Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Homeschool Review Crew: Á La Carte Products from Home School in the Woods

Home School in the Woods  Á La Carte products

We've been learning about Music and Art using our two Á La Carte review products from Home School in the Woods. We are huge fans of Home School in the Woods! We've used several of their products in the past including the Project Passport World History: Middle Ages and Renaissance and Reformation studies. We also reviewed the Time Travelers: The American Revolution study.

Let me tell you about the new Á La Carte collection. The collections consists of individual downloadable digital items meant to enrich or enhance the learning process. The company offers a wide conglomeration of Á La Carte products covering various subjects, time periods, and topics. They are organized by Historical Eras and Project Types. This means that if you are wanting a file folder game for your children to play that's related to your studies, then you can look under Project Types and click on File Folder Game. You can easily find what you are looking for when browsing. There are items available to supplement your History, Geography, Science, Art, Music, Bible, and Language Arts curricula. Projects such as games, timelines, newspaper and creative writing activities, posters, lapbooking resources, and 3D authentic crafts are offered. Activities will vary for each Á La Carte item. They are continuously adding newly released Á La Carte products to their store.
Home School in the Woods  Á La Carte products

What We Received
We received a family license for the Art Gallery File Folder Game and the Composers Through History Timeline which means we can only reproduce materials within our immediate family. Teacher and School licenses are also available to purchase.

The downloads were emailed to us in PDF format therefore an updated version of Adobe Reader is needed and highly recommended for printing ease. I downloaded and saved the files to my MAC computer using Chrome as my preferred browser. Both files are compatible with PC and MAC computers.

The timeline and game were used with my 10-year-old daughter who is in 4th grade. I wanted to add more Music and Art Appreciation into our homeschool day. These supplemental resources definitely enriched her studies. I also used the Composers Through History Timeline to review the Classical composers we previously studied. We started with Classical composers and then traveled back to the Middle Ages moving forward chronologically each day. The Art Gallery Game was used to help her identify and recognize artists and their major artworks. 

Both of the Á La Carte products provided a Licenses For Use information page in addition to an Introduction and Tips page which includes detailed printing and assembly instructions. I HIGHLY suggest reading the Tips page first before printing anything out. The specific instructions for each project follow the Introduction page. Both include a bulleted list of supplies and numbered step-by-step directions.

Art Gallery File Folder Game
The Art Gallery File Folder Game teaches children about popular artists and their well-known masterpieces. This multi-player game is suitable for children in 3rd-12th grade. You can have up to four players with the option of adding more players if desired. You just need to print more pawn pieces on different colored cardstock paper. It can also be found in the Artist Activity-Pak.
Markers or Pawn Pieces
The 70-page file consists of master printables, step-by-step instructions, and finished product photos for you to view while assembling the game. These printables enable you to create a gameboard, player pawns or markers, and game cards. The 60 Art game cards include beautifully detailed hand-drawn black and white or color images. This game is complete and includes everything you need to play.

As you travel around the gameboard your family will learn about 18 different artists by reading the mini biographies. The artist's name, a short 1-3 sentence biography, and birth and death dates are given for each artist. The artists taught on the gameboard and through the use of the cards are Monet, Rivera, Van Gogh, Da Vinci, Seurat, Rembrandt van Rijn, Renoir, Holbein, Michelangelo, El Greco, Manet, Goya, Remington, Copley, Beatrix Potter, Doré, Rubens, and Raphael.

Furthermore, you will learn about the different Art styles and eras during the Baroque, Renaissance, Impressionist, Modern, and Americana Art Movements.

How We Used It
We downloaded, saved, printed, and assembled the game and markers. I printed the first 7 Art cards in color and the rest in black and white. I really wanted my daughter to see the artwork in its true form when possible. The information to learn was printed on the back side of each card. We chose NOT to laminate the game, but you may want to for extended use.

You will need colored pencils, scissors, glue stick, colored and white cardstock paper, copy paper, clear packing tape, ink, printer, computer, and two file folders to create this game. It is imperative that you read the instructions before printing to avoid printing mistakes.   

My daughter colored the gameboard while I cut out the Art cards and assembled the pawns. It was a simple and quick process. We had fun listening to music or watching our favorite television shows as we completed this step.

I wanted my daughter to be successful so I assigned a sub-set of 5-15 Art cards per day for her to study before we attempted to play the game. She studied 2-5 times per week. The first time we played the game, we used half of the deck. I hung several Art Cards around the house for her to study too. She flipped them over to read the information on the back. At first, I only required her to memorize the artist and masterpiece title. However, over time she quickly learned the material so I asked her to study and memorize the dates and mediums for each Art card to make the game more challenging.

We played the game after she studied the cards for several days. Alyssa chose her marker and placed it on any work of Art on the gameboard. We started at the same location. The Art Gallery cards were stacked in a pile face up. The player would view the artwork at the top of the pile and answer one or more questions correctly in order to move ahead. I wanted my daughter to familiarize herself with the artists and the masterpiece title. Therefore, she had to answer the first two questions correctly before she could move ahead one space in a clockwise direction. An incorrect response simply meant that she could not move forward and it was my turn to view the next card. We took turns playing.

Questions Asked:
  1. Who created the work?
  2. What is the name of the work?
  3. What year was it done?
  4. What medium was it done in? 
We played the game at least 7 times during the review period and each time she retained the information better. The objective of the game is to be the first player to make it around the gallery in order to win the game. She really enjoyed playing this game. Personally, I think she liked the fact that she beat me every single time we played even though I tried my hardest. She told me she wants to continue playing the game even after the review is posted.

Composers Through History Timeline
The 9-page Composers Through History Timeline file consists of master templates, detailed directions, and finished project photos to help you assemble the timeline properly. The timeline is originally found in the Composers Activity-Pak. The file contains 2 pages consisting of 42 important black and white figures and three-pages of predated lines. Most of the composers are from the Romantic period. There are 22 figures in that era alone. Almost all of the figures were men. The blank timelines indicate the appropriate place for each well-known figure to be glued making it easier for children to assemble. The designer, Amy Pak, selected the composer names that were seen frequently in History programs.

This timeline is suitable for children in 3rd-12th grade. It covers seven musical eras beginning with Middle Ages (500 A.D.) and ending with the Modern 20th Century era. The musical era bars at the bottom of the printable can be color-coded. Each color represented a different era.
  • Middle Ages (500-1400)
  • Renaissance (1400-1600)
  • Baroque (1600-1750)
  • Classical (1750-1820)
  • Romantic (1820-1900)
  • Impressionist (1890-1940)
  • Modern 20th Century (1900-Present)  
You'll need white cardstock, white copy paper, colored pencils, clear packing tape, and a glue stick to create this timeline. You might also want to borrow composer books and Cd's from the library and create a You Tube playlist of music for each composer ahead of time. 

The timeline was stored in a manila envelope with our tub of Music resources. It can easily fold-up accordion style. You can also hole-punch one side to place in a binder if desired.

How We Used It
First, I cut out the timeline sections and taped them together on the back side to form a chronological overview representing the seven eras of music. Alyssa colored the timeline era bars at the bottom of the page for me. We researched 2-7 composers each day during the review period. My daughter colored the images while I read a short biography I found online or in books we already owned at home. We also searched for composer music samples on You Tube or Google. Then, she pasted the colored figure in the appropriate place on the timeline. I might have her research her favorite composer and complete a notebooking sheet about him.
Pasting Using Placement Guides

She also used the timeline to accompany our History studies so that she could see when certain events during the American Revolution took place in relation to the composers who lived at the same time.  

In my opinion, this is not a complete product. In order to get the most out of it, you'll need other resources to make the process more meaningful instead of just a cut-n-paste activity. You may want to read about the composers or hear samples of their music before gluing the figures on the timeline.   

Both of the products were wonderful additions to our homeschool day and outstanding ways to incorporate more Music and Art into our schedule. The clearly-stated assembly directions were easy-to-follow.

My daughter's favorite product was the Art Gallery File Folder Game. It was easier to use and made learning Art fun. She was completely engaged in the process and mastered the information shared. Repetition was key to mastering the information and building her knowledge base. Alyssa said that she liked learning about all of the different artists and their works of Art. She continues to challenge herself to learn all the information.

The Composers Through History Timeline is an excellent resource or visual reference to use at a later time. As we study historical events, I'll ask Alyssa to show me when they took place in relation to the musical eras. Her favorite musical eras were the Classical, Baroque, and Romantic time periods. The music she liked most was more upbeat or emotional. She enjoyed listening to Beethoven and Mozart the most.

I highly recommend the Á La Carte products from Home School in the Woods! These engaging products will appeal to individuals implementing a Unit Study, Delightful Learning, Eclectic, Activity-Based, or Thematic approach to learning. Classical and Charlotte Mason homeschoolers may also appreciate these activities. This is not the Traditional Textbook form of learning. 

What We Loved
  • Variety of Artists and Movements Covered in the Art Gallery Game
  • Art Gallery Teaches Art Mediums and Dates Not Just the Artists and Artwork Name  
  • Clear Printing and Assembly Directions are Provided
  • File Printables Easily Accessible
  • Hands-On Learning, Multi-sensory Approach
  • Makes Learning Fun and Interactive
  • Easy to Store
  • Contains Almost Everything We Need to Complete Projects 
  • Professional High Quality Images
  • Digital Downloads Means Immediate Use
  • Number of Composers Covered
Possible Vendor Suggestions
The composer timeline does NOT include biographies or MP3 music clips therefore you must research it independently online or in books if this is the route you take. This can be very time-consuming unless you already have resources in your home. I wish that the company included at least one musical composition and a mini biography with several interesting facts for each composer to make the product even more useful.

Wishful Thinking
We wish we could see more historical time period recipe booklets, hands-on crafts, mapping resources, and possibly even mini thematic coloring books added to the Á La Carte product page.
Art Gallery File Folder Game $6.95
Home School in the Woods  Á La Carte products
Composers Through History Timeline $2.95
Home School in the Woods  Á La Carte products

Social Media
Twitter Tag: @HSintheWoods
You Tube

Other Á La Carte Products of Interest
After viewing the Á La Carte collection, my daughter and I made a list of individual products we'd like to purchase and try in the future.
Home School in the Woods  Á La Carte products

Visit the Homeschool Review Crew blog to read other reviews about many different Á La Carte products. Crew members reviewed a wide variety of resources.  
À La Carte Projects - Individual projects designed to enhance your studies! {Home School in the Woods Reviews}
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