The Old Schoolhouse® Product & Curriculum Reviews

With so many products available we often need a little help in making our curriculum choices. The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine family understands because we are in the same boat! Do you need more information on a product before you buy? With over 5,500 products listed in 52 easy-to-use categories, much of the information you need to know is only a click away! Let our reviewer-families help yours.
Do you want to get the word out about your product or service to the homeschool community? Email Tess Hamre and share a little about what you´d like showcased, and we can help with that!

Time Travelers History Study: The American Revolution Review by Heather Jackowitz

Amy Pak
Home School in the Woods
(585) 964-8188
3997 Roosevelt Highway
Holley, NY 14470

Do you want to add some pizzazz to your history studies? Then consider a Time Travelers History Study from Homeschool in the Woods. I reviewed The American Revolution, and what a fabulous resource it is! This study is recommended for grades three through eight, although younger siblings could participate with help.

The CD-ROM is very easy to use. Just pop it into your CD drive and it will open. You do not install the program onto your computer. The first thing you will need to do is print everything, unless you want to read the lessons and directions off the computer. Permission to reproduce these materials is granted only for individual family use. Contact Home School in the Woods for co-op pricing.

The CD-ROM contains PDF files with lessons, masters, and directions for each project, as well as photo galleries of all projects and the completed lap book. The entire study will take from five to ten weeks to complete. In addition to eighteen lesson days, five additional days are scheduled project days. These days are set aside to complete any unfinished projects, try a new recipe, or work on "Factfile" cards (flashcards of political terms, military terms, and famous people). Lesson 24 is the day to assemble the lap book, and Lesson 25 is a day to celebrate the unit with a "Tribute to the Revolution" party.

In addition to the CD-ROM and a good printer, you will need the following general supplies: a three-ring binder for the teacher and each student, white and colored paper, white and colored cardstock, scissors, glue sticks, liquid glue, double-sided tape, transparency film, colored file folders, colored pencils, and cardboard. Additional supplies will depend on which supplemental projects you choose to complete.

The eighteen history lessons in this study are as follows:

Colonial Beginnings
The French and Indian War
George vs. George
The Problems Begin
Troubles in Boston
The First Continental Congress
The Shot Heard 'Round the World
The War is Underway
Washington Takes Command
Let Freedom Ring!
The Battles in New York, part 1
The Battles in New York, part 2
A Long, Hard Winter
Women of the War, part 1
Women of the War, part 2
The War Continues on Land and Sea
The Tides Turn
A New Nation is Born

There are four elements to this study: the lesson, the notebook, the lap book, and projects. First, there is the actual lesson. These two- to three-page lessons offer a basic introduction to the history topic. These lessons pack a lot of information into a concise format, sort of like an encyclopedia article, and you might consider supplementing with illustrated books, especially if you are working with younger children. A list of additional resources--books, movies, and audio resources--is included in the teacher helps.

The notebook is where students file the timeline, penmanship pages, secret messages, maps, and a few other lesson projects, such as a flowchart illustrating the American government under the control of England. The timeline is printed onto cardstock, taped together, and folded accordion-style to fit into the notebook. Amy Pak's wonderful timeline figures needed to complete this study are included on the CD-Rom. The twenty-two penmanship pages contain quotes from our Founding Fathers and other important early Americans. Each master is available in solid cursive, in a dashed-line format (for tracing) or as blank solid or dashed lines (for copying from the master).

The lap book displays all the smaller projects. These projects include a document pocket (Mayflower Compact, Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights), and a variety of booklets on various topics: Whig vs. Tory, the minuteman, the Liberty Bell, monarchy vs. republic, soldiers of the Revolution, women of the war, people to know, Common Sense, First and Second Continental Congress, and more. Students color, cut, and assemble mini-books, pie books, shaped books, pop-up books, an overlay map, and more. The lap book is a wonderful project that children love to look at again and again.

Children also create a six-paged "Daily Bugle" newspaper. A sample headline reads, "More Taxes Raise Tempers in Boston!" A sample advertisement reads, "Wanted: All Able-Bodied Men! Sign up with the Continental Army and Join the Fight for Freedom!" Students write and illustrate these articles and advertisements.

Craft Projects include making a Jamestown replica, cutting a five-pointed star, making a colonial flag floor cloth, dipping candles, making a Valley Forge diorama, painting miniature soldiers, and making a haversack.

Two "Franklin Experiments" incorporate science into the study. Students learn about the music of glass and the science of optics as they learn about Benjamin Franklin.

Also included are the masters to create several "file folder" games. These educational games are fun to play, especially since children make them. The games are called "Taxation Frustration," "Be a Minuteman," "Battle Blitz," and "Liberty at Last."

Students can also perform a shadow-puppet play called "George Washington, Bullet-Proof Indeed!" Students build the stage, cut out the shadow puppets from the masters, and perform the script of Washington's providential protection during the French and Indian Wars.

Recipes are also provided in each week's lesson. These can be cooked up along the way or saved for an end-of-unit party. These colonial recipes include applejack cookies, peach cobbler, onion cheese pie, potato soup, hay-makers switchel, green beans and bacon, orange scones, and New England baked beans.

I cannot say enough about this wonderful resource. At first glance, it might seem a little expensive, but once you start poking around, you will be amazed at the detail and high quality work that went into creating this study. Amy Pak's illustrations are beautiful, and the projects are fun, educational, and interesting. The finished lap book is a work of art that your children will want to share with others. In doing so, they will also be reviewing important history lessons!

I have only two caveats to offer. First, not every child will enjoy doing the detailed coloring and cutting work required to complete the notebook and lap book. A possible solution to this problem is to spread the work out among several children (and yourself) and create only one notebook and one lap book together. Another caveat is cost. The CD-Rom is worth every penny, but the materials and printer ink needed to create the projects can add up quickly. With a little creativity, you might be able to substitute materials or find them at discount prices. I discovered that heavy-duty sheet protectors work just as well as transparency film--at a fraction of the price!

I am always excited to find high-quality curriculum created by homeschoolers and for homeschoolers. Another job well done, Home School in the Woods!

Product Review by Heather Jackowitz, Senior Product Reviewer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC