I’m going to just take a moment to state that I dislike social studies, I always have. Back when I was being homeschooled it was my least favorite subject. In high school I barely passed. I found it uninteresting and just rote facts to memorize. The maps all kind of blended together and the dates became a blur of numbers. Now that I am homeschooling my own children, I want to approach social studies differently. I was looking for a hands on history curriculum that could make history come to life for my kids.
I wanted my visual learner to visualize the dates and events, my kinesthetic learner to re-create and craft her way through history, and my auditory learner to hear it written in a way that was interesting and full of adventure and excitement. Enter Home School in the Woods. In this review (read my full disclosure here) we will be talking about our new Social Studies curriculum and how it works. If you have been considering Home School in the Woods (you may know it as History Through the Ages) you will want to pin this post for later!
What is Home School in the Woods?
Home School in the Woods is a history curriculum for all ages. There are some physical products such as the “Record of Time” Timeline Notebook and Placement Guide and the rest of their curriculum is sold as CD’s or digital download (no waiting for shipping, woot woot!). The reason that they do this is two-fold. First of all, one of the CD’s we are working on right now has page after page after page of activities to print and try. Rather than printing them all off and sending you binders full of bulky paper that you probably won’t use all of… they put all the control in your hands. This means that you can go through the disc and choose through the activities that most interest you or your child. You don’t have to do them all (1 disc could take a year if you did choose to do everything listed) and you can customize the projects based on your family.
The second reason is just the practical cost of printing and shipping. While considering the cost and benefit, Home School in the Woods decided they would rather keep the cost affordable for families so that more people would be able to use the resources. This means that you could be getting an in-depth Social Studies curriculum for only $33.95 that you can customize rather than spending hundreds of dollars on a curriculum you may not even use all of. This means a little more time for us mama’s, choosing through the activities, printing everything off, assembling our binders. However, once it is done, you are ready to go for the year and you spent a fraction of the cost and have a hands on history program your kids are sure to love!
There are 2 map discs, World Maps and United States Maps. Each disc (or download) has both old world maps on it as well as modern ones. They also include bonus notebooking pages or fact sheets, the ability to add your own titles, print with labels or without, etc. No more searching the internet for maps, you now have them at the touch of a button and can print off as many as you need for your family!
They have lap pak discs, as well as two “series” of history including a huge series on American History Studies as well as World History Studies. Not to mention various activity paks. As you can see in the image below, there is a TON of options and each one of these discs is jam packed with fun activities, action packed adventure, and in-depth exploration into the life and times of these people.
What are we using this year?
Considering we are Canadian, we are focusing on the world history, though we will probably do the American studies as well as the kids get a bit older. For now, the kids wanted to start with Project Passport: the Middle Ages. We are pairing it with the Knights lap pak available here. When I first opened the disc I was a bit overwhelmed, not going to lie. I actually e-mailed them a “HELP” e-mail. I printed off page after page after page until I had gone through a bunch of paper and then I realized I was only about 1/7 of the way through the page of items to print. I stopped what I was doing and e-mailed them to find out “do I have to do this all?????” Thankfully, they reassured me that we were supposed to pick and choose the projects and activities and lessons that we were interested in, not be a slave to the “list”. After breathing a big sigh of relief and assembling what we had so far, I was ready to make a game plan for our social studies for the year.
We have decided to do History alternating with our Science so between 2-3 days a week. A typical lesson for us begins with some reading (which is SO well written, engaging, and interesting… not another boring textbook!). We do a stop a week, which begins with a few pages that I read to them or some audio (you can see a sample of the audio here). Then we cut and color our timeline figures and add them to our “Scrapbook of Sights” timeline. We then usually receive a postcard from one of the historical figures that goes into our homemade postcard rack (see a pic of my son making his postcard rack below). We then have various activities such as creative writing and making our own newspaper, map work, etc. Because it is a lot we will often do the reading and timeline figures one day and then the activities another day.
We are using this with all of our kids, it works amazing for large families and teaching multiple grades at once. We read the lesson all together but I do not make my younger kids participate in many of the activities such as writing in the newspaper, or labeling maps. Instead I will have them color the map while their older siblings are labeling and marking them to give them more of a challenge. You can easily adapt the activities based on your child’s abilities which is perfect for us! The first day I pulled out our new hands on history curriculum, the kids kept asking “THIS is social studies?!?!?!” It felt an awful lot like art class with all the cutting and gluing and coloring we were doing! And from that moment on, I knew we had found a winner!
Where to find more information?
Home School in the Woods is a family owned and operated company, which I love. It was written by a homeschool family who lives (you guessed it) in the woods! And they were wanting to share their vision of acting out and living and experiencing history with other homeschoolers. If you are like me and dreading teaching your kids about history, this is an affordable solution to bring history to life again! You will be having just as much fun as your kids as you explore our past together! You can find them: