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Fun, Hands on History Learning With Homeschool In the Woods (A Schoolhouse Crew Review)

Although I wouldn't necessarily label myself as a creative person, I've always loved hands on learning opportunities with my kids. Lapbook, notebooking, crafts that coordinate with learning- all of these are things I find as enjoyable as the kids do. So when I read about the Project Passport history units from Homeschool in the Woods, I was very excited to have the chance to use this with my younger girls- ages 9 and 11.

We received Project Passport World History Study: The Middle Ages from Home School in the Woods. We received the downloadable version of this history unit. (There is also a CD.) The unit includes printable PDF files that contain the teacher's notes, the Guide book (reading about the subject), audio files, pages to create a Scrapbook of Sights notebook, timelines, maps, newspaper articles, postcards from the time period, a passport and suitcase, and more. The unit is intended for grades 3-8, and the downloadable version currently sells for $33.95 while the CD version sells for $34.95 on the site.
A review of a hands on study through the Middle Ages
About Home School in the Woods

Home School in the Woods is a company begun by a homeschooling family. The Pak family began this company when they were seeking for timeline figures to create a timeline that corresponded with the method of living history that they were studying. After the creation of the timeline figures, they have gone on to provide other history related, hands on resources such as lapbooking and notebooking materials and more. The company is a Christian worldview company, and this is reflected in the material.

I first came upon Home School in the Woods when we began using their timeline figures. As a history buff and timeline lover, I've really appreciated these timeline figures and resources.


About Project Passport World History Study: The Middle Ages

The Project Passport series is designed to take students on a trip to other times and cultures. The unit studies include many hands on projects that the children do in a series of "stops" along their journey. The units include activities such as listening to audio files, creating a newspaper, making mini books to put in their Scrapbook of sites, and creating a passport and luggage that can be used throughout their journeys through all of the passport units.

In the Project Passport World History Study: The Middle Ages unit, students are taken on a tour of the middle ages where they learn about the structure of life, the culture of the people, the barbarian tribes that entered the picture of history at the fall of Rome, and more. They have hands on activities that will allow them to create a medieval newspaper; make postcards from some Middle Ages characters who tell them about life in the times; create a Scrapbook of Sites to hold mini books, maps and other notebooking activities; and create a timeline book that will show major events in the Middle Ages.

A review of a hands on study through the Middle Ages


A review of a hands on study through the Middle Ages

The materials that come in the download file or CD include printable PDFs of all of the materials the kids need, a detailed Travel Itinerary (lesson plan) for the teacher, audio files that will let students take part in the "Knight In Shining Armor Tours" where they'll visit various medieval places like a Festival Day and a monastery, and Guide Book text that the students can read to learn about life in the Middle Ages.

A review of a hands on study through the Middle Ages

Although it seems like quite a bit of material, the program is arranged very well. After you unzip the file you receive in the download, you can click "Start" to be taken to a step by step screen that walks you through each stop in the journey. You'll know exactly what printables are needed for each lesson and what guide book text is read. There are even photos included that will guide you in knowing what each project should look like.

A review of a hands on study through the Middle Ages


A review of a hands on study through the Middle Ages

The program is very flexible. The 25 stops can be spread out over 8-12 weeks, depending on how much you do each day. And the units can easily be used with multiple ages in the upper elementary to middle school age range. The activities can be adapted so that younger kids may work on an easier level while older students are required to do more.


Our Adventures With Project Passport: The Middle Ages

I was excited to use this unit study with Ashlyne- a rising 6th grader- and Rachel- a rising 5th grader. We've covered the Middle Ages in our history cycle, so the girls had some prior knowledge. Using this unit study gave them some hands on supplemental learning about the time period.

I was a little overwhelmed by the many, many things included in the download. But there are really good instructions that clearly guide the teacher in using the materials. I chose to send off the files to be printed because my printer is older, and I thought the ink needed was going to be quite a bit. I was able to easily have the material printed at our local office supply store in a very affordable manner.

A review of a hands on study through the Middle Ages

I printed the material first and then organized it all so that I would have things ready as needed. I also read through the Quick Travel Itinerary which is a short summary of what is going to be covered in each stop. The instructions say that you can organize the teacher materials in a binder, but I chose to use folders because it seemed easier to organize that way. I chose not to print the guide book and the detailed travel itinerary. Instead I read those directly from the file as we visited each Stop.

For the girls, I purchased each a 1 1/2 inch binder to be their Scrapbook of Sites and to hold their materials. I love projects that will result in a notebook or lapbook at the end, so I loved the idea that they would make a binder.

A review of a hands on study through the Middle Ages

We typically did one Stop a day a few days each week. A few stops- like the first- had lots of hands on things to make, so we took more than one day. But usually, I could read the Guide Book text out loud and then walk the girls through the projects for that stop in about 45 minutes or so for the day.

A review of a hands on study through the Middle Ages

All of the projects were well suited for my girls. I did allow Rachel to write less in the activities that had creative writing because she's just not a great writer yet. But the program was very easy to adapt in things like this, so using it with kids of varied ages works well.

A review of a hands on study through the Middle Ages


What We Thought

I loved this hands on history resource. I truly know that with my kids, any learning that involves activity and uses multiple senses- listening, looking, and doing- is going to be more lasting learning. I have enjoyed the projects we've done, and the girls have learned more about the Middle Ages to build on the things we had read and learned about previously.

The unit study doesn't have supplemental reading. There is only the Guide Book text that is the source of information. This was fine for me because I was using this as a supplement to cover an area of history we had already studied in more detail. If you wanted to stretch out the Project Passport study, I think you could easily add more reading of good living books about the time period and use this as your complete history for the year.

I'd like to do the other two Project Passport studies with the girls- Ancient Egypt and Renaissance and Reformation. They can make a good, shorter summer study. Or, as I said above, I think I could add some literature and use this as our complete history curriculum.


The Facts



Company- Home School in the Woods

Product- Project Passport World History Study: The Middle Ages

Age recommendation- 3rd-8th grade

Price- $33.95 for download; $34.95

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Other Crew members reviewed the Middle Ages and the other two Project Passport units. Click the banner to read more reviews.


Home School in the Woods Review



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