Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Middle Ages Project Passport by Homeschool in the Woods

Now that I've prefaced this with many, many disclaimers about how simple the classical method is (and should be), I will be bold enough to proclaim that...

...while we emphasize our core program of classical studies, we use afternoons, evenings and weekends (not all of them - just whenever we feel like it!) to work on fun and engaging projects by Homeschool in the Woods.

We use these history studies not because we need to - it's because we want to.  Very, very, very, very much.  I don't even stick to a hard-and-fast schedule for these projects - we just use them to add something special to each week at a pace that's comfortable and doable for us. And so... without further ado, we introduce...

The Middle Ages: Project Passport History Study

What's included:  A CD which contains...

a history reading and travel itinerary for each "stop" of our journey through the Middle Ages.

The travel itinerary includes the details for the projects that are to be completed, which include...

a time-period-specific timeline with lovely images and short descriptions of persons/events, [this was the inspiration for our accordion timeline notebook]

papercrafts, cooking ideas, sewing projects, building projects, etc., etc.. [this CD offers detailed directions and masters for over 50 projects and activities!],

writing prompts via "The Medieval Times" newspaper (which my writing-reluctant son does without me even asking),

and a number of references to other additional resources: organized booklists and video recommendations.

NOT ONLY THAT, but now they've incorporated entertaining, dramatized audio tours into this study! You can even listen to a clip by clicking the green play button on their site. {This is a great new addition to the Project Passport series!}

If any of this looks appealing to you, you can download the entire above-referenced lesson for free by visiting the Homeschool in the Woods Middle Ages Project Passport website and clicking on the "download sample lesson here" icon on the upper right hand corner.  I highly recommend trying the many free downloads they offer [click here for the HSITW free sample page]!  In fact, building the free Jamestown download was what hooked our family on Homeschool in the Woods!

What our medieval journey looks like thus far...

Here's our luggage folder and passport, along with our scrapbook of sights, which contains things like our postcards from Charlemagne and Eleanor of Aquitane,

... a paper foldable of the Feudal system, a menu of medieval cookery, and paper puppets that have already been used many, many times by our two youngest boys...

a what's-inside-a-castle overlay...

...and, of course, The Medieval Times newspaper...

...and we are only at stop 6 of 25!

My Overall Two Cents:
Every time we use HSITW products, I am absolutely amazed at the quality of the product.  There's such a variety of activities in this program!  If you enjoy cooking, or sculpting, or building, or papercrafting, or sewing, there will be a project in here for you to do with your children.  Because of the amount of different projects available, you can leave some out and just pursue the ones you are interested in. [For example, I usually skip out on.... can you guess it?.... yes, the cooking and sewing ones.]  Fortunately for me, there are always some building projects like a catapult, and a castle, and a Viking Longboat.

Any drawbacks?
Printing takes some upfront time if you are like me and like to have it all printed beforehand.  [See the photo of the stack of paper at the top of this post.] Of course, you can always print each week's projects as needed.  Either way, detailed instructions take you through how to print everything - on white or colored card stock or white or colored paper. This one took less than an hour to print and sort everything.  One day my hope is that HSITW will provide an option for pre-printed packets because the convenience would be well-worth the additional cost for those who would like to just open-and-go.

If you're just not sure if you or your children would enjoy something like this, visit Homeschool in the Woods to see photos of all the projects and to download free samples of Timeline Figures, Time Travelers, and Project Passport and Olde World Style Maps.  Try some of the projects and Newspaper News articles!  Though some parents are not as keen on project-based history studies as we are, you can print the freebies and set them out to see if your children are interested! If so, you'll know you've just found one of your child's preferred learning styles! 

Suggested grade level is 3-8, (although our younger children have enjoyed these projects, too!), and approximate time to complete this study is 8-12 weeks. Visit Homeschool in the Woods to see all the other products they have available.

[Note to CCers:  Let me take a moment to emphasize here (for the classical educators) that we don't set out to dig deep into each piece of memory work.  We simply choose a few topics we want to study more in-depth, even if our memory work moves on to other topics.  A couple of years ago, we decided to study the Industrial Revolution through the Great Depression and World War II.  Having selected these two studies, we didn't go into all the details of communism, or the civil rights movement, or the astronauts walking on the moon, even though our memory work included it.  We had not the time, energy or will to pursue every topic. But digging deeper into WWII resulted in our oldest son actually memorizing so much more about WWII - battles, weaponry, support efforts on the homefront, Operation-Fill-in-the-Blank, and on and on (way beyond what I can remember).  In many ways, these studies connect our upper-grammar child to the dialectic stage of understanding in a realm he is already very dialectic about; he's a natural history buff and thrives with these studies, without me doing anything (except printing the materials)!  To see our past Homeschool in the Woods studies in action, click here.  The two history studies we've selected for this year are The Middle Ages and The Renaissance and Reformation. ]

We received this product free for the purpose of reviewing it and received no other compensation for this review.  The opinions expressed herein are my personal, honest opinions. In fact, we bought and used Homeschool in the Woods products [with our own money] for two years. Please read our full disclosure policy for more details.

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