If I could give one piece of advice to parents of young children, it would be to enjoy exploring with them. Feel free to nurture a love of learning by pursuing some interest-led activities, regardless of what the critics may say. Six years ago, our oldest son (who is now 14) loved lapbooking and unit studies. He loved paper crafts and building things and history and timelines and maps. After laying a foundation of memory “pegs,” we would take off on learning adventures simply because of his insatiable appetite for “knowledging,” as he would call it. I started to doubt my decisions, thinking that maybe what we were doing wasn’t classical because it wasn’t just a stick and the sand. I wondered if it was just busywork – a waste of time when we could instead focus on learning more Latin vocabulary. But six years later, I can attest that these are some of our most cherished memories. It was not time wasted, but was time absorbed in the love of discovery and learning. Now as a teenager, Stephen has asked to return to these studies during his free time this summer to finish the two Time Travelers studies we never had the chance to tackle. And so… this month, we’ve been in the midst of a world of exploration, literally.
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So the adventure has been the Homeschool in the Woods New World Explorers Time Traveler Study, a hands-on history learning experience for exploring the world of… New World Explorers. It includes 25 lessons for learning about the age of exploration, including…
:: A timeline of the Age of Exploration, along with Explorer Profiles. The 24 explorers included in this study are: Brendan the Navigator, Leif Eriksson, Christopher Columbus, John Cabot, Amerigo Vespucci, Juan Ponce De Leon, Vasco Nunez De Balboa, Francisco Pizarro, Ferdinand Magellan, Giovanni Da Verrazano, Hernando Cortes, Jaques Cartier, Hernando De Soto, Francisco Vasquez De Coronado, Sir Francis Drake, Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, Jean Ribaut, Sir Walter Raleigh, John Smith, Juan De Onate, Samuel De Champlain, Henry Hudson, Vitus Bering, and James Cook.
The story of each explorer (and the overall story of the Age of Exploration) is provided in the lesson text, but the study also includes a list of books for further research and exploration.
:: Map overlays for 11 of the 24 explorers. Map overlays provide a way to see the different exploratory routes taken by New World Explorers.
:: And multiple projects, activities, and games to spark a child’s (and adult’s) imagination.
What I love about these activity studies is that there’s something special for each of our children’s natural interests. While our oldest enjoys the timelines, maps, and papercrafting projects….
Our 11-year-old enjoys creating and playing games…
And our 8-year-old enjoys anything that entails adventure and the great outdoors.
Oh, and let’s not forget the toddler, who can happily paint anything for almost an entire hour (here he’s painting gold doubloons)…
The study integrates the learning of history, science, and geography and provides copywork, engaging writing prompts, handicrafts, and recipes.
Through games and notebooking activities, children learn basic vocabulary and history. Through investigative projects (such as making a compass and quadrant) they learn more about the science behind sailing and cartography.
The final lesson includes an “Exploration Celebration” to allow the child(ren) to display their projects, play the games, and create recipes to share with friends, neighbors, or family.
All of the projects in this study include detailed instructions with illustrations along with a proposed lesson plan for completing the projects over a 4-week period.
This study can be used across multiple weeks (if completing daily activities) or multiple months (if completing a weekly activity). For those in Classical Conversations, the New World Explorers Study includes activities that tie in to all three cycles of Foundations memory work (Cycle 1: Hudson, Cabot, Champlain, Cortes, Native Americans; Cycle 2: Vespucci, Balboa, Magellan, Coronado; Cycle 3: Columbus, Native Americans, and other related American history), so it’s a study that can be referenced back to multiple times over the course of the Foundations program.
- Reasons for Exploration
- Drying Fruits and Meats
- Making lime juice
- Knot tying
- Sea Monster Pop-Up
- Explorer Profiles
- Doubloons & Pieces of Eight
- Pirate Panoply game
- “Merchant Marauder” game
- “High & Dry” Explorers game
- Historical Timeline
- European Recipes
- The flags of the Explorers
- Incan Artifact
- Pueblo Diorama
- Establishment of Missions in America
- Penmanship/Copywork Pages
- Captain’s Log
- “The Explorer Weekly” Newspaper
- New World Real Estate Brochure
- Mapping the Continents and Oceans, the Ptolemaic Map, and Mapping the Routes of the Explorers
- The Line of Demarcation
- Natives of the New World
- “Find the buried cache” game
- Anatomy of a Ship
- Build a Ship
- Navigational Equipment
- Make a Quadrant
- Make a Compass
- Make a constellation
- Insulation Experiment
- Era Songs
This CD/ digital download includes each lesson’s text pages, project overview pages, and project masters for 35 activities. You can choose the projects that work best for your family, or if that’s too much at once, Homeschool in the Woods has recently released a-la-carte options, where you can just purchase a game (Pirate Panopoly, Merchant Marauder, or High & Dry), the New World Explorers timeline, or the American Beginnings Newspaper Collection. [NOTE: These studies are only offered as digital products, so you will need to have printing capabilities!]
- New World Explorers
- Colonial Life
- American Revolution Study
- Early 19th Century Study
- Civil War Study
- Industrial Revolution through the Great Depression
- World War I
You can view a sample and a Scope & Sequence for each study on the individual product pages. To see other Homeschool in the Woods Studies we’ve completed (and to see a much younger version of these kiddos over time):
Composer & Orchestra Study
Art Appreciation through Art History
Homeschool in the Woods 20th Century Lap Pak
Benjamin Franklin Unit Study (for grades K-2)
Renaissance & Reformation by Homeschool in the Woods
Middle Ages Project Passport by Homeschool in the Woods
Homeschool in the Woods New Testament Activity Pak
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