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Time Travelers History Study: The Civil War Review by Maggi Beardsley

Amy Pak
Home School in the Woods
3997 Roosevelt Highway
Holley, NY 14470

This tiny CD box contains so much! All you need to do is place the CD into the computer, read (using Adobe Acrobat®), and print when ready. The CD includes the text for each lesson, lesson overviews, project overviews, and projects. This is the fifth installment in the Time Travelers series designed for students in grades 3 to 8. I found that it had nearly all I needed to introduce my children to the Civil War. The project overview listed any supplies that I would need for the lesson.

The student will have a notebook, and the teacher has a notebook. The student develops a timeline and a lap book also. Some of the projects include penmanship practice using quotes from Civil War leaders, writing a newspaper, and making a safe-house lantern, to name a few. There are Fact File and question cards designed to be used as a drill and as part of the games.

Amy Pak, a Christian homeschooling mom, designed this to be a hands-on experience. There are 25 lessons on the CD. They cover slavery, emancipation, secession, several specific battles, important leaders and dates, women of the war, and reconstruction. The website recommends taking between 5 and 10 weeks to cover the Civil War. There is a lesson plan schedule that outlines the activities and which ones belong in the lap book and which ones belong in the notebook. They suggest four days for lessons and one day for projects.

We used this as a stand-alone study of the Civil War. My older child added novels and documentaries to complete his study of the war. Time Travelers History Study: The Civil War would fit into a homeschool that likes to study things in depth.

This study was a good blend of so many good things. I loved the copywork using time-period quotes. It was an in-depth unit study that allowed us to study together as a family. Even the preschooler could put the timeline figures in order. When you read the CD on the computer, the set up is beautiful. There are different colored hats, in period colors, as buttons to click on. The figures themselves are very authentic. Amy Pak had enough "war details" for my son and enough hands-on activities for my daughters to keep them all interested. My son doesn't like cutting and pasting much, but he was willing to complete his time line if I cut out the figures for him. I liked that there was so much variety in the CD. There were recipes too!

The print was a little small for my second grade daughter, so I read the text to her. History came alive for her in the projects and timeline. As for myself, I needed to read and print a lot of the CD first in order to comprehend the vastness of it all. Then I felt equipped. I have often walked past Ms. Pak's CDs at homeschool fairs because I didn't really know what was contained in them. Now I know, and I can see why so many have used her CDs. I imagine that there is a greater learning curve the first time you use a unit study on CD, and after that it becomes easier.

I highly recommend Time Traveler's History Study: The Civil War for families who want to feel that they were part of the making of history.

Product review by Maggi Beardsley, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, June 2009