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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Hands-On American History with Home School in the Woods, a review

Home School in the Woods is a company that has made a name for itself in the homeschool community by delivering quality, hands-on history studies and supplements for kiddos just itching to learn stuff by doing stuff. I recently had the opportunity to try out and review Colonial Life from the Time Travelers American History series with my creative crew, and they are having a great time with it.


Time Travelers American History Study: Colonial Life

suggested grades: 3-8

available on cd or as a digital download

Colonial Life contains 25 lessons, with every 5th lesson being a “project day” for finishing up any unfinished projects. The other 20 lessons each have informational text to read (typically 2-3 pages), followed by instructions for completing various projects including: beautifully detailed paper crafts, recipes, penmanship, science experiments, a newspaper, a diorama, instructions for making various historical crafts, and more.  If your kids are always begging you to do more hands-on projects or arts and crafts, Colonial Life schedules that all in for you and provides all your instructions. You just need to shop for the necessary supplies.

HomeSchoolintheWoods-LOGOThe entire study can nicely supplement a more in-depth unit on colonial life in a America, or you can use it as as stand-alone (which is what we are doing). If you do all of the lessons, you can expect to spend at least 5 weeks, but our family could easily spend a semester (or longer!) on this study.

How I’m Using Time Travelers American History

I’m using Colonial life with my rising 3rd, 6th, and 8th graders and all of them have been fully engaged in the readings and projects.  We have been doing averaging two lessons per week, but some of the projects take us more time. In fact, all three of them are currently working on their cross-stitch samplers and have been busily working on them since last week. Winking smile

The key to using this study is to be selective about what you are going to do---there is no way my kiddos could do it all. If we were using this during our regular school year instead of the summer, I would probably drop it back to one lesson a week and add in some additional reading so we would have more time to do the projects alongside our other school work. Since this is meant to be a fun summer study for us, we’ve been spending a lot of time on the crafty bits.  Unlike when we used Project Passport World History Study: Ancient Greece (also from Home School in the Woods) where I had each of the do their own paper crafts, they have been doing the paper crafts and lapbook elements as a “team.” We generally select one or two projects per lesson to complete.

It’s been fun.

How about some pictures of that fun?

Because that’s the best way to get a handle on what the activities are like. Rolling on the floor laughing

We died cotton fabric and string using various plant materials:

dying fabric with home school in the woods

dying fabric with home school in the woods

We stenciled boxes:

stenciling home school in the woodsstenciling home school in the woods 2

Colonial Life includes patterns to cut historical replicas of colonial stencils from transparency film. I tried to do this using an exacto knife as instructed, but it was a very frustrating and, ultimately, unsuccessful process. It was simply too hard to cut out the little tiny bits accurately without accidentally tearing the film. And I needed stencils for three kids to use---in the end, it made more sense to buy stencils. While the ones we used were not historically accurate, the kids did enjoy using this age old technique for adding attractive, but inexpensive decorations. We did use the included the stencil patterns as coloring pages (another suggested activity).

stenciling home school in the woods 3stenciling home school in the woods 4stenciling home school in the woods 5

The study includes many paper crafts, some of which will be added to a lapbook at the end. Here are a few examples.

Pop-up Colonial Houses:

pop-up paper crafts home school in the woodspop-up paper crafts home school in the woods 2

“Bees” Book:

lapbooking home school in the woodslapbooking home school in the woods 2

Dressing a Colonial Girl:

colonial paper dolls home school in the woodscolonial paper dolls home school in the woods 2colonial paper dolls home school in the woods 3colonial paper dolls home school in the woods 4colonial paper dolls home school in the woods 5

We also dressed a colonial woman, a man, and a boy. The instructions actually have you use clear transparency film to make an overlay for each layer of clothing that you can fold over the figure. When we used this method in our Ancient Greece study to dress the ancient Greeks, we had a lot of trouble with the clothing pieces sliding off the film (the double stick tape wouldn’t stay stuck and the glue peeled off). This time we decided to try clear Velcro stick-on dots instead and it seemed to work pretty well. The only drawback was getting them lined up and you need to let them set a bit after sticking them on or they’ll peel off when you try to undo the Velcro.

Our current project is a cross stitch sampler. My kids decided to be a bit modern in their interpretation, but I’m cool with that:

cross stitch sampler home school in the woodscross stitch sampler home school in the woods 2cross stitch sampler home school in the woods 3

There is a sample pattern, which includes patterns for numbers and letters, but I loved the inclusion of a blank, numbered grid so the kids could do their own creative designs.

We really love all the hands-on activities Colonial Life and are looking forward to continuing with it.

Review of Time Travelers American History Study: Colonial Life

I’ll have to check out some of the other studies in the Time Travelers American History series:

New World Explorers
The American Revolution
The Early 19th Century
The Civil War
Industrial Revolution through Great Depression
World War II

For shorter studies, check out the Activity-Paks and the Lap-Paks. Plus Home School in the Woods has just unveiled something brand new that’s perfect if you only want to add a few hands-on extras to your curriculum without tackling a whole extra study: A La Carte Projects

Would you like to try it out? You can download the Erie Canal project for free! Just add it to your cart and use this code: alacarte

Read more reviews of other products from Home School in the Woods:

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

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