. Using the guidebook, audio tours, timelines, crafts, and other hands on activities, it brings the time period to life. Throughout the study your child creates a newspaper, a scrapbook, a lapbook, and many memories all about the Middle Ages.

Hands on learning about the Middle Ages with Home School in the Woods

We received a digital download that included; texts for each stops, itineraries for each stop, masters for all of the projects and worksheets, audio tours, teacher keys, printables for the notebook, and a guide full of tips and additional information.

At first I was a little overwhelmed with everything that was included. But I soon realized that if I took everything step by step it was all broken down and told me exactly what to do. We decided to print the itineraries but to read the text off of the computer.

Each week I would pull up the itinerary for the stop we were working on and follow the directions on what to print. I love that it tells me what to print and how. It tells what to print on cardstock, plain paper, and what needs to be printed on white paper. It even tells when to print a page on the back of another page. If you follow the directions it really is fool proof.

Once everything was printed for the week I would put the papers in her notebook and when we worked on history we had everything we needed.

There are a variety of activities in each stop. Some took longer than others. We started each stop by reading new information from the text. We found the information interesting and well written. There were a lot of facts in the reading, but it wasn’t overwhelming.

After the reading was finished she would cut out timeline figures to add them to her snapshot moments pages. These were neat, and since we were learning about things from different time periods it helped to keep everything in perspective. The directions called for her to color the pictures, but she doesn’t like to color so we decided to leave them plain.

Scrapbook of Sites Middle Ages

When that was finished she often had a post card to read and color. This was one of the activities that helped to bring the Middle Ages to life! The post card came from a famous person from the period and gave their perspective on a subject.

Often she had to add an article or drawing to the newspaper. She had the hardest time with this project because she struggles with creative writing. The assignments are short and should be fun.

Middle Ages Newspaper

Some days there was an audio tour. The audio tours were amazing and by far her favorite part. They are professional quality and introduce you to various people from the Middle Ages. We met a quite a few different people and learned a lot about how they lived.

There are map projects, lapbook pieces, and hands on projects with each stop.

So many hands on projects with Homeschool in the Woods!

One of AJ’s favorite projects so far was the Middle Ages puppets.

Puppets to learn about the Middle Ages

Overall the Project Passport World History Study: The Middle Ages is a solid history program. It is full of learning opportunities and makes a boring topic entertaining. The numerous activities help your child to really remember what they are learning. It doesn’t just focus on dates and places, but the people as well. The author includes lists of books, movies, and audios that can enhance the study. I love that we can take each topic as in depth as we want.

We had planned to use a different history curriculum for the upcoming school year, but AJ is learning so much and enjoying history again so we are going to finish this one and if finances allow, we will do the Renaissance and Reformation one next.

The main downfall to the program is the amount of printing. It uses a lot of ink, paper, and cardstock. It was a little confusing at first with how to get started, and it is more time consuming than other programs. For us, the fun element overrides the downsides. We can’t wait to continue learning about the Middle Ages.

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Home School in the Woods Review

Midwestern States Packet (Free Printable)

Grab your free printable to help learn the states and capitals of the Midwest!

Today is the final day of my 30 days of Free Printables! Today’s printable will finish off the State Sets. The Midwestern states set covers the states and capitals for; Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

I hope you have enjoyed all of these free printables! Did you miss any? Check out this post that lists all 30 days,

Drawing Around the World ~ Review

I was recently given the opportunity to review 2 fun products from Brookdale House, Drawing Around the World USA and Drawing Around the World Europe. They were both created by Kimberly Garcia. I have previously reviewed a few of her products and have enjoyed every one of them, so I was anxious to have AJ try these out.

This is an amazing curriculum that teaches geography through drawing!

Drawing Around the World America and Drawing Around the World Europe are very similar. Both are geography programs that use daily drawing and tracing of states or countries to help kids become more familiar with geography. Short lessons broken up over 4 days provide a fun way to learn!

On the first day you are introduced to 1 or more new states (USA version) or countries (Europe version). Your child traces the new state, draws it the best they can, and then uses the internet or other resources to fill out information about the state/country. Then they trace all of the states/countries that they have learned up to this point. The lesson ends with them drawing and labeling all of the states/countries they have learned on a blank map. The first day is the longest, because it requires them to look up information.

The second and third days are very simple. The student traces all of the states/countries they have learned and then draws and labels them on a blank map.

On the fourth day they draw all of the states/countries that they have learned from memory. In the USA version they also list the states they have learned along with their abbreviations.

My favorite thing about this program is that the lessons are fairly quick, easy, and AJ is really learning the different states and countries. She likes to trace the different countries and is getting better at drawing them. The point of this curriculum isn’t to get your child to draw a perfect map, but to get them familiar with where different countries are located. I feel it is doing just that!

The only downside that I have found is the amount of printing. Each week you need to print about 7 pages, most of which require a lot of ink. One recommended way to limit some of the printing was to use sheet protectors and dry erase markers. This is something we will be trying over the next few weeks. I think if I only had to print a few pages, that this program would be even better.

So far this program is great! We are going to continue using them both. I will have a complete review in a few more weeks.

 

 

 

Pacific Coast States Printable

Learn the states and capitals of the Pacific coast states (FREE Printable)

I can’t believe the 30 days of free printables is almost over! Today I am continuing with the state sets. The Pacific Coast set covers; Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington.

Download your Pacific Coast States Set toady, and come back tomorrow for the final state set, the Midwestern States.

Southwestern States Printable

Free Printable to learn the states and capitals

Your kids will have fun learning the states and capitals of the Southwest with this FREE Printable packet. Fun puzzles will help them learn the capitals for – Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas.

Download your FREE Southwestern States Set today! Don’t forget to come back tomorrow for another free printable.

Famous Men of Rome ~ Review

  Famous Men of Rome is a great product, even if you aren't a classical homeschooler!

We were given the opportunity to review the Famous Men of Rome Set from Memoria Press. It is classical year long course about Ancient Rome designed for 4th to 8th grade students. The set comes with a 157 page soft covered book, Famous Men of Rome. The book is broken down into 30 different chapters covering the history of Rome from the tale of Romulus and Remus to the end of the Western Empire. It is full of pictures, some black and white and others in color. The back of the book includes a glossary and full color maps of Ancient Rome. The length of each chapter really varies. Some are as short as 2 and a half pages while others are more than six pages long.

Memoria Press Review
 

To go along with the Famous Men of Rome, we also received a Student Guide. The Student Guide is a 120 page soft covered book. It includes a two page lesson for each chapter, 5 different review lessons, drawing pages to complete activities, maps (in black and white), a blank timeline to fill in, European geography lessons, a pronunciation guide, and additional resources.

Famous Men of Rome Review
The final piece of the Famous Men of Rome Set was the Teacher’s Guide. The Teacher’s Guide is a 172 page soft covered book. It includes a short two page section explaining how to use the guide. The first 120 pages are basically another Student Guide that has all of the answers filled in. The rest of the book contains the 7 different tests and answer keys, 5 to be completed after the review lessons, a final test covering the entire book, and a European geography test.

Weekly lessons from Famous Men of Rome

Each lesson is designed to last a week. The lessons are broken up into four sections; Facts to Know, Vocabulary, Comprehension Questions, and Activities. The Facts to Know section lists the most important facts from the lesson. It is also the section of the lesson that is to be used for memory work and copywork if desired. The Vocabulary section takes words from the text. The student is to try and figure out the meaning of the word from the context that it is use in, if they can’t then they are to look up the word. The Comprehension Questions are questions based on the reading. Most of the questions require a short answer or a list from the reading. The Activity section changes each week. They include locating places on the maps, filling out the timeline, drawing part of the reading, looking up information, and questions from the reading. There are some questions marked throughout the book that can be used as essay questions as well.

How we used Famous Men of Rome

While the lessons are intended to last a week, after the first week we decided to speed up the pace. We school 4 days a week and completed two lessons a week. The first day we would go over all of the Facts to Know sections from the previous lessons. Then AJ and I would read the first half of the chapter. She would answer any vocabulary or comprehension questions that she could answer from the first half of the chapter. Then she would choose 2 or 3 activities to complete, usually map work, timeline work, or drawing a picture.

On the second day we would go over all of the Facts to Know sections so far then finish up the reading. When she was finished she would fill out any unanswered vocabulary or comprehension sections. The reading time varied depending on the length of the chapter and her willingness to read, but the book work part never took longer than about 20 minutes.

What we thought about Famous Men of Rome

We are NOT classical homeschoolers. We don’t do memory work and rarely use text books. We enjoy reading great stories and learning in a hands on way. I didn’t know how AJ would take to trying to memorize dates and places, but I was pleasantly surprised. She really enjoyed reading the stories. They were exciting, full of drama, and in her words, crazy. The part she liked the best was the Facts to Know section. She loved trying to learn all of the facts. She remembered way more than I expected, and even took it upon herself to create flashcards for some of the ones she was having trouble with.

We both liked that the book work part of the lessons was short and sweet. The activities were varied enough to keep her interest and there was not too much writing. I love the fact that the vocabulary section came with answers. So many times we struggle with the vocabulary section because all dictionaries are a little different. It was nice to have the correct definitions at my fingertips.

My favorite part of the entire set was the pronunciation guide.  It was written where AJ could easily figure out how to pronounce the different Roman names. I can’t ever seem to get names right, so I found that section very helpful.

Famous Men of Rome includes some European Geography

The geography section was ok. By the looks of the book more geography is introduced in later chapters, but in my opinion you would really need more geography to have a solid grasp.

The major complaint I had was  the lack of instruction for the teacher. As I mentioned before, there is a two page section that tells you how to use the guide, but it isn’t very useful. The book doesn’t tell you how long a lesson should take, or give any suggested schedule. While I appreciate the answers, I prefer a teacher’s guide that has more to it.

The other issue I had was with the tests. The tests are in the Teacher’s Manuel, but they are not perforated for easy removal. They look difficult to remove. Since the answer key is right behind the test, giving the student the book really isn’t an option.

Overall we liked the Famous Men of Rome Set and I would recommend it to those who want to study history in a classical way. It is interesting, doesn’t have too much busy work, and AJ enjoyed it. We are planning on continuing with the books next year, but we will more than likely skip some of the vocabulary and continue with our faster pace. The stories are great and I feel that AJ has already learned so much from them.

Memoria Press Review
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Rocky Mountain States Printable

Practice the states and capitals a few at a time with these fun puzzles!

Today’s free printable is another state set! Have fun practicing the Rocky Mountain States – Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming. Your kids will have fun learning with crossword puzzles, a word search, matching activities and more.

Download the Rocky Mountain State Set today and come back tomorrow for another FREE Printable.

Learn the States and Capitals – Southern States

Today’s FREE Printable is the second set in my State Sets. This set focuses on the Southern States. There are crossword puzzles, word searches, matching activities, and more!

Don’t forget to come back for more Freebies. We are nearing the end of my 30 days of freebies!

Learn the States and Capitals – Northeastern States

Learning the states and capitals can be hard if you try and memorize them all at once! I decided to break them up into smaller parts when AJ was learning them. Today’s FREE Printable is a set of puzzles and matching activities for the North Eastern States.

I will be adding more state sets to round out my 30 days of FREE Printables, so be sure to come back for more!

American Flag Worksheets

Almost everyone in America knows the Pledge of Allegiance. When you were a kid you more than likely rattled it off every day as fast as possible without even really understanding it. I know I did. It wasn’t anything important, just part of the day like attendance and recess. I didn’t know much about it until I was at church learning about the pledge to the American Flag, the Christian Flag, and the Bible. I remember spending about a month learning about each flag and pledge.

We learned what the pledge really meant, the significance of the colors on the flag, and how to care for it. After that, saying the pledge every morning at school meant a little bit more to me. It was no longer a task to hurry through, but a time of respect.

Get this free American Flag Worksheet! Part of the 30 days of Free Printables.

AJ learned the pledge in kindergarten. She would mess up the words and had no idea what they meant, but she knew it. When she got to be in about third grade we learned a lot about the American Flag and the Pledge of Allegiance. We learned the history behind the flag and some basic rules about it.

We don’t say the pledge every day. Maybe we should, but it is not something we do. She knows a lot about the flag, but during times when the country seems to be a little more patriotic I try to revisit our study of the American Flag. We go over the pledge, the look and care for the American Flag, the Star Spangled Banner, and a few other items.

I made this packet for AJ to work on. It covers some basic facts about the American Flag and the Pledge of Allegiance. I will have AJ fill out most of it from memory, and the rest I will have her look up. Your child may be able to answer the questions from prior knowledge, or they may need a little help. Here are a few websites that may help.

USA For Kids

Learning Haven

American Flag Facts for Kids

Download your American Flag Worksheet today, and come back tomorrow for another FREE Printable.