I am NOT a history buff by any stretch of the imagination so I was excited for the opportunity to review a couple of items from Home School in the Woods‘ À La Carte Projects. This family-run publisher offers games, lapbooks, timelines, and hands-on history activities to enrich your homeschool. These are printables on history topics ranging from ancient times to more recent history.
The À La Carte Projects menu has so many options so it was hard to pick, but I chose two items to begin our study of how America came to be: the Timeline of the American Revolution and the Liberty at Last! File Folder Game. Our homeschool is named Faith and Freedom Academy so these were right up our alley! It’s important to us that our children understand what our founding fathers intended for this country and all they went through to set everything in motion.
This article originally appeared on my old blog, Townsley Times. If you came here looking for this particular article but thought you were going to a different site, never fear, you’re actually in the right place. 🙂
Here are five things we loved about Home School in the Woods!
The first thing I noticed was the price. My little cheap frugal heart was so happy when I saw how inexpensive these are. It was just under $9 for the two items we received. There is a lot of bang for your buck here, which I know homeschoolers appreciate! My printer has been on the fritz so the quality didn’t look so nice due to that, but even if I was to send them to an office supply shop for printing, it is still an amazing value for how much detailed and accurate information these products cover.
We try to stay away from secular sources for science and history because so much has been rewritten to suit the agenda du jour. I was happy to learn that Home School in the Woods believes in a young earth and has gone to great lengths to ensure their products are dated accurately. The products are consistent with one another in that respect also, because they have been so meticulous in getting the dates right. The game and timeline were perfect together.
Encourages Creativity and Following Directions
The items I selected took some time to put together. Each product was a single pdf to download and then cut, glue, and color. I typically stay away from homeschool activities that require so much of my time and energy to get set up, but this is “one and done.” Once they are assembled, that’s it, and it’s a learning experience to put everything together also.
They are not tricky to get set up, as long as you read the directions clearly. At the beginning of the pdf file were very detailed instructions that addressed some troubleshooting issues also. I was very glad that was included when the timeline was not printing! But I just went back to that section of the document and it turned out to be an easy fix (to print as an image – a matter of simply selecting a box in the advanced options menu).
My girls are six and four and I very specifically told them how to help me with assembling everything. They did a great job with it, and they loved that they could color the cutouts on our timeline. There is a sample image of the product in the pdf and the file folder game has an American flag that was colored nicely, but I thought it seemed a little hard for their age group to be discerning on what to color or not, so we skipped it. It could also have been just harder to see since my printer didn’t do a great job.
Detailed and Comprehensive
Our timeline is nine pages long! There are also four pages of people, battles, treaties and acts, and other events to cut out, color, and glue to the timeline. The hands-on aspect helps children connect the dots, and the visual overview cements things in their minds. All the memorization that is required to learn history is made easier in this way.
The file folder game is also extremely detailed. Each card you can pull has dates and a variety of relevant facts. While I don’t expect the children (of any age, really) to learn every tidbit the first time they play, they will pick up something new each time to file away in their memory banks.
The game takes maybe 20 minutes to play and the kids stay engaged the whole time. That’s a big deal for us! While the cards can lead you on a very meandering trip through history, there is a fallback that ends the game when a certain card (the Treaty of Paris) is drawn, so it’s not one of those games that can literally go on forever. I liked that, and the kids need that. They just don’t have the attention span for more yet. So I was happy that this was worked into the game.
Their site covers many eras and ages but they also have a variety of items for EACH era and age. They can be mixed and matched for your needs. I’m specifically considering going back to purchase the 3D Jamestown Replica and the A Young Country Newspaper Collection to further enhance our unit on the American Revolution. There are just so many neat things available! I was happy with the quality of these – the graphics, the instructions, the accuracy, and the thoroughness – so I’d love to try a few more of their items.
The way we used these products, since this is our first foray into American history, was to watch videos about the time period and then discuss the people and events as we put together the timeline and played the game. It would have been great to have the entire Time Travelers unit study so I wouldn’t have had to rely on Google so much! You might want to look into purchasing everything together as a set if you are doing a whole unit on the American Revolution or any other historical time period (all four a la carte items mentioned are included in the Time Travelers product).
Overall, I would highly recommend Home School in the Woods for any and every history unit you might do. The À La Carte Projects add a little something extra and unique to a unit study, or you could make them a unit of their own. They have an extensive Pinterest profile with many ideas and tips for using their products and studying history in general.
Other Homeschool Review Crew members have been checking out a bunch of the other Home School in the Woods products to bring you additional reviews! Please head on over to the linkup on the Crew blog to read dozens of other reviews from homeschool moms.
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