Tag Archives: history

The Greatest Inventors ~ a Crew review

The Greatest Inventors

Looking for a simple way to start our new school year, we decided that a week-long unit study would be great. Enter A Journey Through Learning Lapbooks and their stand-alone lapbook product, The Greatest Inventors .

Greatest Inventors Lapbook with Study Guide

A Journey Through Learning Lapbooks has been around for a while and got its start when a couple of homeschooling moms realized that what they wanted was not to be found. So, they created it! How’s that for ingenuity? That was the start of A Journey Through Learning Lapbooks (AJTL).

AJTL has many products to fit many needs. Whether you are looking for a stand alone study or something to accompany a curriculum you have purchased, AJTL may have just what you need. And if you don’t know exactly what a lapbook is, well, they have a page for that, too. Head over to their site to watch their video about lapbooks. But quickly – lapbooking is a way to simply document learning by completing mini-booklets in different shapes and sizes, keeping the documentation varied and interesting for the student.

We were able to use The Greatest Inventors, a stand-alone lapbooking unit. What that means is that the downloadable product (you can also get a printed version) contains all of the mini-booklets to create the lapbook as well as all the information in a study guide to be able to fill out and complete the lapbook. Each mini-booklet has its own page of information to read. It was a simple unit to complete and we were easily able to use it with our girls, ages 8, 11, and 13.

working on the book report form

How We Used The Greatest Inventors

I printed out all of the mini-booklets from the PDF file. I did not print the study guide pages; we accessed those on the computer when we needed them. I also checked out a book on each inventor from the library, since the study guide was not as high a reading level as I wanted for the two older girls. They needed more of a challenge. (The reading level was perfect for our 8 year old, though.) I placed the books and pages together on the table and the girls took turns picking the inventors they were interested in.

Some of the inventors –

  • Jonas Salk
  • Thomas Jefferson
  • Guglielmo Marconi
  • George Eastman
  • Louis Braille
  • The Wright Brothers
  • and many more.

Each day that week, the girls worked on one or more of their inventors. They read the study guide and the books. In some cases, we looked up more information or pictures on the internet with a simple Google search. Then, the girls completed their mini-booklets, as well as the book report form that is included in the PDF.

working on da Vinci

The book report form is a simple form, asking for the name of the book and its author. It asks about the birth and death, the time period, and information about what was understood from the book. It also gives them a chance to be creative, designing a stamp for that inventor. It was fun to talk about stamps being a way to honor someone and their achievements.

Miss J presenting her researchMiss L presenting her research

At the end of the week, we had a presentation. The girls took turns presenting their inventors, the book report, and showing the mini-booklet that was created. We also used this time to open up a discussion about how each invention helped or changed the world. It was a fun day, full of unexpected learning.

Miss E presenting her research

Now, we went pretty far above and beyond the lapbook product itself. But this is a great example of how easy it is to extend these products to include the entire family in learning. Our oldest students got some good research experience, as well as having to present, while it fit perfectly the reading ability and interest level of our youngest. We could easily have just used the mini-booklets and the study guide and we still would have learned a lot.

everyone can change the world

AJTL has simple to use products, though you do need access to a computer and printer if you are purchasing their downloadable products. If that doesn’t work for you, they have printed versions available, as well.A Journey Through Learning

The Homeschool Review Crew had several products that the families were using. These included

These are just a few of the hundreds of titles that A Journey Through Learning Lapbooks has available. There is something for just about every study you can imagine. Visit their page to see what else they have.

At Home.

 

Lapbooks for Classical Conversations, Apologia, Inventors & 20th Century {A Journey Through Learning Lapbooks Reviews}

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Hands-On History from Home School In The Woods ~ a Crew review

 

When learning something that is full of ideas and images, such as history, hands-on learning brings a concrete element to it. Home School in the Woods (HSITW) is a hands-on history company that brings some understanding to ideas, elements, and cultures that we cannot get without a tactile activity. We have had fun this summer with some relaxed learning about our home state of Texas through HSITW’s new product, Make-a-State Activity.

Hands-On History Activity-Paks: Make-A-StateMake-A-State is a part of the Activity-Paks series. Other titles in the series include:

*The Old Testament
*The New Testament
*Composers
*Artists

HSITW is a company focused on bringing history to life through hands-on activities and informative readings. Each of the products in the HSITW lines are well-researched and well-written. The information is written at a level that upper elementary students and older are generally able to read and understand it on their own. However, with just a little bit of help, even younger elementary students are very capable of using and learning with all of the HSITW products that we have used over the years.
(Project Passport: Ancient Greece, Project Passport: Ancient Egypt, U.S. Elections)

Hands-On History Activity-Paks: Make-A-StateMake-A-State is a Activity-Pak that can be used to study any state in the U.S or Washington D.C. The activities all work together to create a lapbook that includes more than 20 mini projects. All together these projects will give an overview of the chosen state. Most of the topics are generic in theme, allowing it be created specifically for your state. These topics include things like the agriculture of the state, the industry, the climate and the government. Also included are projects about the wildlife, the state song, and sports teams. From the history of the name of the state to the native peoples that live there, many topics are similar from state to state. Creating a tourist brochure and a mini newspaper are a couple of the projects that take a tad bit longer but are well worth the increased efforts.

There are also some projects that are designed to be specific to your state. These include a recipe, the motto, and the state bird and flower. There is also a map to create for your chosen state that you can personalize or mark in a way that fits what you are emphasizing for your state. Not to be forgotten, each state also has a state quarter that is designed to well-represent the state and there is a project to show that off, too.

Lastly, there is a folder game included to help learn about all of the United States. There are three versions of the game included and a set of double sided cards to cut out. Depending on what you are wanting to focus on, you use a different game board but the cards stay the same. Here’s a video of me attempting to explain the variations and how I put them together in a single file folder.


How We Used  Make-A-State:

We chose to use this Activity-Pak as a family. Since we are planning some field trips after the weather cools down to some places related to the history of Texas, we decided to use this as a fun summer projects. And it was well enjoyed. There were several days when the first thing that the girls wanted to do was to work on a mini book or two from Make-A-State (even before breakfast).

We divided up the projects and each of the girls chose something that she was interested in to work on. We used the included information sheet about Texas to get some of the information from (such as for the timeline). We also used the internet to do some research, mostly accessing a known Texas history and information site. For many of the images we needed, we used a Google search for black line coloring pages and printed them at a reduced size of about 30%.

Over the course of several days, working an hour or two a day, we completed the project. We finished it by placing each of the mini books onto blank paper and putting it into a three-prong folder. This way it can sit on our bookshelf easily and as we add to out states collection, they will all be similar. Here is a quick video showing you how it looks put into the folder.

A Couple of Notes:

We have not found a good double sided tape to use for these projects. We have also found that glue sticks don’t work for most of them. White glue really would not work due to the required drying time. So, our solution is to use tape. If you know my girls, you know that we have a deep love of tape. 🙂 Tape works really well and can hold up to the strain that some of the folds put on the projects.

We have become pretty familiar with Home School in the Woods and the ways in which their projects work. There is a bit of a learning curve with this company but it is well worth taking the time to beat that learning curve. Each project in a pack is put together a bit differently to create variety. This means that each project needs a little bit of thinking to put it together right. There are detailed instructions included but, honestly, it still takes some thinking to put some of them together. There are always images included of the completed project and those are terribly helpful.

Printing can also be tricky. You do have to know your own printer. Due to the differences in printer, each page of a project is presented to you separately with printing instructions (print 1-b on the back of 1-a, or something like that). You do need to read through those and print them as instructed to make the projects easier to put together. If you are like me, each time, I have to experiment a bit to remember which way to take the first page out and put it back in the printing drawer to get it printed in the right direction on the back. But, again, it is well worth taking the time and effort (and sometimes paper) to figure it out. My youngest still remembers working on Project Passport: Ancient Egypt from, what, 3 years ago?

A-La-Carte Options:

Home School in the Woods has recently introduced an a-la-carte option for some of their projects. This is a way for you to grab and use one or two of the projects, without having to commit to a longer study of the topic. Perhaps you are reading on a subject and your student shows an interest, you could head over to HSITW and see if there is a single hands-on project to do related to that topic. Or it could be a jumping off point. For example, here is a post about the mini unit study we did last week on the Erie Canal based off of the a-la-carte projects HSITW is offering (free at the time of this writing).

 

Thoughts:

This is a company that we enjoy a lot. Their products are well-researched, well-put-together, and lots of fun. Add to that the retention of information, and this hands-on history company is one worth looking into for your history needs.

At Home.

There were 100 families using products from Home School in the Woods. Click the banner below to read about what they thought from the product lines that were reviewed:

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

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

Activity-Paks
*The Old Testament
*The New Testament
*Composers
*Artists

Timeline Trio

 

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

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Erie Canal and Locks

Erie Canal and Locks

Home School in the Woods, a fantastic hands-on history company, has begun offering a new type of product – a-la-carte projects from their history packs.Erie Canal project from HSITW

HSITW has an offer right now (don’t know how long the offer is good) for a project on the Erie Canal that looks simple and fun. So, I sat down and printed it out and put it together so I could show it to the girls. I had not idea just how much hands-on history would happen with that little project.

Miss J, age 8, was terribly interested. So we talked about the project, looking at the map, discussing the information inside of it, and how it would have been used. I also sang her the Erie Canal song that I knew. That settled it – more information was needed so she asked about whether we could find pictures or videos of the canals and locks.

We started out on A Net In Time, looking at the pictures of the field trip they took to Welland Canal.

Homeschool Coffee Break has a field trip discussion about visiting the C&O Canal, as well as a link to an earlier discussion about canals.

Then some videos and webpages:

The Erie Canal page has animated drawings of locks in use.

Here is a video of going through some locks:

This video is about the canal and about the mules used to pull the barges along:

A video of mules actually pulling a boat along:

And this one, not of the Erie Canal but a fascinating look at locks, even on smaller waterways:

So, with just a simple hands-on project from Home School In The Woods, we expanded our learning across continents and waterways, using maps, music, history, commerce, and more. Not bad for a Friday afternoon in the summer.

At Home.

Passive Teaching – Middle School Monday

National Parks and passive teaching

I often forget just how effective passive teaching is. By passive teaching, I mean setting up a situation where the student is “invited” without words to participate in something that will educate.

A year or so ago, I stumbled across a set of DVDs about America’s national parks. They have sat on the shelf. I have often thought it would be interesting to pull them out to view but the right opportunity just never appeared. Until the other day.

I had some time and wanted to watch TV. I saw those and decided that I wanted to watch them. I knew the girls were in the living room and honestly, I expected them to leave to play in their rooms or outside when I put these on. Guess what? They didn’t.

National Parks DVDs

They hung around, still doing their own things. But they were listening. I know because every once in a while, from behind the couch, I would hear “wow!” or “I bet that’s neat.” It was whispered and not necessarily meant to be heard, so I never responded. I loved that they were paying attention, even if they were only hearing things, while keeping their hands busy with activity.

Then again, the other evening, I put a disc on to watch. My oldest daughter was on the couch reading. She very quickly put her book down to watch with me. She often commented about things she thought were neat. At one point she got up and left the room. I thought “Nice while she was here and I’m glad she watched as much as she did.” Just a moment later she returned with coloring materials in her hands. She proceeded to watch more with me. And, when I was about to turn it off, she asked if I would leave it on and watch more with her. So, I did. We still have 2 discs to go, too!

I had no thought that in doing something interesting for myself that it would attract their interests. I always hope so. But I never plan for that. Now, though, I have a daughter who has an interest in visiting a number of different national parks. In fact, she asked if she made of list of the ones she wants to see, if we could go visit some of them in the next couple of years. She understands that some are very far away and we can’t just up and go. But her interest is piqued. And isn’t that what we are hoping for? Interest?

It may be short lived or fleeting. But it is there. If we feed that interest, who knows where it will go. So, on our next trip to NM, I am hoping we can detour through Carlsbad (not really too far out of the way) and visit Carlsbad Caverns National Park again. It is first on her list.

At Home.

Visiting Texas Rangers – Blogging Through The Alphabet

V Visiting the Texas Rangers

I really like to visit museums. I really enjoy it. If I could visit museums and historical sites every single day, I’d be thrilled. So, when my mom was visiting and mentioned that she wanted to visit the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum, I was excited.

V Texas Ranger Museum

We headed over to the museum and enjoyed reading the historical markers that are out front. We would have appreciated less heat but the markers were interesting.

V Visiting the Ranger Museum

Then we went inside. The girls really surprised me, which was a nice thing! They were given scavenger hunts at the desk and they were excited to find the answers. They hunted down every answer, reading an awful lot of information in order to find the answers. I loved that they did it with energy and enthusiasm.

V Ranger scavenger hunt

We also watched a fairly lengthy documentary on the history of the Texas Rangers and how they have been viewed throughout their history. From the wild west through wars, government and society changes, their place in law enforcement has changed and evolved with the world around them.

We learned about cattle rustlers, Bonnie and Clyde, wire cutters, and border skirmishes. We learned about the Rangers’ places in Texas history and how they helped, and sometimes hindered, progress. It was interesting.

V Ranger artifacts

One of the biggest surprises for me – how much the girls enjoyed looking at all the weaponry and reading about it. Weapons are a big part of the museum displays and that was really interesting. There are even a couple of pistols that you can lift to feel just how heavy they are (almost 5 lbs!). Another big part were displays related to different Rangers of specific importance. One of the girls commented on how interesting those displays were.

This was a fun learning experience that taught me to look forward to these expeditions because I never know when I will be surprised. The Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum is definitely a place worth visiting if you have the chance.

At Home.

Please visit A Net In Time and Hopkins Homeschool and link up your ABC posts.

Also linking up with the Homeschool Review Crew Round-up.

Field Trip Inspiration {Round UP}

Women Heroes of World War II – Book Club

Book club:Ladybug Daydrams and At Home where life happens

This month’s selection is Women Heroes of World War II: 26 Stories of Espionage, Sabotage, Resistance, and Rescue. It is written by Kathryn J. Atwood. These stories all have one thing in common – concern/love for  others who are not being treated right. Each of the 26 women in this book stood up when there was evil being done and said, in her own ways big and small, “I will not take this.” And then she did something about it.

Many of these women joined others in formal resistance organizations, but not all. Most of these women lost their lives for standing up for what is right, but not all. All are heroes and all are being remembered for staying the course, even in the face of things I cannot fathom.

I was to highlight just a few, though I encourage you to read all of their stories. It will bring both delight and encouragement to you. And, if you want to read more, each individual has a small box at the end that tells you about other books and articles that have been written about them.

Women Heroes of WWII

Sophie Scholl from Germany – Sophie was involved with an underground publishing group sharing leaflets in Germany and encouraging students to not tolerate the Nazi beliefs that were being forced on them. She is quoted in the book as saying “Somebody had to make a start! What we said and wrote are what many people are thinking. They just don’t dare say it out loud!” What bravery and courage it must have taken to state that. Having seen the growth of the German forces, she knew that it was not right and determined to make a stand. She was executed after a trial in which she was found guilty of possessing The White Rose pamphlets and distributing them. A tribute to her and others from The White Rose came when Allied forces reprinted some of The White Rose pamphlets and dropped them from the air over Germany.

Noor Inayat Khan from Great Britain – Noor was a gentle, quiet spirit who enjoyed writing and illustrating, especially children’s stories. When the war began, she joined the WAAF and became a radio operator. This was the beginning of her quiet, unsuspected assistance in the resistance movements. Her special training allowed her to join the SOE (Special Operations Executive) which sent agents into Nazi-occupied countries to fight secretly. She was a radio operator for this, sending messages from other agents back to London from France. She was a very successful radio operator but was betrayed and arrested. She was eventually executed at Dachau but not before she sent additional encouragement to others who were in the prisons with her.

Fernande Keufgens from Belgium – This was a teenager who did might work and kept her cool in many close situations. One of my favorite related in the book is when she was able to get a five year old child to safety, even after being directly questioned by the Gestapo. She evaded capture very narrowly several times but always continued helping the Resistance. She survived the war and her story lives on.

Josephine Baker from France – Josephine was an elegant singer who entertained many. What they didn’t know was that was also a spy for the Deuxieme Bureau, a military intelligence group. She was able to move about from place to place and no one would suspect an African-American-turned-Frenchwoman to be gathering intelligence to pass along to the military while she was singing and dancing. She was able to gather many important bits of information and often knew more about the war than the servicemen she was performing for. She was an encouragement and help to many in the war efforts.

Without these and many, many others, the war could have drug on more many more years. I am so inspired by those who stepped up when they could have just turned away. They didn’t ignore; they didn’t hide their faces; they didn’t walk away. The said “not on my watch” and did something. Every little thing helped.

What lessons there are in that for me today. I need to look around for ways to assist and then to boldly do so. I challenge you to do the same as these women.

Head over to Ladybug Daydreams to see which women Wendy chose to highlight. We’ll see if any caught both of our attentions. So many to choose from, each very special.

Join us next month for the book club selection of Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley. It will post on  July 6.

At Home.

book club button 200

Drive Thru History® – The Gospels ~ a Crew review

The GospelsHow does history go from “ho-hum” to “Wow! What else can we learn?!?” Just put on an episode of Drive Thru History®.

Host David Stotts drives the viewers around various history sites related to a given theme; in this case it was Drive Thru History® – “The Gospels”, though he has also hosted a number of others from American History, to Ancient Rome and Ancient Greece. (We have used all of these at one time or another and they are fantastic!)

watching The Gospels

Drive Thru History® brings history to life by taking you to the places where history happened. Visually appealing and content rich, this series will bring history to life while you can just sit back and watch. Being able to see the sites where history was made helps the viewer really understand and remember. Viewing it all through a biblical lens strengthens the worldview, as well.

Drive Thru History® – “The Gospels” is a set of 3 DVDs that brings you 18 episodes of about 30 minutes each. In these episodes, Mr. Stotts takes you to visit over 50 sites where important events took place in the biblical books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. With visually stunning video, the sites come alive with Mr. Stotts retelling of the happenings right where they would have taken place 2000 years ago. Geography, history, archaeology, and art show the life of Jesus and prove the truth of the Bible.

DVD images

With over 9 hours of video, there is so much to be seen and learned. The Gospels comes with a study guide, neatly tucked inside a hardcover book that houses the DVDs. There are stunning images and art work reproductions throughout the 118-page guide. Each episode has a section that includes scriptures to read about the people and places in the episode, 5 questions relating to each episode, a quote, and historical side note.

We enjoyed using this study guide after each episode. It was simple to use and did not take us long, yet it was a good reinforcement for what they had just watched.

 

Drive Thru History The Gospels

One note – The episode relating the sites and direct activities about the crucifixion has a warning on it about its graphic nature and violence. I appreciated this as I have some very highly sensitive and emotional children that feel things very deeply. I watched this episode privately first to decide whether it was appropriate for them all to see. Most of the episode I would not be concerned about but there are several minutes that are video reenactment of the crucifixion. These are extremely graphic. Miss E watched the episode but, at this time, I am not showing the episode to the other girls. This is a decision for each family to make on their own.

This series is just so fascinating. I can’t say enough good things about it. We loved Drive Thru History® – “The Gospels” so much that we are planning a small group Bible study for homeschoolers next fall using these DVDs as our core. Drive Thru History with Dave Stotts is a video program that you can feel good about your students watching. If you can’t travel to the historical sites yourself, this is perhaps the next best thing – being taken there through well-done video tours full of explanation, history, and insight.

answering questions from study guide

Now for the girls’ take on the series:

  • Miss E – age 13: Drive Thru History’s Mr. Stotts is funny and I didn’t want to stop watching when it was time for school lessons. I learned about The Gospels because Mr. Stotts brought us to where it happened. When you read it in the Bible, you know it happened, but when he is showing me where it happened and I see people doing things somewhat related to what actually happened, it makes it feel more real to me. A lot of the time in my Wednesday night Bible class, my teacher says “Check the Bible. Some people say things wrong. Sometimes they say the wrong thing on accident.” And I felt that the statement at the end of each episode was saying the same thing – Read it yourself; check the Bible. This statement was accompanied by Bible passages to read about the people and places from that episode.
    I didn’t like how it showed John the Baptist pouring water over Jesus’ head at his baptism instead of immersing him. I did not really liked the fact that Mom made me wait to watch the crucifixion episode, but I understood why she did.
  • Miss L – age 10: I like Drive Thru History – The Gospels. I appreciated Mr. Stotts’ sense of humor, even if I didn’t get all of his jokes. He had a very creative and descriptive way of saying things that made me excited to hear his next sentence. I learned a lot of history with this series of DVDs in between the Bible lessons. I liked how he actually went to places instead of just telling us a little bit about each place and then saying a few words and stopping there and moving on. I really felt like he was excited to show us each place and actually enjoyed being there and getting to show us all of the places. I really appreciated that. It is much nicer to get to have a person who clearly likes his job and wants to be there teaching. I liked the part at the end where the statement said, “This show hopes to provide some illumination on The Gospels but there is no substitute for reading The Gospels yourself.” It made it feel like they really cared if you learned the truth about The Gospels and the Bible, in general.
  • Miss J – age 8: I liked that he walked around in the actual places and didn’t just stand in one spot. I liked that he walked around in the Kidron Valley. I liked how they drew the pictures about in the same places as they were talking about. There was not much that I did not like; I really liked Drive Thru History – The Gospels!

When you get this kind of praise from all three of the girls, it is a definite winner. Please visit Drive Thru History® – “The Gospels” to learn more.

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Want to know what others thought? There were 100 families reviewing Drive Thru History. Click on the banner below to read their thoughts.
The Gospels {Drive Thru History® Reviews}
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