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Time Travelers: America in World War II Review by Kathy Gelzer

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

Time Travelers is a series of CD unit studies, with printable projects for various time periods. The philosophy is that hands-on history is a better teaching method, as well as lots more fun and memorable. I was given the America in World War II CD to review.

This is a fully organized, easy to navigate CD with attractive lettering and graphics. There are plenty of linkable icons, and multiple ways to get where you want to go. No fear of getting lost here! It is recommended that you read through the menu topics first, because of the organizational and teaching tips contained therein.

Besides a computer and printer, you will need paper and cardstock, colored pencils and a sharpener, scissors, an exacto knife, tape and glue, and a three-ring binder for every student. I think a paper cutter would be handy as well. Other supplies needed are listed at the beginning of each individual project.

This CD has twenty-five lessons, covering everything from the beginning to the end of WWII including Ante Bellum, Hitler, Pearl Harbor, the Holocaust, Iwo Jima to name just a few. There are four sections of introductory material to help you get started and keep you organized. Don't be tempted to jump in before you read these, as the tips will help your projects run more smoothly. Finally, "Other Resources" are all master pages in numerical order, photos of completed projects (in lesson order), so you can see what they should look like, and the final lapbook assembly instructions, complete with photos.

The lesson structure is as follows:   a couple pages of introductory text to give you an overview, project pages, and master pages for all the projects. Here is a sampling of some of the projects contained in one lesson:   penmanship exercise, notebook timeline, newspaper article, map work, and a lapbook. Several of these are ongoing projects throughout the lessons. For example, penmanship exercises are included in every lesson, consisting of quotes for copy work. This is not as simple as providing the quotes to be copied; four components are included:   an example of the quote in cursive, the same example in dashed letters to be traced over, a dashed line page, and a page with regular lines. Likewise, the timeline is an ongoing project with new figures (about 25 for every section of five lessons, titled and dated), some of which are added to each lesson. Once again, these are not to be simply glued onto regular paper, but placed on an included timeline template, using the contiguous teacher key to ensure correct placement by the student.

There are a variety of projects for a variety of interests. Suggested for grades three through eight, I even spotted a few projects that would be appropriate for high school students, especially some of the creative writing assignments. Plus, no one is too old for tried and true timeline and map work. A newspaper assignment, "Frontline News," appears in many of the lessons throughout. In this assignment, the student pretends to be a WWII military journalist who writes ads and articles on various wartime topics, which are suggested by the lesson being studied. A couple of the projects are more extensive than notebooking or lapbooking, and may take more time and effort to complete. There are instructions for sewing projects, and for growing a Victory Garden. You can pick and choose which projects to do, depending on your unique family situation and needs.

Once these project pages are printed and completed it is suggested they be put into a presentation notebook, and yes, the cover and spine inserts are here for you in full color or black and white for you to color yourself. The spine inserts are supplied in three sizes (one inch, one and a half inch, and two inches). Every preference and detail has been seen to!

In the "Teacher Helps" section, there is a single-page lesson planner outline of all twenty-five lessons. This is meant to be used only as a guide, with the freedom to use the calendar as you see fit, such as stretching projects out over several days, omitting ones with little personal appeal, etc. In addition, there is an extended resource list, where you will find Cornerstone of Freedom and Landmark titles, non-fiction, historical fiction, and even a devotional recommendation. Also listed are videos, audio books, music, and a website. As you can see, even though each lesson's introductory text contains all the information needed to complete the projects, you have been provided with plenty of opportunity to dig deeper into a particular topic, using this ample resource list. Timeline and map keys are also found under the "Teacher Helps" section.

I heartily recommend the Time Travelers series as a way to enliven your history studies! All the creative footwork has been done for you--just point and click away! Used on its own, or to complement another history program you are already using, this will be a big hit and make history much more meaningful.

Product Review by Kathy Gelzer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, January, 2012