Now that my daughter is in middle school, she wants a little more say in how we homeschool. History study is the perfect time to let that independence shine. We've created a personalized history program with Project Passport from Home School in the Woods - and it's working very well for us. Take a look at how you can create a tailored program for your homeschool - no matter how many kids you're teaching!
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Project Passport World History
The Project Passport World History Study series from Home School in the Woods is perfect for the homeschool mom who wants to tweak the curriculum for her family - it's really perfectly suited to doing as much or as little as you would like.
There are 25 'stops' in this guidebook that can easily be spread over 8-12 weeks. We are covering 2 stops per week very easily, along with additional readings, read alouds, and writing assignments. Each stop includes plenty of activities:
- Notebooking projects with the 'Scrapbook of Sights'
- 'Middle Ages in Europe' Lapbook
- 'Medieval Times' Newspaper
- Audio tours
- Hands-on projects
- 'Snapshot Moments in History' Timeline
- 'Journey through the Middle Ages' File Folder game
- and a few other fun things!
There are many projects to choose from and that's one of the reasons it's so easy to personalize.
Each stop includes a 'Travel Itinerary' that lists all the projects along with a list of needed supplies and instructions. There's also a 'Guide Book Text' to read aloud with each stop that provides a well-written overview of the topic for that stop. You'll find many interesting topics about the Middle Ages:
- Clothing & Food
- Towns & Guilds
- Science & Invention
- Medicine & Disease
- The Church
- The Crusades
- Knights & Chivalry
- Battles & Conflicts
It's a very well-rounded program that's easy to use to create your own personalized program.
How we're using Project Passport: Middle Ages
After looking at all the ideas, projects, and activities, I knew this program would make a great 'spine' for our history studies. We use each 'Stop' to guide our extra reading, read alouds, and writing assignments - making it completely personalized for our family.
The first thing I did was print out the 'Travel Itinerary' then TJ and I sat down and read through each 'Stop', highlighting the projects that looked interesting. She really wanted to make both the 'Scrapbook of Sights' and the 'Middle Ages in Europe' lapbook. Knowing that, we were able to pick-and-choose from the remaining projects and still allow time for interest-led learning and other assignments. Once I had a list of projects, I printed out all the masters and included them in my 'Guide Book'.
Then we scoured our bookshelves and the online library catalog for possible book ideas - nonfiction for TJ to read, good stories from that time period (you MUST include some good stories about King Arthur and Robin Hood!), and great read aloud books. Now we just need to order books a few weeks in advance so we have plenty of time to dig in.
The last thing I wanted to include was a bit more writing work, which was very easy to do. We decided to forego the 'Medieval Times' Newspaper. As fun as it looked, I wanted to TJ to focus on specific skills she's learning in her writing program. So she works on outlining and narrative summaries from various books about the middle ages a few times a week.
A Week in the Middle Ages
We have history time 4 days a week, right after lunch until about 2 or 2:30 pm. Each week we work on two 'Stops', taking two days to do each one. Here's how our week looks:
Day 1: I read aloud from the 'Guide Book' text for our first 'Stop' of the week while TJ works on one of the many projects. She also adds any new 'Snapshots' to her timeline. She started a timeline book last year when we studied ancient history, so instead of using the scrapbook timeline, she puts the pictures in her timeline book.
I also read aloud a chapter or two from a book (right now we're working through Roger Lancelyn Green's King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table)while TJ finishes up her projects. Then she chooses some books from our book basket - usually one nonfiction and one fiction - and spends some time reading.
Day 2: We usually take a few minutes to discuss what we are learning before we dive back into our read aloud. TJ works on more projects from our previous 'Stop' or works on mapping skills while I read aloud. Then she has a writing assignment - either a summary from something she's read or an outline from another text. If we're done early enough she'll spend more time reading.
Day 3 & 4 we repeat the previous two days, working on the next 'Stop' in our 'Guide Book'. Our weekly schedule is fairly easy and TJ knows what to expect. Since she picked the projects she was interested in I don't have to constantly remind her to get back to work!
History with Home School in the Woods
We are really enjoying our journey through the Middle Ages with Project Passport. I love that it's basically open-and-go (after that initial prep work) and that we can personalize it. While we use Project Passport for the structure of our history lessons, TJ can choose the projects she'd like to work on, the books she wants to read, and how she wants to cover her writing assignments. It's definitely a homeschool mom's dream (especially the homeschool mom who likes to tweak all her programs!).
You can purchase Project Passport: Middle Ages from Home School in the Woods - it's available in digital download format ($33.95) and on CD ($34.95)