Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Homeschool Review Crew: Home School in the Woods Time Travelers American - The American Revolution Study

Home School in the Woods

Home School in the Woods sent us a digital download of The American Revolution study from the Time Travelers American series to review which was a magnificent study to work through during our summer break.

Home School in the Woods is a well-known hands-on History company offering multiple product lines. A variety of products are available on their website such as their Time Travelers American studies, the Activity-Paks, Lap-Paks, Project Passports, and Timeline Trio. The Make-a-State Activity-Pak sounds like the perfect Geography study for the summer break or throughout the year. Not to mention they recently added A-La-Carte projects too! There are over 50 projects available in a variety of formats such as mini timelines, file folder games, creative writing activities, lapbook mini studies, and more. All of these products are bound to make learning fun and exciting!

Other Time Travelers Products in this Series:
  • Colonial Life
  • New World Explorers
  • Civil War
  • World War II
  • Early 19th Century
  • Industrial Revolution Through the Great Depression
We are hoping to complete the Civil War study in the near future.

The downloadable product was emailed directly to me. It is compatible with MAC and PC computers. This American History study is suitable for children in 3rd-8th grade, but you can definitely adapt or modify so that younger children can participate.

You can easily navigate through the materials once you are more familiar with their format and layout. The content is organized and grouped into sets of 5 lessons. After clicking on the set, we clicked on a specific lesson number to print materials.
Lesson 1 Materials

The study will last approximately 5-10 weeks depending on how the hands-on lessons and projects are scheduled. It can be spread out over a longer time period if desired. You can choose the number of projects you want to complete in any given amount of time.

The unit study also includes an Additional Resources tool which lists relevant books, audios, and videos related to the topics addressed which enables you to enrich or extend the learning process. We checked out several of these items from our local library. The company also offers a photo of the finished projects for the student to view.

The American Revolution study consists of 25 numbered lessons including a conglomeration of hands-on projects and activities such as notebooking pages, lapbooking pieces, cooking recipes, 3D projects, games, penmanship copywork, newspaper, timeline, and mapping activities. The last lesson is a Wrap It Up Tribute lesson to celebrate the American Revolution. All projects are to be completed at that time and available to share with others. The child will choose decorations, food, games, and costumes for the party. At the end of the unit study, we will assemble our lapbook and review ALL content learned over the summer.

Each lesson includes 1-3 pages of informative written text to read together or independently, project planing pages with step-by-step instructions, and master printables for each project. Teacher keys are also available for some projects such as the timeline activity.  The first photo below shows the lesson text for Lesson 4 and the second photo shows the project planning sheets with detailed directions for Lesson 6.
The file I received provided us with printable files in PDF format so an updated version of Adobe Reader will be needed to view the content. This study is comprehensive and complete. It includes everything you need to study the American Revolution time period.

Several topics addressed in the American Revolution unit are Colonial Beginnings, Jamestown, Mayflower Compact, French and Indian War, Boston Massacre, Boston Tea Party, Taxation without Representation, Intolerable or Coersive Acts, First and Second Continental Congress, George Washington, King George, American Government Under England's Control, Whig verses Tory, Lexington and Concord, Paul Revere's Ride, Minutemen, Samuel Adams, Madison, Ben Franklin, Valley Forge, Women of War, American Revolution Battles, Liberty Bell, Battles in New York, Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights, Constitution, and so much more.

The unit integrates a variety of subjects including but not limited to Science, Writing, History, Geography, Music, Penmanship, and Literature. You are sure to find something that will appeal to the interests of your child.

Our Experiences
I used the HISTORY Through the Ages Time Travelers American History Study: The American Revolution with Alyssa (Age 9) who works at a 3rd-6th grade level. The study was utilized as a standalone American History summer curricula. I downloaded, unzipped, saved, and viewed the digital file on my MAC OS X 10.11.6 early 2009 computer using Chrome as my preferred browser. You will need an application that enables you to "unzip" files.

We completed 1 lesson per week working on projects 3-4 times per week. The number of projects we completed each week varied depending on her interests and chosen topics. We love that we could pick and choose which projects to complete. We worked through the unit in chronological and numerical order. Each work session lasted approximately 30 minutes to 1 1/12 hours.

I encourage you to read the 1-page Introduction and the 2-page Tips to Consider Before Starting before you begin printing any of the materials. These pages contain helpful information with regards to use and set-up of the product. The tips section also contains a list of supply items to have on hand during your study.

I printed out the one-page Lesson Plan Schedule so that I could highlight the completed projects and activities. Each box represents one lesson. This page gave me a glance of activities to be done during the study so I can prepare in advance. A key was provided in the top left corner which showed the text symbols indicating lapbooking (LB) or notebooking (NB) activities.  

We organized the materials in two binders. All of the teacher materials were stored in my binder such as the text and project planning sheets. My daughter's binder stored the competed lapbook and notebook materials. Alyssa colored her black and white binder cover and spine. I printed the parent binder cover in color.

We read most of the text together so that I could check for understanding. I printed materials as we worked through the study usually only one week's worth at a time. We have not completed the entire study yet, because we decided to stretch the study out over our summer break. I will share with you just a few of the activities and projects she's been working on so far.

We both love the timeline and figures. This timeline covers the 1600's-1790's during the American Revolution. The detailed hand-drawn illustrations are professionally created by Amy Pak. Alyssa colored each image and added several figures to the timeline during each session.

Did you know that Benjamin Franklin was a musician? He developed a glass instrument called the armonica. This activity was a great way to integrate History, Science, and Music together. She created her own songs using the water glasses. The musical glass experiment was one of two activities under the Franklin Experiments section. The other experiment showed Alyssa how a curved lens changes how she sees an object. She used water droplets and plastic wrap to create a convex lens which enlarged the written text.

My daughter practiced her cursive penmanship using the famous Founding Father quotes. I printed out the ruled paper and the quote for her to copy. Children can also do the penmanship copywork using manuscript writing. The quote selections were amazing. Several were long so I suggest breaking it up over several days for younger children. Quotes from William Bradford, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, George Washington were just a few of the influential figures quoted.  

Alyssa wrote several articles for the newspaper titled, "The Daily Bugle" including but not limited to "French and Indians Wage War," "Minutemen to Arms," and "More Taxes Raise Tempers in Boston." For each article, she researched the topic and used the written text provided to create her entry. We will assemble the paper at the end of the unit.

My daughter learned about the flow of power and how the American Government was under England's control. She made a notebook page that helped her understand the colonist motto, "Taxation without representation is tyranny!" A text description was under each flap explaining the type of government and power.

Another great component of The American Revolution study is that it contains numerous lapbooking pieces. At the end of the unit, we will compile all of the mini books into a lapbook for Alyssa to review. It'll be one keepsake she'll be eager to share with friends and family. She researched information about a Whig and Tory. She jotted down the differences in a mini book that will be part of her lapbook.

She colored, cut out, and set up her Minutemen Pop-Up which will adhere to the lapbook towards the end of the unit. Paul Revere's horse moves about in the card. She researched information about Paul Revere and the Minutemen for the writing portion.

The picture below shows several other lapbook pieces Alyssa completed during her study. The Pie Book of Acts in the middle was one project that required an attention to the detailed directions. It proved to be a bit more complicated and more difficult to assemble than the other pieces. Another project that frustrated Alyssa was the assembly of the Jamestown Replica. I am not sure if it was too much work or if the directions were a bit unclear, but she abandoned the activity altogether.  I recommend that a parent or older child help younger children with these two projects. She also created a Mayflower Compact scroll similar to the Day of Fasting, Humiliation, and Prayer scroll seen below. These scrolls summarize the events for her to review later. My daughter really enjoyed creating the Tea Troubles Brewing booklet. She drew and labeled other beverage alternatives for the colonists to drink during the tea boycott. She also had the opportunity to compare and contrast the leadership qualities and character traits of George Washington verses King George III after reading about them in her lesson. 

I appreciate that mapping exercises were also integrated into the lessons. Alyssa created a Mitchell's Map, Battles of the American Revolution Map, and a Bad News in Boston Map.
Battles of the American Revolution

She also created a profile frame after researching information about Benjamin Franklin and his accomplishments. A recent chapter book we reviewed tied in perfectly with this activity. She summarized important information she already read or learned about him. Then, it was recorded on the lines provided around the picture frame. This profile frame will be added to her lapbook at a later time.  

This study also included a game called "Taxation Frustration" which taught her about the unfair differences in taxation between Great Britain and the American colonies. We printed the real images of colonial paper money from the 1700's to use during the game. The printables were provided so I didn't have to search for anything online. 

The following photo collage shows several other popular activities we completed. I read aloud the classic poem titled, "Paul Revere's Ride" written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow while Alyssa worked on her weekly projects. Did you know that shadow puppetry was a form of entertainment in the 18th century in Europe and America? My daughter made French and IndianWar shadow puppets and utilized them with a lamp and the scripts provided. She didn't create the stage. She also read about and colored Benjamin Franklin's Join or Die political cartoon which encouraged the colonists to band together.  

Every 5th lesson consists of a Project Day which provides you with extra built-in time to finish projects from previous lessons. At this time Alyssa created vocabulary Factile Cards to study. The terms were organized into three groups: Political, Military, and Who Were They. The Factile Cards were first printed separately on colored cardstock so that my daughter could match the vocabulary term with the definition while playing a matching or concentration game. These cards were stored in the Factile Card Envelopes. The step-by-step directions for this activity are provided in the study. We also printed the flashcards with bold-print terms and definitions on one side so that Alyssa could study the vocabulary words before playing learning games. I didn't want to waste the bottom halves of the manila envelopes so we used the bottom halves of the envelopes to store these cards and tied them off with yarn. They were hole-punched and added to Alyssa's binder. The terms were color-coded for easy storage. Military terms such as Minuteman, militia, guerilla, and artillery were printed on purple paper. Political terms such as Patriot, revolution, preamble, and treason were printed on yellow paper. The Who Were They names such as Paul Revere, Sons of Liberty, and King George III, and Patrick Henry were printed on orange paper. A complete list of terms was printed and stored in my teacher binder.

Each Project Day offers two recipes to try. We aimed to make at least one recipe from the Project Day and to save the other recipe for the American Revolution Tribute dinner. One of our all-time favorite activities are the Baking and Cooking recipes such as Apple Jack cookies and Peach Cobbler. The Apple Jack cookies are awesome! They're so good! They taste like gingerbread cookies. However, I will slightly decrease the amount of salt added next time.

Overall Thoughts and Results 
This is a very impressive high-quality unit study containing meaningful activities to complete. The depth and content coverage is extremely reasonable for the indicated age-group with room for bunny trail extensions if desired. The scope and sequence of the unit topics flowed naturally and smoothly. Alyssa definitely retained the information taught using this hands-on study. The activities and projects reinforced the lessons. She was excited about learning American History and thoroughly engaged in the learning process. The Home School in the Woods products serve as wonderful keepsakes for student portfolios. Every time we show Alyssa's Home School in the Woods unit studies to friends, they always say they wished they were taught that way because maybe they would love learning History.  

What We Liked
  • Minimal Preparation 
  • Relevant Reading Text Provided
  • Comprehensive and Complete 
  • Supply Lists Included
  • Step-By-Step Instructions
  • Adaptable for All Ages and Needs
  • All Ages Taught in One Sitting
  • Addresses Multiple Learning Styles
  • Helpful Additional Resources
  • Schedule Flexibility
  • Finished Project Photos Gallery
  • Option to Pick-and-Choose Projects
  • Plethora of Hands-On Projects
Time Travelers American History Study: The American Revolution

I HIGHLY recommend using ANY of the Home School in the Woods products! The American Revolution study can be used as a supplement for an American History curriculum or as a standalone unit study. This study has made teaching American History super easy. My daughter is having so much fun learning using this hands-on approach. She is comprehending relevant information and I am confident that she will remember the content over a longer period of time.

I believe that individuals implementing a Unit Study, Eclectic, Charlotte Mason, Classical, Lapbooking, Notebooking, and Delight-Directed teaching approach will benefit greatly when using the hands-on products available through Home School in the Woods. There are a variety of projects that will meet the interest of all learning styles especially if you have a hands-on learner in the family.

I also reviewed Project Passport World History Studies: The Middle Ages and Renaissance and Reformation in the past. Visit the links above to read about our experiences with those products.

The American Revolution
Click on the link above to view the scope and sequence and to download a sample.
  • Download Version $27.95
  • CD Version $28.95
Note: All prices are subject to change without notice.

Special Note: Home School in the Woods has a new product line called A-La-Carte projects. In honor of the 200th anniversary of the beginning of the canal, Home School in the Woods is offering you the following code alacarte in order to get the Erie Canal project for FREE. Go check it out! The free item will be emailed to you after you complete the checkout process.

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