One thing that my kids really enjoy when it comes to learning, is being able to get their hands on whatever we are learning. Science projects, electronic kits, baking and making – I think these are the best ways for our kids to learn. Everything. So I am always excited when I have the chance to get my hands on some amazingly interactive materials from Home School in the Woods. We have been so blessed with many of their materials in the past; this time around we focused on Project Passport World History Studies: Renaissance and Reformation. This is a downloadable product and recommended for grades 3-8 (but we used this with all of ours from the four year old to the thirteen year old). Get creative as you learn and explore this amazing time period!
For quite some time my two oldest boys found history to be the “most boring thing ever” and because I personally love history and all we can learn from it, I was rather horrified. Around that time, we discovered this amazing company and some materials that really changed how we look at history. If you are a fan of notebooking, lapbooking or unit studies…these are all of that and more! While I admit that the number of downloads to print out is initially rather overwhelming, I also acknowledge that the variety of activities within these pages is simply priceless.
My kids love using these because it isn’t just about reading and writing; there are timeline materials, recipes to make, audio files to listen and enjoy – I could go on. There is an endless supply of opportunities within these pages (and so many recommended for learning beyond this even). Within this program are 25 “Stops” that can be used throughout 8-12 weeks to explore the people and events, places and influences that were a part of this historical time.
Just as when you take an actual vacation, there are some things that must be done to prepare for your trip here. Of course, you need a passport. Luggage too. We want to make sure too, that we have something handy to keep track of all of the sights we see, this is the Scrapbook of Sights. There is also aa Snapshots Moment in History Timeline (great as a visual reminder of who and what and where and when). A fun addition is The Renaissance Reporter that must be prepared as well because YOU are the one reporting on things that are taking place. Being that I have a couple kids who are very reluctant writers this was a great opportunity to get them writing even if it was just a bit.
There are so many ways in which this is just so fun! We really loved the Mp3 files that were included with this. I think it is one of my boys favorite things – a great way to enjoy stories while we work. starting out in Central ltaly, we enjoyed an audio tour while we gained understanding of Florence, where this all began. It is always fun when my kids are listening and stop to acknowledge a name or place that they know. Some of these we came across were: Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Dante, Chaucer and Shakespeare. Since there are so many projects that make up Project Passport, these files were great to use as we worked.
My oldest son is quite the artist so he really enjoyed the portions of this study that involved using various art techniques. He especially appreciated the chalk pastels portion as somehow this has become one of his favorite mediums to work with.
Want an interesting, fun fact? DId you know that forks were first used for serving and eating around the 15th century A.D? Imagine the conversations that ensued after the kids all learned this one…..Some of little things that we take for granted.
Since cooking has become something all of my kids enjoy, we really appreciated reading all about how to Add Interest to History with Recipes. I really do love how all of the materials that this company has include a variety of recipes related to the times and locations being studied. In this study alone we enjoyed learning how to make some delicious treats. Rice pudding has become a fast favorite in our home (minus the raisins) as well as Cheese Krapfen (we Wisconsinites love anything that includes cheese). There are also recipes for salads and meat pies but my kids really stuck to making those sweet treats.
We learned all about the invention of gunpowder and how hourglasses and then mechanical clocks were designed. Can I say, my younger son is now avidly seeking out various types of clocks so that he can take them apart and put them together again? He was even looking into a kit where he could build his own working clock. These are those moments where you know that learning really is happening! The light in the eyes, the hunger to make and do and see. 🙂
What fun it was to listen to a conversation with Michelangelo as he is being sought after to paint the Sistine Chapel (who knew he was not really a painter, per se) but was ordered by the Pope himself to complete this job. We had to wonder, together, did he see his job as “well done” in the end? Perhaps these are simply theatrical performances but what amazing details are provided within – Conversation pieces that remind you of how real these people from so long ago are. Perhaps we hear these names and see them as so much bigger, forgetting that they were people, struggling, working, striving just like us. As we worked through each stop, there was just so much we were able to learn (many rabbit trails that we went on too!).
We are still working our way through all of this of course. There are so many lessons and projects to complete – we don’t want to miss any one of them (certainly you don’t have to complete them all if you don’t want to). It has been quite a busy summer here too but we all agreed that this was something we wanted to make sure to slowly enjoy. All of it. I know it may sound like a lot but it really isn’t. When there is so much fun to be had, why not enjoy it all? My boys even have their eyes on some other materials related to the Civil War and World War II – if that doesn’t speak volumes about the value of these materials, I don’t know what does. When our children can get so involved in something, when they just don’t want it to end, you know you have something that works.
Click the image below to read more reviews from other members of the Review Crew who enjoyed these super fun materials!
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