Hands on History with Home School in the Woods {Review}

Home School in the Woods
I am fast becoming Home School in the Woods biggest fan!  I was blessed once more when I was chosen as one of the reviewers of their Time Traveler American series.  I had a choice of New World Explorers, Colonial LifeThe American RevolutionThe Early 19th CenturyThe Civil WarIndustrial Revolution through Great Depression and World War II.  As we were about to start to learn about the early twentieth century it seemed natural to ask for Industrial Revolution through Great Depression. 

The Industrial Revolution through the Great Depression
I honestly couldn’t be more grateful. Homeschool in the Woods always delivers incredible products, but to have one which fitted into our learning so perfectly was….well perfect!

What is the Time Traveler American History Study: The Industrial Revolution through the Great Depression by Home School in the Woods?

The Industrial Revolution through the Great Depression is an excellent overview of everything important which went on in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century which involved America in any way.  It is by no means extensive or in depth (by that I mean there is no arduous reading to do: just simple, comprehensive lessons geared towards Grades 3-8).  Lessons are kept short and to the point, so that the student may move onto what Home School in the Woods do so well….the hands on activities:

Time Travelers American History Study: The Industrial Revolution through the Great DepressionEach lesson begins with the text pages.  These contain all the text you need to complete the activities.  Each lesson’s text is, in general, one or two pages long of interesting and easy to understand information.  The lessons are well written, and are enough to encourage further study in the older student, and yet simple enough for even the youngest child to sit attentively and listen (my six year old thoroughly enjoyed these lessons).

Amy, the face behind the products, includes project pages for each lesson.  The project pages do exactly as their title suggests – they outline all the hands-on activities designed to be done within that lesson.

There are often a few activities which the child will do each and every lesson, such as the time-line made using print outs of Amy’s trade-mark drawings; collecting information in easy to read and beautifully designed lap book pieces; printing and cutting out information cards and creative writing for the Industrial News, a newspaper brilliantly designed to test the child’s learning and understanding of the text, without them realising that is what is happening 🙂

In addition to these ‘regulars’ there are many extra hands on activities, which each learner can now choose from a la carte, or complete in their entirety.  These projects range from cooking a meal; penmanship practice using copy work; authentic-to-the-time crafts; games and experiments; and of course realistic miniatures of items found within the time frame being studied.

Everything is beautifully and painstakingly designed, bringing an authenticity and completeness to this curriculum rarely found else where.

How Did We Use Home School in the Woods?

We had just completed the nineteenth century so we moved quickly through the first few lessons, simply reading and making note of anything we had not covered previously.  We began with gusto and enthusiasm in lesson 11, savouring each lesson thereafter.

As we are bang in the middle of a world war I unit study at the moment, I will focus on the lessons which cover the Great War to illustrate exactly how well Home School in the Woods fits into the unit study type method of homeschooling.

Just to note, there is a handy dandy lesson plan which comes with the pack:

as well as a list of extra resources:

  • Information Sheets

Each lesson begins with an information sheet which contains all you need to complete the activities which follow:

I print these out to read out loud to the children during morning meeting time (or I have one of the older children read them out:

  • Project Pages

I also download and print the project pages.  These are the most important part of the course, and contain all the instructions for completing the large amount of hands-on activities which come with the Time Traveller series.  These are comprehensive, clear and very helpful in making the activities doable for even the least creative parent:

  • Penmanship

There is always copy-work to do, and these are of quotes people of the time made.  They are always uplifting and positive, and another opportunity for learning.

Handily, there is a copy work sheet which the children copy from as well as three different types of lined pages.  One has the copy-work dotted out (perfect for my six year old):

One with dotted lines to help with letter size (perfect for my eight year old) and plain lines (perfect for my older teens):

There was not so much that the younger ones felt overwhelmed, and as it was cursive the younger two felt they were very grown up!

  • Time-line Work

It is Amy’s beautiful timeline drawings which first drew me to Home School in the Woods.  Her attention to detail is impeccable:

  • Newspaper ‘Industrial Times’

This is another daily exercise, so that the student ends up with a whole newspaper written about the historical time frame the Time Travellers is written for, in this case the industrial revolution to the great depression.  Charlotte, in particular, enjoyed doing these:

We look forward to seeing the final ‘newspaper’!

  • Hands-on Activity 1:”What Can We Do For Home and Country?”

The hand-on activities are what sets Home School in the Woods apart from other history curricula.  Amy is a master artist and very creative, both of which allow her to create the most beautiful (and yet academic) activities.  The first activity for this lesson was colouring in postcards and using them to make notes about the Great War.  I printed off the postcards on card and the backs on paper.  The younger ones coloured them in……

……whilst Lillie copied from the book ‘Dear Jelly’ (letters an actual soldier send home to his sisters):

Each card illustrated something Americans could do to support the war efforts from home:

  • Hands-on Activity 2: World War I “Silk” Postcards

This was potentially an excellent activity, only it was too hard for my younger ones and my older ones were steeped in their IGCSE exams and simply didn’t have the time to embroider post cards.  But, and this is another thing I love about this company, Amy had suggestions to create the post cards simply by colouring in.  So that is what we did:

  • Hands-on Activity 3: World War I Journal

We LOVED this activity!  Again, we opted for a simpler option, and used card and glue instead of canvas and stitching.  The photos were the perfect addition.  Thomas used an actual letter from world war I as copy work to create his journal:

Very cool!

  • Hands -on Activity 4: Military Weaponry

This was a simple cut, stick and read activity:

Even so, it was full of interesting information, in an easy to digest form, which created a beautiful note book page to be proud of:

  • Hands-on Activity 5: Ammo Belt (which will hold many mini creations as we will see)

This was another beautifully crafted activity, again designed and hand drawn by Amy.  Its purpose was to give a creative holder for the many activities which followed:

The mini projects included a time line of World War I; a map of Europe in 1914; a WWI registration card; information about Sgt Alvin Cullum York; a pocket Bible; WWI poetry; WWI propaganda poster.  All these fit perfectly  into the ammo belt above:

  • Hands-on Activity 6: When and how to display the flag

As you can see, that is a heap of hands-on activities just for two lessons!  But there is more!  The lessons for the Time Traveller packs are set out so that you complete four lessons during the week, which are followed by a fifth lesson on day five which is called ‘Project Day’.  During this day, the student completes any of the projects they haven’t finished from the preceding four lessons as well as even more suggestions for activities to do on project day.

In this case, the project day contained a heap of fact file cards for the student to print out, cut and keep:

Other project day activities include the invitations, planning and recipes for a depression era dinner, which looks a huge amount of fun (we’ve not got to that lesson yet 🙂  )

What Did We Think of Home School in the Woods?

As I already mentioned, we are currently making our way through a World War I unit study, which I have put together myself.  Amy’s Time Traveller Series came at just the right time and was a wonderful addition to our studies.  It really is so flexible it could be used with any style of home school, but it particularly works well in a unit study setting.  We were able to dip in and dip out whenever our studies lined up.  And being European, it was useful to have a course which focused on the American side of things.

What always bowls me over is Amy’s art work and how creative she is at coming up with ideas for lots of hands on projects.  We were using other resources alongside HSITW, and I felt compelled to take a photo of the exact replicas set we bought for world war I.  Honestly, Amy’s own reproductions were so life like they would not have been out of place in our replicas box:

All in all, we are very happy with the Time Traveller pack we received and would have no qualms recommending it!

If you have enjoyed this review and are interested in knowing more about the products Home School in the Woods offer, do head over to the link up below to read the rest of the crew’s thoughts, or head over to Home School in the Woods website, or you can pop over to my other review of HISTORY Through the Ages: Project Passport World History Studies, where I have reviewed Project Passport: Ancient Egypt.

Honestly, Home School in the Woods creates such beautiful, hands on activities you are sure to find something you like!

New From Home School in the Woods!

Home School in the Woods are, for the first time ever, offering a selection (about fifty or so) of their hands on activities a la carte.  This means you can choose the exact activity you or your child wishes to complete and pay only for that.  Head over and check it out!  You won’t be disappointed 🙂

And…. better yet, anyone can use the code alacarte at checkout to get the Erie Canal project on that page for free. They have specifically chosen that one because it is the 200th anniversary of the beginning of the canal this very week!

Connect with Home School in the Woods

Lots More Reviews of Home School in the Woods

There are many, many products being reviewed this time (all listed below) so be sure to click on over to see what the rest of the review crew think:

Time Traveler American
*New World Explorers
*Colonial Life
*The American Revolution
*The Early 19th Century
*The Civil War
*Industrial Revolution through Great Depression
*World War II

*The Old Testament
*The New Testament

*U.S. Elections
*20th Century in America
*Wonders of the World
*Benjamin Franklin

Timeline Trio


Hands-on History {Home School in the Woods Reviews}

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