It is no secret that we think quite highly of Home School in the Woods and their hands-on history programs. We have been privileged to review another of their products recently. This time, it is an American history title from their series Time Travelers U.S. History Studies, which includes the following titles:
- New World Explorers
- Colonial Life
- The American Revolution
- The Early 19th Century
- The Civil War
- The Industrial Revolution through the Great Depression
- World War II
We received the download file for The Industrial Revolution through the Great Depression, running from about 1861 through the mid 1930s.
Topics covered in this title include the transcontinental railroad, purchase of Alaska, immigration, inventors and inventions, the Dust Bowl, the stock market crash, WWI, the Great Depression, the Indian Wars, and so much more. There are 25 lessons with each lesson expected to take about a day and a built in make-up/review day on every 5th lesson. However, it is very easy to adapt this to your family’s schedule. Since we were using this as a supplement, it took longer than one day per lesson. If your student is very engaged and you are using this as your main history for the time being, it would be very easy to cover more than one lesson in a day.
To get started with Time Travelers, you have to download a zip file after purchase. After downloading the zip file, you have to unzip it. This process varies by computer and you can find help on the Home School in the Woods website. Once you have it unzipped, you double click the start icon and it opens up the file in a web browser. From there is it just like navigating a website, clicking on what you need next. For example, if we were on lesson 3, we would click the icon next to that lesson and it would take us to a list of the materials we need to print and access for the lesson.
For each lesson, we printed the text but we accessed the project pages only on the computer. The text is the factual information covering the topics for the lesson. Miss E read it out loud to her youngest sister and found it helped her remember things and stay focused well. And her sister enjoyed learning and spending time with her. Win-win! The project pages are the instructions on how to put together the pieces of the mini-booklets, timeline, etc.
These parts are really quite similar to Project Passport and the access is similar also. Where it diverged was that every 5th lesson was for make-up or review. This is really good because it takes some of the daily pressure off to have to get everything done in a single day for each lesson. Additionally, the review cards are helpful. There are cards for words that were used in the week’s lessons that might be new or that were used differently then. There are cards for the events that were covered that week. And there are cards that are specific to WWI, even though it won’t be covered each week.
Another thing she is looking forward to is that lesson 25, the final lesson, is all about creating a Depression-era meal. It includes menu options, recipes, and invitations. This will be a fun culmination event for the study.
Miss E did not use every part of every lesson. She is completing the timeline and the mini-booklets.
She read through the quotes from different men and women and talked with her sister about them, discussing who each person was. She chose her favorite quote and made a bookmark or small card with it.
It was interesting to see Miss E and Miss J working together on this as it really boosted them both. Miss E was able to help Miss J learn some new things while finding about more about a period she herself was interested in. Miss J asked some insightful questions that caused Miss E to have to go researching some answers. One of those came up right off the bat with the transcontinental railroad: is the transcontinental railroad still in use? Turns out, it is and we had to look that up. A sign of a good curriculum is that it causes the student to think and ask questions, not answering it all for them.
One of our personal goals with this program was to find something to go a bit deeper into the time period with. HSITW does well with this. Since the products are designed to have the student thinking and writing about each topic, the information is by nature a bit more in depth. The hands-on aspect of working with mini-booklets and timelines and newspaper articles and such really helps bring history to life.
Thoughts from Miss E:
Overall, this is not really different from Project Passport. But there were some different parts that I really liked. I like the pages of quotes. I don’t have a need for handwriting practice but the card that I did was fun. I liked that every 5th lesson is a make-up day and review day. The vocabulary cards are interesting. The text for each lesson is interesting and more engaging than I remember Project Passport being since these are written a bit more like a story while the Project Passport was more factual.
I had requested this title since in my other history curriculum, I had just finished the Great Depression and I wanted to know more. It started about the turn of the 20th century and I wanted to know about what came right before that. I read about things in a general way but wanted to know the details about the rapid changes that were happening. This title seems to be doing that.
As everyone is aware, this is a presidential election year. What better time to study elections, right? Home School in the Woods has a U.S. Elections Lap-Pak that will fit the bill nicely. We used it a few years ago (4, I believe) and I am planning to pull it out for Miss J this fall. You can read about our use and review of it but you can also visit the HSITW blog and read what they say about it there.
Other than the U.S. Elections Lap-Pak, we have reviewed
- Project Passport: Ancient Greece,
- Project Passport: Ancient Egypt,
- Project Passport: the Middle Ages,
- Á La Carte Erie Canal,
- Á La Carte WWII timeline,
- Á La Carte quilling,
- Lap-Pak: The Wonders of the World, and
If you are looking for more history information, the Home School in the Woods blog has ideas for you. Are you looking for a full curriculum or do you just need a single project to supplement? This will help you know the difference between the options offered. Or are you looking for reasons to add recipes to a history study? Check out the post on adding recipes.
Lori, At Home.
Please click on the image below to read other reviews about HSITW products by other Homeschool Review Crew families.