Review of Homeschool in the Woods: Project Passport World History Study (Renaissance & Reformation)

My kids have always been huge history buffs, and they particularly love the Renaissance time period. When we were asked to review the Project Passport World History Study: Renaissance & Reformation from Homeschool in the Woods, I knew it would be a good fit for my kids.  Not only did it give them a solid foundation for the time period, but it gave us a flexible way to continue our studies into the summer months, when I don't necessarily want them tied to textbooks and computers all day long.

Home School in the Woods Review

The product is a digital one, which I really, really like. I tend to not like to store whole books in our very small home. Having a digital product lets me print off just what we need for the day or the week ahead. Since most classrooms are moving to having more of their media on disc or digital file, this shows that they are meeting the needs of today's homeschooler! You can purchase this as a digital download or disc.

What does it cover?  There is really so much that we could barely get through much of it in the time we had to review it. It includes so many hands-on projects, that -- when working with several age groups -- it's possible to keep most of your kids in elementary and junior high busy for hours.  There are 25 "stops" that you can use as goals for what to accomplish every few days for a total of 8-12 weeks. A very busy family, however, could use a stop a week for a more stretched out curriculum.

Unlike stuffy history books, this really has a lot of great "side bars" of conversation for curious minds.  As a mom who is forever taking detours from our lesson material for the boy to discover additional topics related to what we study (I call them "rabbit trails") this course was delightful to do with the kids.  There was just enough added material for conversation that you can indulge these rabbit trail moments without going off-track of your course -- or your schedule!

The course covers a good chunk of the time period, and could really be used as your sole history course for the Renassaice and Reformation from a pre-highschool perspective.  If you wanted it to count as credit for a highschooler, I would just add in some upper-level literature and a few essay assignments of your own to make a full, higher level mini-course.

Home School in the Woods Review

My boys' favorite part of the course is always the conflicts! There was so much war and killing during this time, and the study helped bring it to life for them in a safe and appropriate way.  We could go into detail on things I felt were appropriate, and redirect them to "safer" subjects (art and music, for example) when it got a little intense.  As a history and literature lover, I really like to format and design of this course!

So what did we do? There was really almost an overwhelming number of activities, but here were our favorites:

  • Art lessons: My 11-year-old was especially taken by the drawing with chalk and pastels lessons. He had dabbled with this in the past, and he liked having the chance to practice again!
  • Poetry: Although my kids usually don't get into this subject, they were fascinated by what a sonnet was and how to write one!
  • Leonardo DaVinci. Anything about this hero was welcomed. My boys already really  admired him, so getting a few more lessons about what he invented, and simply dreamed, was popular with my boys! We even looked at some additional books about Leonardo DaVinci after our learning.
  • I really got a kick out of "If Henry VIII Had a Wallet", which was a quirky and unique way to study his family.
  • We enjoyed the dining lessons, even though we couldn't make all the recipes in the guide. I like the idea of trying a new recipe a week, however, and I have it marked on our calendar to incorporate one of the recipes along with our regular meals for the rest of the year.
  • Timelines! Moms who love timelines will really like this study. There are so many good ways to use them! 
Just about every area of school is covered, from geography to history to science and more! It's a very "classical education" compatible study. Charlotte Mason fans will love it, especially!  We sat together as a family and worked on most of the projects as a team. When there was a particular subject that was of particular interest to a child (like art for my 11-year-old), I allowed them to work on it more during some quiet time in the afternoons. This allowed us to learn as a family a few days a week, and have some independent study, too.

If you are intent on going through the entire study, exactly as written, prepare for it to take much longer than 8-12 weeks (unless that is the only curriculum you are using.) It's just that good and there is that much stuff to do.  Also, expect to have to buy ingredients for recipes and supplies for the art studies.  I recommend looking ahead a few weeks to see what you'll need in advance.

If you have avoided history due to it being dull or difficult to teach, might I suggest you try something like Homeschool in the Woods' Project Passport Word History Studies? They also have other time periods you can purchase for your classroom.

Home School in the Woods Review
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