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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Home School in the Woods - Project Passport World History Study: The Middle Ages Review

Home School in the Woods Review

History can be a difficult subject to teach. So often, kids think history is this dry, boring subject with no relevance to them today. One way to make this more fun to learn (and to teach) is to incorporate hands-on learning. Our family was given the opportunity to review Project Passport World History Study: The Middle Ages, an activity-based world history study from Home School in the Woods.

Home School in the Woods is a family-based business created by a homeschooling family looking for a way to make learning history more interesting. Who better to create materials for other homeschooling families?

For this review, we received a digital download of Project Passport World History Study: The Middle Ages. All four of the girls worked on projects in this review.

Home School in the Woods Review

The digital download includes everything you could possibly need to teach about The Middle Ages. There are PDFs that include:

  • Instructions for how to begin once you've downloaded the files
  • Travel Tips - includes a list of frequently used items to have on hand and helpful hints for using the study
  • Guide Book Text - the reading that goes with each stop
  • Travel Itineraries - lists projects with their instructions for each stop
  • All of the printed material needed for the projects
  • Timeline Figures
There are also MP3s and images of completed projects. 

Since the premise behind the Project Passport studies is a journey through history, each lesson in the study is called a stop. Each lesson focuses on a different aspect of The Middle Ages. Some of the topics include:
  • Laying the Foundation - How the Roman Empire fell and the Middle Ages began
  • Everyday Life - Family, clothing, food, community, crime, punishment, and entertainment
  • Business 
  • Science and Invention
  • Education
  • The Arts
  • Medicine and Disease
  • The Church
  • The Crusades
  • Knights and Chivalry
  • Vikings
  • Battles, Wars, and Conflicts
Each stop has a variety of projects to choose from, which allows for a lot of flexibility. You can choose to do all of them or just the a few. One of the activities we loved was the newspaper. Each lesson has them add to the newspaper by writing articles about the topic learned about. It was a great way to see how much the girls understood as well as teaching them how to write like a reporter, including the who, what, where, when, why and how of what they learned. There were also opportunities to create advertisements for the newspaper, like ones for a cobbler and a restaurant during the lesson on clothing and food.

We also liked the postcards, which are an activity for most of the lessons. On one side of the postcard is a message that could have been written from one of the people studied in the lesson; for example, the lesson on merchants, trade, and exploration includes a postcard "from" Marco Polo. The other side has a space for a drawing. I encouraged my girls to make the drawing match either what the postcard was written about or where it was being sent from (just like a real postcard would).

For Sassy's newspaper article, I allowed her to write it in bullet form. The older girls wrote theirs in paragraph form, like an actual newspaper article.

Some of the other projects included in the lessons were lapbook items, stick puppets, building a castle, games (like the Fox and Geese game pictured below), and making a catapult. I can't say enough that there are so many projects to choose from; there is something for every type of learner.

Needless to say, we really enjoyed using the Project Passport World History Study: The Middle Ages. In fact, we enjoyed it so much that I plan to check out the other Project Passport studies they have:

  • Ancient Egypt
  • Renaissance & Reformation
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