Wednesday, 22 July 2015

TOS Review - Home School in the Woods Project Passport History Studies

I've always enjoyed projects from Home School in the Woods, so was keen to be able to review their History Through the Ages: Project Passport World History Studies (and they don't disappoint)

We opted for Project Passport World History Study: Renaissance & Reformation which is a great way to explore history in a hands-on and fun way.

The idea is you can 'travel' through the era filling in your passport, Scrapbook of Sights and lapbook along the way. There are 25 stops (lessons) to your journey and each stop has up to eight activities (totalling over 50 projects and activities along with almost an hour of MP3 recordings) where you get to meet interesting people, experience great events, discover their way of life, explore their art, learn their science, taste their food, study their wars and view their drama all in a activity based format making history alive and interesting rather than dry or dull.

We received the digital download version but there is also an option to choose the files on CD. The download included several PDFs, MP3 files and images.

Inside the PDF folder is an introduction folder for parents which talks through how to use this (this is a must read - it also has pictures of finished lapbook pieces), a 'Travel Planner' which gives you an overview of what you will be covering in the unit and gives a number of tips.

The other folders include printable covers, the 'Travel Itinernary' which is the guide to what you will be doing on that stop - it outlines the pages and supplies you will need, how to put the pages together and instructions for any crafts. The 'Masters' are the lapbooking  elements that will need printing for each child. The 'Teacher Keys' contain the time line and maps you will need. The 'Text' contains the historical information needed to complete the 'stop'.

I started by printing off everything I needed for the first stop and collected it all together. I ended up printing an average of one to two stops a week - you could spend less time each stop but the girls were enjoying it so I let them take as much time as they wanted.

Although this is designed for grades 3 and above, both Tulip and Rose wanted to join in with their older sisters (as they can't let them have all the fun).

I loved that it has so many activities to choose from writing a newspaper, putting together a menu, 

art activities, 

designing postcards, crafts, time lines etc. I also liked the 'quiz' cards which provided us a great opportunity for narration. (I'm really looking forward to making the Globe Theatre and making a ruff but they are in stops we haven't got to yet)

I was impressed by how much of the everyday Jo's life of the Renaissance you actually explored - not just the royalty and key players. My favourite aspect was how flexible you could be with the activities, choosing some or all (they even have a list of suggested books if you want to take your studies further) means this can take as much or as little time as you want.

There is a lot of printing required for each 'stop' which can be time consuming and, as with most lapbooks, you will need lots of paper and card stock (luckily I already had lots).

The girls have thoroughly enjoyed learning about history with this method and didn't even consider it 'school', often working on it in their free time. Sunflower is already planning a Renaissance tea party ("cause it will be educational mummy") and is busy putting together invites, the menu and making ruff's for her guests to wear. Lilly has enjoyed the art work the most. Both Rose and Tulip have liked the crafts and the stamps in their passport best.

Project Passport World History Studies are designed for grades 3rd - 8th and can be completed in 8 to 12 weeks, however the beauty of these is you can pick and choose the activities so they can take as long as you wish. It is available as a download for $33.95 and $34.95 for the CD.

You can see what my crew mates thought of this as well as the Ancient Egypt and Middle Ages Project Passport World History Studies over at the TOS Blog.

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