Are you a Unit Study type of homeschooler? I honestly have not been. Change can be hard with my crew of ADHD kiddos. Before I was chosen to review Home School in the Woods’ HISTORY Through the Ages Project Passport World History Study of Ancient Greece, I was a bit hesitant. After looking over their website I got pretty excited about all that this unit study seemed to offer. The only thing left to do was dive into this study with the kids and see how it went. Today is the day you find out if this unit study worked or didn’t work for us. Ultimately, finding out if Home School in the Woods Project Passports would be a good fit for your own family.
This unit study curriculum is set up as a download. When you download the curriculum, you will get many, many files divided up into folders to help you find just what you need, when you need it. It took several hours of printing and assembling of the items to get this program ready to teach. However, after getting this program set up, it is easy to pick up the guide-book and teach. The Guide book is set up to cover all the material in 25 stops, or sessions. Some people may be able to cover one stop each day and others may spread out the material to cover one stop in a week. Either way works, just depends on how long you want to give to History each homeschool day.
What is covered in a Typical Stop
- Read the Text
- Map Work
- Newspaper (adding an article or advertisement each stop)
- Lapbook pieces (typically 1-3 per stop)
- Craft or Activity
So while a list of what is covered is helpful, let me go into more detail about each, and how they worked with my kids. I hope by doing this, it will help you make a better decision about if these Project Passports are right for your own family.
The text is included in this curriculum, as part of the download. Each stop has a separate print out for the text, which is kind of like a chapter in a book. Typically the text length ends up being 2-5 full printed pages. How did my kiddos handle listening to this length of text reading? Well, overall they did pretty well. Some days they would ask if we were done yet, but most days the length seemed just right to keep my kids attention and not bore them. I did struggle with some of the names and places that needed to be pronounced but we just would laugh at my inability to pronounce them. However, this did not stop the kids from understanding what was being taught.
The timeline is set up to look like a scrapbook. The kids get to paste in pictures to help complete their “scrapbook” each stop. My kiddos liked the idea of having to hunt for where each stops pieces were to be placed in their binders. The pieces are ready to be printed so the kids just need to cut them out and paste them. To make it more fun, and easier on my kiddos, I printed out the pieces all on sticker paper. They still need to cut out the pieces but I don’t end up with glue all over the place, as much.
There are several maps that the kids will add names of cities, areas, bodies of water, etc. throughout the stops. I have one kiddo who LOVES maps. He was thrilled to see how many maps we would get to work with. My other kiddo could have cared less. However, because they are only adding a few names and places to the maps each stop my kiddo who didn’t seem to get excited about it could get the work done, and learn from it, without getting frustrated. Having only a few to complete each stop got my map-fiend kiddo enticed to complete the stop so he could work more on his map, on the next stop. With the maps are included printable names of places that can be cut out and pasted for those too young for lots of extra writing. I had one kid writing the names and one cutting and pasting.
The idea here is to have the kids work on making a newspaper as if it was written from the time in history they are learning about. For most stops the kids will be asked to add one or two articles to the newspaper and possibly an advertisement. The newspaper is already set up with article titles and advertisement frames, ready to print. This framework has helped my kids to not feel so overwhelmed with completing such a large project. My oldest (5th/6th grade) has done really well with writing out great articles. With my younger kiddo (3rd grade) the most I have gotten out of him is a sentence, but even with that, he is still thinking through what we have been learning about and putting it into his own words which I call a win.
Each stop the kids will cut, paste and assemble one to three lapbook pieces. These will be kept safe till the last stop, where they will assemble the complete lapbook, using all their pieces. We typically have not been a huge fan of lapbooks. Honestly, with having a Dyslexic kiddo and an ADHD kiddo, lapbooks typically require a lot of writing and take a lot of time to complete. Home School in the Woods did it right for us and offers two ways of printing these pieces. As a teacher you can either print out the pieces with the writing already done or print them blank so your kids can write their own answers/notes. I LOVE this. Now my kids can get the benefits from working on a lapbook, without all the extra work of having to write out everything! After completing each piece we take a few minutes and read over what text is included. This is a great way to get them doing something with the material and offers a review of what we heard in our text.
Craft or Activity
This could be a number of things, which honestly keeps the kids excited about what is coming up. Some are as simple as drawing a picture, others are more detailed like making clothes to dress up like a Greek, creating a board game, making a diorama, making pottery, or like in the picture above, making 3D columns. There are audio dramas, 8 in total through-out the 25 stops. My kids LOVE these. They really helped them understand and enjoy what we were learning about and couldn’t wait till we got to the next one. Really these crafts or activities bring together what was learned about in that stop, and honestly brings the fun into History.
Is there a downside?
The only downside that we found was the amount of printing that needed to be done, and how the pages are set up to print. By the time we complete all 25 stops we will have completely filled our 1” binders. Multiply that by how many kids you have, plus the teacher’s guide book, and that could end up being a TON of paper. The big frustration about all the printing was mostly from how the printing had to be done. What I mean by that is, pages that need to be printed double-sided are not able to be sent to the printer to automatically print double-sided (if you own a printer that does print double-sided or intend to have a printing company print them for you). The reason for this is that a lot of the projects or lapbook sheets are set up as separate files. You will either need to re-insert your paper and then print the back of the sheet (which would be from a different file) or use a PDF binder software to combine the files and then send that new file you create to your printer to automatically print. Either way you end up with more work than seems needed. I am sure they had a reason for keeping the files separate but I haven’t found it yet. There is a way around it so not a total loss, just a bit of a frustration.
Was this a Win for our Family?
Yes, yes, yes! Yes this was a win for our family. This Project Passport curriculum really brought a lot of fun into history for us. The curriculum was set up in a way that as a teacher I felt I could succeed at completing the whole program. Yes, there is a LOT of printing that needs to be done for you to get the most out of this curriculum, but I would just print out a few stops at a time. This allowed me time to get ink or paper as needed without having to sink so much money in all at once. Overall, I have to say that the Ancient Greece Project Passport was a big win for our family and I feel it could be for yours too.