American History Study {Homeschool Review Crew}

American History Study

Homeschool Review Crew

As we’re working through our school year I decided that we needed to add in more history.  Who can go wrong with history?  It’s a favorite subject of ours and we really haven’t covered a lot of American History lately.  Enter Memoria Press to the rescue.   We received two products from them to review that pertain to American history; 200 Questions About American History Set and The Story of the Thirteen Colonies and the Great Republic Set.

 

Memoria Press
 

I was so excited when these came in the mail.  My kids gave me a look though.  I think they saw more work for them and less excitement.  That didn’t last long.  They soon were over at the box with me asking questions and wanting to know if they could take parts and read them.

About the Curriculum

Since we received two sets let’s talk briefly about each.  Both sets are meant for grades 5-8.  I think this is spot on and have been using them with my two who are doing 5/6 grade work.  Now the cards that come with the 200 Questions about American History Set are super fun and all my kids love looking at those.  They’re all learning so much just from reading and chatting about the cards.

Now about 200 Questions about American History Set.  It is a great set compiled of the teacher guide, student book, and the flashcards.  We have loved working with this set.  Created to work with The Story of the Thirteen Colonies and the Great Republic this ties in very well.  It can also be used with The Story of the World Volume IV.  We use The Story of the World as well but are only in book 1 so can’t tell you how well they work together.  I can say that there were some questions in here that I didn’t know so this is a very thorough course!

 

200 Questions About American History Set Grades 5-8
 

The Story of the Thirteen Colonies and The Great Republic is also a set.  It comes with a text, teachers guide, and student guide.  This is the newly revised second edition. The text you receive is a combined version of the books by H. A. Grueber.  Memoria Press edited and combined them for this current text.  This covers the start of America with the Native Americans up through 1898 and the Spanish American War.

Both sets work together and provide great coverage of American History for your student.  The student books are meant to be used by one student so additional student books for additional students.  They’re easy to purchase through Memoria Press and shipping is fast. 

 

The Story of the Thirteen Colonies & the Great Republic Set

 

Our Thoughts

My kids loved this.  We’ve used other Memoria Press products before and have loved them as well but this is our first time trying out their history.  

As a way to add the younger kids into our school we would read aloud our history portions for the day.  The text by Grueber is not dry and dull so they all loved to listen and learn.  Without doing the actual questions my other kids are learning a lot about American History too.  Sometimes I would do a few of the questions that weren’t too difficult with the younger ones too outloud. 

We loved learning more about American history and loved all the mapwork.  No map comes with this, but normally homeschoolers have a plethora right?  We used one that I had on hand so we could map American expansion.

I have found as a parent that we’ve thoroughly covered some time periods and not as thoroughly others.  My husband and I met reenacting the Civil War.  I’ve been doing this since I was 7, so obviously my children have grown up doing it as well and know a lot about that time period.  They don’t know as much about the Colonial time period so I’m glad to have these two resources that thoroughly cover this period!

Learn More

Learn more about the two American History sets we received as well as the other Memoria Press products that were up for review by going to the Main Crew Review blog and checking out all the reviews that are linked up.  You can also find them on facebook, instagram, twitter, and pinterest

 

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Bessie’s Pillow {Homeschool Review Crew}

Bessie’s Pillow

Homeschool Review Crew

We love to read here and historical fiction is a favorite.  We’ve loved reading Bessie’s Pillow by Linda Bress Silbert.  Strong Learning, Inc. sent out a physical copy of this book for us to review.  Also provided are amazing study guide materials available online for us to use.  This book is based on a true story so it could also be classified as a biography as well.  

 

Bessie's Pillow

 

I would recommend this book to be an independent read for middle school and high school students.  The materials found on the Bessie’s America page are more geared towards this age range as well.  However, they can be tweaked to work with elementary students as well. 

About the Book

The book , Bessie’s Pillow, is set in the early 1900’s.  Bessie travels by herself from her home country of Lithuania to the United States.  She’s an immigrant.  She’s also a Jew.  Her reason for immigration is to escape the persecution the Jews are already under in her home country.  

As a country formed of all immigrants, we as a people tend to love to read about immigration stories.  We trace our history and heritage to find out where we came from and who our “people” are.  There are websites devoted to ancestry and helping people reconnect with family they may have lost along the way.  This book is a chronicle of one families history.

Linda Bress Silbert is the granddaughter of Bessie.  She and her husband are the owners of Strong Learning, Inc. and the voice behind this book.  Fun fact behind the making of the book is that the narration is taken from interviews that were recorded of Bessie talking with her daughter, Linda’s mom.  I would love to have something like that of me talking with my grandmother.  Such a treasure!

Our Thoughts

I used this book mostly as a read aloud with my children.  Well, there was actually a progression of reading this book.  I read it to myself, just free reading.  It’s captivating to me, but then again I really love history and this era for the Jews is chock full of information.  Next, my oldest daughter age 12 read it on her own.  Lastly, I read it aloud to all of the kids ages 3-12.  We then worked on some of the pages within the study guide.  There is a wealth of additional information within the study guide pages on the internet.

Primarily I would recommend that kids under age 7-8 not do any formal material with this book.  Some of the concepts are harder for them to reverbalize in my opinion.  That being said they did listen and participate in our study, but I don’t believe they took away as much from it as the older children.  I will definitely be rereading and redoing the study with them when they’re a bit older. 

My kids loved the book.   I loved the book.  It really brought a new perspective to us of someone who went through a period of history that we can only read about.  We celebrate Jewish holidays in our home and often study the history of Jews plus major time periods and the history of the holidays.  This brought a much more personal feel to our Jewish studies.  This book is getting a permanent place on our shelf.

Learn More

Definitely check out the page titled Bessie’s America which allows you to delve deeper into the time period in this book.  It’s an amazing period in our history as a country.  Plus, you’ve got the beginnings of a vast movement throughout Europe that will forever change history as well.  This book and the material provided to us through this page can fully be made into a unit study.  I feel that given a bit of time to plan I could easily make an entire semesters worth of information and a unit study focusing on the book and it’s history.

 

Strong Learning, Inc.
 

Learn what other reviewers thought of Bessie’s Pillow over on the Main Crew Review blog where all the reviews are linked up.  You’re sure to find a schooling approach and view that will give you the information you would like to know.  Bessie’s Pillow and Strong Learning, Inc. can also be found on facebook and twitter

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Renaissance Study {Homeschool Review Crew}

Renaissance Study

Homeschool Review Crew

 

HISTORY Through the Ages Project Passport World History Study
 

We love history and so we jumped at the chance to review History Through The Ages Project Passport World History Study Renaissance and Reformation through Home School in the Woods.  We’ve loved all the studies we’ve used from Home School in the Woods and were eager to start a new one!

As a member of the Homeschool Review Crew we were given a choice of several different history times to review.  While Ancient Egypt was appealing, I really wanted to do more with the Renaissance period so we chose Renaissance and Reformation.  It’s a great period of history that requires a lot of studying before you can fully grasp it all.  Other time periods that we’d love to explore at another time are Middle Ages and Ancient Greece.

 

Renaissance Study

 

This series of History studies is growing!  They just released Ancient Greece and are working on releasing Ancient Rome in 2018.  I love ancient history so much and can’t wait to be able to delve into these titles.  But first, the Renaissance study we have!

One of the reasons that we love the project passport series is that it makes history come alive!  It’s like you’re actually taking a vacation through time and across continents.  We go to several different places.  With this history study we have 25 stops that we make.  This means we get 25 different experiences from this time period in history that we can visit and learn from.  

Our Experience

Some of the study is up to you of course.  It isn’t going to come alive for your children if you don’t put some effort into making sure you are following the instructions to make it fun.  This is another part I love.  It’s all set up.  I don’t have to do all the leg work to figure out how to make this fun and what stops to make or what we should do at each stop.  

These studies are meant to last 8-12 weeks.  Because we love history so I often add other books to our repertoire and make our study last longer.  So for us, I’d say it does normally take the 12 weeks to finish it.  With that in mind we can do about four studies a year since we homeschool year round.  I really want to add some others in this year!  We’re loving Renaissance and Reformation.  Next I think we’ll swing into the Middle Ages.  After that Ancient Greece then Ancient Egypt and hopefully Ancient Rome will be available when we’re ready for it!  I’ve got it all planned out!

 

HISTORY Through the Ages Project Passport World History Study
 

Because this is a well thought out and planned history curriculum you can easily use this for your main history.  If you like to flesh it out a bit with extra reading it can be your reading as well.  Add in a few science experiments or some study on science of the time period(especially during this study!!) and you’ve got another subject covered.  I love to get the most subjects from our studies.  This is an easy one to add to and make it cover more than just history. Plus, it’s one the kids love to do!

My kids have loved using this Renaissance Study and are eager to get to it first thing.  They’ve always loved history but actually “going” back in time and making it like we’re visiting so many fun places has really helped to make it come alive.  I only wish we were closer to some historical type villages from this time period.  That would be amazing!

About the Curriculum

A little about the curriculum.  I’ve already mentioned it’s an 8-12 week course.  You can purchase it as a CD or as a download.  We received the download to work with for this review.  Personally, I am more of a physical girl and print mine out.  I print the whole thing out once and then only print off the pages we need as we need them for the students.  Having it all in a 3 ring binder so I can read ahead and see what we’re going to need makes using this unit study easier for me.  Reading on a computer just isn’t as much fun for me.  Paper has a special place in my heart and I love flipping pages!  Just a little quirk of mine.

This study is geared for grades 3-8.  So, with that age limit in mind, we used this with all of my children that are in school.  I have a girl who is 6 who is doing K/1 this year plus two boys in 2nd this year and I wanted to include them in this.  Modifications are super easy to make so that you can adjust this to different grade levels as needed.  My two preschool girls sat in and listened as well but most of the activities they did not do.  They loved the art related items though.

There is so much extra with this curriculum.  You’ve got audio adventures to listen to, which are great by the way.  They’re not dull or boring and hold kids attention well.  A fun newspaper is also available to help you brush up on your “current events”, fun writing projects of your own, and so so much more.  We love that the audios are set up in a fun way.  Basically you’ve got a tour guide giving you a personal guided tour of all the famous sights and things going on in the time period.  Definitely worth it for this curriculum if you’re looking for something to engage your kids and help them learn.  You might even learn a thing or two too!

Learn More

If you’d like to learn more about this particular passport study or some of the others that were offered for review to members of the Homeschool Review Crew please pop over to the main Blog Page and check out all the reviews linked up.  We’ve reviewed different ones and you’ll see those in the link titles.  You can also find Home School in the Woods on facebook, twitter, pinterest, and google +.  

 

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Pirate Unit Study {Homeschool Review Crew}

Pirate Unit Study

Homeschool Review Crew

Were they pirates?  Or were they really privateers?  That’s what our newest unit study from Homeschool Legacy is asking.  Once-a-Week Micro-Studies Pirates or Privateers: You Decide has been so much fun for us!  Keep reading and you’ll find out what my kids decided using this pirate unit study we received through the Homeschool Review Crew.

Pirate Unit Study

The unit study we chose to use is titled Pirates or Privateers: You Decide.  There were so many awesome choices it was really hard to choose just one.  This happens to be a time in history that all of our family likes though so it is the one that won out.  

Micro Unit Study

Technically this is a micro unit study.  This classification comes from the fact that it only should take four weeks to complete.  It’s geared towards grades 1-8.  This meant for me that all of my children got to be included in the unit study.  Well, almost all of my children.  My youngest is 5 months so he really didn’t care about the unit study.  My three year old loved learning about pirates and playing sword fighting with her older siblings though.  The 5 month old got lots of laughs and giggles from this!

All it takes time wise for this pirate unit study is thirty minutes three times a week.  That doesn’t seem like much at all really.  And it’s not.  This pirate unit study is really simple and fun.  I’ve used unit studies before(most from this same company!) and have to say that this micro unit study is even simpler than the normal ones.  It’s easy to use and doesn’t take a ton of prep work.  I like that idea!

My kids loved this unit study and really begged to do it on the days we weren’t using it(three days a week, thirty minutes per day) so I did some digging and came up with some books to use on those off days.  I created a book basket full of books on this time period both at sea and on land.  So we learned about the monarchs of countries, what wars were going on, what they were wearing and eating, etc.  Such fun!  My kids loved having new books in their book basket and I loved that they were spending extra time reading and learning.

Once-a-Week Studies {Homeschool Legacy}

A note from a mom to a mom.  

This unit study gives you an optional read aloud suggestion of Treasure Island.  We read this.  It took over one of our read aloud spots for the day so we were reading it daily instead of just on the three unit study days.  We finished it rather quickly so we then added The Swiss Family Robinson to our read aloud time for the remainder of the unit study.  There are also some movie night suggestions.  One of our favorites to watch is Muppet Treasure Island so we made to sure to watch that on one of our normal movie nights during the course of the study.

A couple other Micro Studies that piqued our interest and are on our must try to purchase list are the Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims micro study and Victoria and Her World Mico Study.  They’re both also geared to grades 1-8 and look like loads of fun!  Another unit study that is on my list is Christmas Comes to America.  Both Thanksgiving and Christmas are coming up so these would be wonderful to study RIGHT NOW!!

Want to learn more about this unit study or some of the other unit studies offered through Homeschool Legacy?  You can find all of the blog reviews linked up on the Main Homeschool Review Crew page.  Also find Homeschool Legacy on facebook.  

 

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History Through Books {Homeschool Review Crew}

History Through Books

Homeschool Review Crew

History Through Books {Homeschool Review Crew}

 

Do you love history?  We do!  I also like using a more Charlotte Mason approach in our homeschool.  Learning history through books is the perfect way to go!  We’re beyond excited to tell you about a new series of books that we’ve recently been reviewing through the Homeschool Review Crew.  It’s the If You Were Me and Lived In . . . . series brought to you by Carole P. Roman and Awaywegomedia.com.  We received four titles for our review!

The four titles we received are If You Were Me and Lived In . . . Elizabethan England(An Introduction to Civilizations Throughout Time)(Volume 3), If You Were Me and Lived in . . . the Middle Ages(An Introduction to Civilizations Throughout Time)(Volume 6), If You Were Me and Lived in . . . Colonial America(An Introduction to Civilizations Throughout Time)(Volume 4), and If You Were Me and Lived in . . . Renaissance Italy(An Introduction to Civilizations Throughout Time)(Volume 2).  

These learning history through books titles do not have to be done in order of volumes.  Which is wonderful!  It allows for kids to pick what time period most interests them and dig in.  No slow going through titles that hold no appeal for them just to get to the fun stuff.

I personally love the Elizabethan England period and couldn’t wait to dig into that book with my children.  Learning history through books is so much fun.  Well, it is to me!  And thankfully my children have inherited my love of reading and history as well. The books are engaging and full of information.  When you travel to Elizabethan England you become the child of a mid-class tradesman.  But, you also learn about the class of people above and below you.  You learn about the entire time period without really realizing you’re learning.  This is why learning history through books is so much fun!   This book is 50 pages long including the important people section and glossary. 

 

If You Were Me and Lived in ... {by Carole P. Roman and Awaywegomedia.com}
 

After going through the Elizabethan England book we jaunted back into time through the Middle Ages.  It’s a bit longer than the first at 97 pages long.  We could have done these in order probably but I was in a hurry for the Elizabethan England. It’s my favorite time period!  Medieval would be a close second though.  In the middle ages we got to become wealthy(where we were middle class in Elizabethan).  This was a new and fun experience and even my three year old daughter was interested in the book and what we were reading.  Blood letting brought about a very long discussion as well. 

 

If You Were Me and Lived in ... {by Carole P. Roman and Awaywegomedia.com}
 

We decided to stay with this theme and went to Renaissance Italy next.  It’s again a bit thinner at 53 pages long.  I can’t say that I have ever put a lot of study into the Renaissance though I do like the time period.  It’s not a favorite that’s garnered a lot of attention.  I love that in all of the books they show the city or area that you’re studying in a then and a now picture for comparison.  This is great and leads to a lot of good observations and study.  We also love finding all the names that might have been.  Some bring a lot of laughs from my children.  Studying the Renaissance also gave us more information about why people didn’t drink water.

 

If You Were Me and Lived in ... {by Carole P. Roman and Awaywegomedia.com}
 

Our last stop brought us to Colonial America.  This would be an amazing book to add to a Thanksgiving unit study.  It is 61 pages long.  There are other books in this series about different periods in American history but this is the one we were sent.  It’s 61 pages long.  You’re in for a fun adventure in this book as you start out in England before going to the Netherlands and finally America.  

This book series brings you history through books in a way that children of all ages will love and enjoy.  It’s not the dry history that makes you memorize dates and names though.  The history you’re learning is much more fun!  Learn the clothes that were worn, the way they wore their hair, the food they ate, etc.  History through books helps bring about the discovery of history through the eyes of a child their own age living in a different time.  It’s fun yet also learning which is the best combination!

If You Were Me and Lived in ... {by Carole P. Roman and Awaywegomedia.com}
Learn more about Awaywegomedia.com and the If You Were Me and Lived in . . .  series by visiting all the reviews linked up on the Main Crew Blog Page.  There were several different titles available for review so you’re sure to find a time period that interests you!  You can also find them on facebook, twitter, goodreads, and pinterest.

 

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Ancient Egypt {Homeschool Review Crew}

Ancient Egypt

Homeschool Review Crew

Heirloom Audio Productions ~Cat of Bubastes
Have you ever studied Ancient Egypt in your homeschool?  We actually are there in one of our history courses this year so I was very excited to see that The Cat of Bubastes was the newest release and Crew Review from Heirloom Audio Productions!  I of course applied gushing about how we’d love this one.  And I was so excited when we got it!!

We had already read the book as part of our study of ancient Egypt so receiving the audio drama of The Cat of Bubastes was a treat for us!  I have always found ancient Egypt fun and exciting.  Believe it or not, I had never read The Cat of Bubastes though.  It wasn’t until I became a mother and a homeschool mom that I found out about the works of G A Henty.  I also came into contact with Heirloom Audio Productions as a homeschool mom and that makes me very happy!  We’ve been blessed to review many of their works as members of the Homeschool Review Crew.

 

Ancient Egypt {Homeschool Review Crew}

 

Each time we receive an audio drama from Heirloom Audio Productions we also receive access to a ton of other great resources through their Study Guide.  This time we received:

  • access to a downloadable 47 page study guide
  • mp3 version of the soundtrack
  • colorful illustrated ebook of the G A Henty classic
  • printable copy of the inspirational verse featured
  • cast poster in printable form
  • access to the behind the scenes documentary(am I the only one who loves these??)
  • Live the Adventure Letter E-newsletter access

More of What We Love

The CD itself is a 2 disc set.  With all the extras we received it’s very easy to plan and make this a full unit study to help homeschoolers learn about ancient Egypt and a spiritual lesson too.  This audio drama focuses on perseverance, responsibility, and God’s providence.  

The cast for The Cat of Bubastes features Brian Blessed, Anthony Daniels, Sylvester McCoy, and John Rhys-Davies.  Am I the only one that hears the voice of John Rhys-Davies and immediately can see his face as being a bad guy in some movie?  Maybe?  He’s really good at that role and his voice is wonderful.  I love listening to him.

 

Heirloom Audio Productions ~Cat of Bubastes
 

One of the things that I love about the study guides that Heirloom Audio Production gives us access to with their audio dramas is that it includes historical and biblical content.  They give me a starting point for helping my children dig deeper into the lessons that they can learn from the story. Let’s face it, I don’t have the time to find all that information on my own.  And I certainly don’t have the time to make a study guide of my own with ten kids and a farm/house to run!  I’m forever grateful to the people who do have the time and allow us to use their knowledge and expertise.

Interested in learning more about The Cat of Bubastes and Ancient Egypt?  Check out their facebook, twitter, google +, and instagram!  Also head on over to the Main Homeschool Review Crew blog page and find all the reviews linked up to read and enjoy!

 

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Beric the Briton {TOS Crew Review}

Beric the Briton

Heirloom Audio Productions

Reading books is so important to our family, but listening to good literature is as well.  That’s why we love Heirloom Audio Productions.  They produce wonderful pieces to listen to that captivate our whole family.  Recently as part of the TOS Crew we received a copy of Beric the Briton on CD to listen to.  

Beric the Briton takes you back in history to a time long ago.  Journey back to pagan England where the Romans are attacking.  It’s a wonderful tale that is going to captivate you.  Activate your imagination while listening to this wonderful tale of history and Bible all weaved together into a lesson on character as well. 

 

Beric the Briton {TOS Crew Review}

 

At least, that’s what it does to our family when we listen to Beric the Briton.  Like all the other G. A. Henty adventures, this audio drama focuses on one person in a difficult time making difficult decisions and actions.  From that main character we can then learn a character trait or another great lesson.  It’s not just all fluff and fun.  The G. A. Henty books are definitely not twaddle and neither are their audio dramas.

The CD we received is a physical 2 CD set.  Our set also came with access to a digital downloadable study guide.  While we have used the study guides for all the other audio dramas we’ve received, we did not get to use this one.  I do plan on incorporating it into our school year as we study this period in history though.  A little that you can expect with the study guide are wonderful discussion questions and comprehension questions.  It also has helpful hints and fun activities to use to increase your learning as well as Bible studies.  Using the study guide you can easily use the Beric the Briton CD as a unit study.  We also received an MP3 soundtrack with our 2 CD set and a printable poster with a quote from Julius in the audio drama “I will gladly die for him who died for me”.

Other fun things that we received to go with this review are a downloadable behind-the-scenes video, an e-book of the G. A. Henty novel(highly recommend that the novel be read with the audio drama—- we read the book first as any good reader would do), mp3 version of the audio drama production, and a cast poster.  The cast of this audio drama included Brian Blessed, Brian Cox, Tom Baker, Honeysuckle Weeks, Cathy Sara, and John Rhys-Davies.

 

Beric The Briton Heirloom Audio Productions Review
 

I have to share that my children saw the CD arrive in the mail.  When I opened it they immediately though the lion on the cover was Aslan from The Chronicles of Narnia.  That led to a wonderful discussion of how a lion has been used in crests and as a symbol throughout all of history and what the lion stands for.  Great discussion and we hadn’t even taken the plastic wrap off the CD yet!

The suggested age range for this audio drama is ages 6 and up.  My three-year old and my five-year old listened to this with the rest of the family though they did not understand all that was happening and definitely were not as engaged as the rest of the family.

In this audio drama you’re going to follow the life of Beric.  Beric is from ancient Britannia but is captured by the Romans.  He’s trained as a gladiator and some great names are mentioned around him like Nero and Christus(Jesus Christ).  This is a history lesson, a Bible lesson, and so much more.  Our hero is young and must make tough choices and decisions that will not only affect him but his country as well.  

G. A. Henty is the author of the book that the audio drama based off of.  We here in our home love G. A. Henty books and I’m loving having some of them available as audio dramas through Heirloom Audio Productions now.  We love to listen to them on long car rides or on those stormy rainy days that I don’t want full of movies.  You see, our house is small.  My children love to go outside and play so the size of our home isn’t much of an issue until it’s nasty out and they can’t go out and play.  For those days we have games to play and books to read, or we have The Extraordinary Adventures of G. A. Henty to listen to!

 

Beric The Briton Heirloom Audio Productions Review
 

If you’re interested in how others used this CD and study guide and what they thought of Beric the Briton please head on over to the Main TOS Crew blog page where all the reviews are linked up.  You can find Heirloom Audio Productions on facebook, twitter, google +, and instagram.   Find The Extraordinary Adventures of G. A. Henty on facebook.  Find Beric the Briton on facebook.  

 

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Homeschool History Lesson

Homeschool History Lesson

Blogging Through the ABC’s- Letter H

In our homeschool we love history.  It’s one of the things that drew my husband and I together as we met at a Civil War Reenactment.  So it’s only natural that we’d want to do our homeschool history lesson together.

Because my husband is self-employed his schedule can be different from most people’s.  He doesn’t have a 9-5 job and emergencies do happen.  He is home for supper though so our homeschool history lesson happens after supper!

 

the story of the world

 

Right now we are using a wonderful history curriculum called Story of the World.  We’re in volume 1 which covers Ancient Times right now but I can already tell that we’ll be continuing this curriculum.  We restart our homeschool year on January 1st so that’s when we started our new history.

I’ve talked to people about our homeschool a lot.  You’ll find when you’re around people who homeschool you do talk about homeschooling and what curriculum you use and how you implement it just because it’s something you’re all curious about.  When they heard how we did our homeschool history lesson I got a lot of mixed reactions.  People couldn’t believe that our kids could learn that late in the evening.  They wondered if the kids were retaining their knowledge.  They were also curious how we could work that in our schedule at that time.

It’s not always easy.  Yes they do retain it.  And we all love it!  Prior to making our homeschool history lesson at this time we would read books out loud together.  We expected our children to sit and listen and retain that knowledge.  They had to answer questions and we really wanted to make sure they understood the books we read to them.  We read things like the Chronicles of Narnia series, Anne of Green Gables, and other classics.

Switching to a homeschool history lesson really didn’t change our dynamic all that much.  We still were gathering as a family after supper and before bed preparations.  We were still reading a “story” together.  Because this curriculum is written as a story. It’s not written like a history textbook, and it’s geared towards kids.  It’s a perfect fit for us and our range of ages.

We do the activities and workbook type work the next day during our regular homeschool hours.  I can tell you that they do retain the information and normally they have some good questions for me the next day.  It’s a fun time to discuss again what we read and make sure the information sank in.  It’s also a great way to make sure that both my husband and I are involved in their schooling.  It doesn’t all happen during the hours he’s at work so that he can be present and a presence in their school lives.  After all, that’s half the joy of homeschooling!

Because we’re reading our homeschool history lesson in the evenings it is spacing it off from the rest of the school day.  I found with some of my kids that they were zoning out before we got to history during the day.  They did great with the other subjects but were schooled out by the time history came around and they weren’t retaining any of it.  This is a great way to make sure their brains are receptive and gives them a fun activity to do during the school day instead of having to sit and listen to me read when their brains have shut off.

What history curriculum do you use?  Is your homeschool history lesson fun and engaging or do your children struggle?  Mine were struggling.  I was struggling to maintain their attention and they were not learning.  That made me stressed which in turn stressed them more.  This has really eased some of the stress of our homeschool day and made homeschooling more of a joy again for us.

 

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U S Elections Lapbook {TOS Crew Review}

We love studying history.  History is in fact still happening around us.  We are making history as we speak.  Our latest review from Home School in The Woods teaches us about the U S Elections in a fun way.  We’re learning through creating a lapbook.  A U S Elections Lapbook.   And it’s the perfect timing for this considering that we’re gearing up for our presidential election this November!

 

U S Elections Lapbook

 

The full product we reviewed is HISTORY Through the Ages Hands-On History Lap-Pak: U. S. Elections.  A Lap-Pak is another name for a lapbook.  You’ve heard me speak of lapbooks before as that is something we have done.  Lapbooks are a fun way of learning new things and including it all together for future reference or for quick showing to family members.  

We received this product as a digital download. It is also sold as a CD that you can purchase and have shipped to you.  If purchasing I think I’d choose the CD simply because we’ve had such computer problems so far this year.  My laptop indefinitely died and my husbands computer that he uses for his self employed business is ancient.  Having a CD would allow me to take it with me and print somewhere else(because yes I still like to print everything out).  I’ve not figured out the little sticks that you can download things to.  I’m not very tech savvy that way.  I’m doing good to know what I’m doing here!

The download version for the U S Elections Lapbook is $18.95 while the CD version is $19.95 so they’re fairly comparable in price.  Both contain exactly the same material as well so you’re not missing out on anything by buying one over the other.  

 

U S Elections Lapbook

 

Grades suggested by the company for the U S Elections Lapbook are grades 3-8.  Being that I’m a homeschool mom of many and differing ages I chose to tweak this a bit so that I could use it with all of my children.  I can’t fully tweak it to a toddler level and a kindergarten level is fairly difficult but they really did enjoy making this and having fun coloring pages I found for them to illustrate what we’re talking about.  They listen and can pick out bits and pieces of what we’re talking about.  That’s the main thing with this for me is making sure they do indeed learn just a small portion that they’ll retain for later on when we cover it in depth.

I really like the Home School in The Woods lapbooks over other ones for the simple fact that it’s all included in the instructions.  I don’t have to come up with a lot of ideas on my own.  I’ve tried designing my own lapbooks before and they’re a lot of work.  For me it’s easier to convert an already created lapbook like the U S Elections lapbook to fit my whole family than it is to make my own.  

 

U.S. Elections History Lap-Pak Review

A fun bit about this is you can print off the reading materials into a small book size or a size that fits a binder.  I opted for the binder of course because well I love 3 ring binders!  I did do the reading outloud to all of my children.  Then we’d discuss it a bit before we started on the project for the day. 

We always use brad folders or 3 ring binders for our lapbooks.  The U S Elections lapbook is no exception.  I do this instead of the folding folder that most use because it allows us to go back and add things in without having to take apart the whole book and it’s easier for me.  If the kids want to(which the younger ones always want to) they can still cut and glue the items onto colored paper or cardstock and then I’ll hole punch that to allow it to fit into the binder. 

This lapbook especially I’m glad we use this method because as the election continues this year we’re going back and adding in what is happening in real time history to our history lesson.  They’re learning how the electoral process and elections work in our country as well as seeing that in action at the same time.  It’s a great way to help solidify their learning especially for some of my kids who need to see something in action before they can truly grasp it.

Each state in our book has a page.  On this page we have a spot where we are going to put who wins the electoral primary vote(caucus level), a spot for the winning delegate from each state for each party, and a spot on who actually wins that state in the full election.  It’s really helping to take the steps of the election process and bring them into our actual lives.  

 

U.S. Elections History Lap-Pak Review
 

Within this U S Elections Lapbook, either from the CD or the download, you’ll be provided with 21 projects that can include coloring pages, research, creative writing, drawing(illustrating), and so much more.  This is a wealth of knowledge guys and it does come with a single family use license so you can reuse with your other children.  

Some of these 21 projects are learning key terms and definitions which is especially helpful for children who’ve not seen an election or studied this part of government before.  You’ll also study the different forms of government, the different branches of government, and suffrage to name a few.

As far as how often to use this.  You really can make that decision for yourself.  We are using ours three days a week.  So far we haven’t completed the materials, but when we do is when we’re going to be adding in more of our own with keeping up with the election and how our knowledge is playing out within our country.  Perfect timing guys!  It’s not too late for you to get your copy and join in the learning and fun.

Please make sure to head over to the TOS Blog and check out all the other reviews you’ll find there.  You can also find Home School in The Woods and their many products on Facebook, Google +, Pinterest, and Twitter.  

 

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Learning US History Through Food {TOS Crew Review}

Kids love food.  It’s a known fact.  People love food.  Food is integral to our cultures and our lives.  My kids recently have been learning US History through food with Eat Your U.S. History Homework.   This is a book in a series of Eat Your Homework books by Ann McCallum Books.  

 

Learning US History Through Food
We received a hardcover version of the Eat Your U.S. History Homework book.  It retails for $15.95.  It is also available as an ebook but this is definitely one I’d recommend as a hardcover version.  After all you’re going to be in the kitchen with it!  The illustrations are catchy and engaging and it’s written in such a way that even the smaller of our children were enthralled.   Learning US History Through Food has never been easier or more fun or yummy!

Ann McCallum is the author of the three Eat Your Homework books(history, science, and math) as well as others.  She currently is a high school teacher in Maryland.  The fun fact my children and I loved was that she started her teaching career as a teacher in a one room schoolhouse in northern Canada.  One of our favorite literary characters was a school teacher in Canada(Anne of Green Gables) which immediately made this book and author one step up in their minds!

This book is different than what I thought it might initially be.  I thought we were going to connect recipes that we know and eat now with recipes that were eaten back in a certain time period.  For instance, we eat Shepherd’s Pie and they ate that during the Revolutionary War.  Or we love to eat Sutler’s Beans which is a Civil War era recipe.  But it’s not!  Instead we’re introduced to mainly new recipes that my kids are not familiar with.  Therefore, they get a new memory of a new taste and can associate that with a time in history.  It’s really quite brilliant!!

 

Learning US History Through Food
I did have to do some tweaking to the recipes.  As a mom of a large family I often had to double or triple the recipes.  I also am a mom of a food allergy family.  This means that I had to replace the wheat or gluten in the recipe with a gluten free version and replace any milk products with milk free versions.  It’s something I’m used to doing so it was not hard for me, but I did want to mention that the recipes are not all allergen friendly.  

The time period that this book covers is prior to and including the Revolutionary War.  This is great because it means(to us and hopefully to the author) that a sequel or two are in the works.  After all, there is still quite a bit of history to cover!

The book is geared towards ages 7-10.  You really want them to be old enough to read and do small acts in the kitchen.  I being the mom that I am with 9 kids ages 10-2 had a lot more help in the kitchen.  I designated one child as our recipe reader.  We then would give each child one ingredient to measure out(if there were enough ingredients) and other jobs such as mixing or pouring, etc could be assigned to different children.  Then we picked one recipe that an older child got to prepare on their own(with adult supervision) and then teach the rest of the kids about the dish and why we were eating it.  As I stated before, this book and the concept of learning US history through food is brilliant!

We have one main complaint about this book.  It’s not long enough.  Seriously.  It only contains six recipes so we only were able to discuss six time periods.  I stated above that there is hope for a sequel since only a small section of history is covered and I hope that this will be done.  Then all the different books and time periods could be compiled into one large book.  This mama would for sure buy it!

A fun tidbit, but all of these recipes can be cooked over an open campfire!  We reenact the Civil War and plan to cook several of these again over the campfire when we are out and about at our events.  We already did a recipe similar to the Colonial Cherry Berry Grunt and can’t wait to give it a smoke infused taste.  Yummy with homemade ice cream!  We tried the Independence Ice Cream in the book.  It was super simple of course and very good.  We did decide though that we’d stick with our hand crank at events.  Makes a whole lot more!!

If you’d like to learn more about the Eat Your Homework books or see some of the other great offerings that Ann McCallum Books has please check out the Main TOS Blog for the link up.  Several of our bloggers received different books and are sharing their thoughts.  You’ll see more of the Eat Your U.S. History Homework as well as Science and Math and two other books.  Ann McCallum Books currently does not have any social media sites for me to send you to, so please make sure to check out their website in my first paragraph!  We’re loving learning US history through food and hope you will too.

 

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