Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Review of Home School in the Woods

Home School in the Woods Review
When I looked in my email to see when I made my first Home School in the Woods purchase, I saw that it was all the way back in 2008. That makes it one of my first homeschooling purchases ever. I'm not surprised. Home School in the Woods has some of the most beautiful products on the market. That was true in 2008 and it is still true today. Even more impressive, they keep putting out amazing new products. Project Passport World History Study: The Middle Ages was a new product to me. I have all of Home School in the Woods' gorgeous maps, several of their Time Travelers U.S. History Studies, and an Activity-Pak, but this Project Passport may just be my favorite product ever (apart from their maps - the maps will always be my first love).
Home School in the Woods Review
The thing about every single Home School in the Woods product is that you get so very much for your money. This Project Passport is divided into 25 "Stops" and is designed to last 8-12 weeks. The stops you will take along your journey are as follows:

  • Laying the Foundation (Packing)
  • Barbarians in the South and East
  • Barbarians in the North and West
  • Family
  • Clothing and Food
  • Community
  • Crime, Punishment...and Entertainment
  • Towns and Guilds
  • Merchants, Trade, and Exploration
  • Science and Invention
  • Education
  • The Arts
  • Medicine and Disease
  • The Church - History
  • The Church - Church and Other Religious Events
  • Monastic Life
  • The Crusades - the Big Four
  • Other Crusades
  • Knights and Chivalry
  • Viking Life
  • Era of the Viking
  • The Muslim Invasions
  • Eastern Europe
  • England
  • Final Stop - Packing Up!
Within each of these stops, there are numerous activities related to the stop's theme. Throughout, there is a timeline to keep, including Home School in the Woods' incredible timeline figures to place. Included with your purchase are binder covers and spines so that you can organize all of your printables, which include all of your "Stops," a Quick Start Itinerary (super helpful, as it tells you in a snapshot what you will need/do each day),

all of your printable masters, teacher keys, and even text for each "stop." You don't just get printables with this Passport, though. You also get 7 MP3 files. These are very well done extras that add so much to the study. Everyone knows that I am a huge fan of old-time radio, podcasts, and other spoken word things, so I especially appreciated the inclusion of some aural material. "Touring" a monastery was such a neat supplement to this study, especially since I am not a super-crafty person, and so much of studies like this are devoted to the neat crafty projects (which is what Home School in the Woods excels at). I love that they diversify and really make sure there is something for everyone. There is easily enough "meat" in this study to last past the 12 week mark, especially since they also include *tons* of additional resources.

How We Used It

Prior to doing Texas History last year, we did Ancient Rome, meaning that this year, we are due to study the Middle Ages. Hence, this review could not have come at a better time! I thought that it would make a perfect introduction to the topic for the twins (10). Also, unlike my older two kids, my twins are kind of crafty and really like the type of schooling that Home School in the Woods has to offer. 

I realized two things pretty quickly: we would not be moving through this study very fast and we would not be doing everything in it. That is actually one of the best things about HITW - there are so many options that you can pick and choose what you want to do. I tend to gravitate toward the written projects. As much as I love looking at other people's cooking and art projects, I just never seem to be the mom who can get them done. If you are that kind of mom, though, you will *love* this study (be sure to read all of the other reviews to see the incredible variety of options you have)!

My biggest mistake with this program was in not printing everything right away. I figured I would just print what I needed as I went. In retrospect, it would have been so much easier just to print everything in one fell swoop, file it in a binder, and proceed from there. Instead, I ended up wasting too much time each day figuring out what to print. The quick start itinerary I picture above was a *huge* help, but I still had to figure out what to print and where to find it. It was a waste of time. That fault was all mine and none of the program's. Stop 1 is all about getting organized. As with many things curriculum, though, we wanted to jump right in. My best advice is not to.

In terms of the actual material, my kids loved it. There is a great variety covered. Some of it, like the barbarian invasions, was review, but because it has been almost a year since we covered it, it was just the right amount of review. 

The first thing Mary-Catherine grabbed was the timeline. Michael couldn't wait to get to work on the newspaper. I have vowed that next week I *will* make something with them from the Booklet of Medieval Cookry in Stop 5 - something to look forward to! Cooking from the past I can do!

As we continue to work through Project Passport, the only thing I wish I could change is to have all of the printables in a single file. It would make it so much easier for me if I could take one file to an office supply store and hand it over to them to print it, rather than having to open several different files every time I want to look at something. It is my only complaint about Home School in the Woods' projects.

This is another review where you'll want to click the banner below in order to see all that you can do with these great studies. There are so many great options!

Home School in the Woods Review
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