As my regular readers know there is nothing our family enjoys more than learning about history as we travel. Over the past several weeks we have had the opportunity to review Time Travelers U.S. History Studies from Home School in the Woods. In particular, we were provided with the second unit in this series, Colonial Life. This unit, intended for grades 3 – 8, is broken up in 25 lessons that can be completed in 5 – 10 weeks, depending on how your family chooses to use it.
Covering topics including colonial homes, foods, school, faith, family life, crime & punishment, health & medicine, pastimes, plantations, and slavery. This all from a time when the United States was just starting out. It is laid out much the same as Time Travelers: Civil War that we reviewed last year. You can read that review here.
There are more in this series as well, including:
- New World Explorers
- American Revolution
- The Early 19th Century
- The Industrial Revolution through the Great Depression, and,
- World War II
I have to admit I was a little confused when I first downloaded this unit (even though I have used them in the past). Because I was traveling in our camper I was only carrying my Chromebook and IPad rather than my laptop so I ran into a bit of a snag until I realized I needed to download, extract all files, and print them individually on my Chromebook (a bit more work) so when we stopped off at home I grabbed my laptop so I could create a file that allows me to click on whichever lesson I am looking for plus the teacher helps. It really is a nice format and it makes things so easy to keep organized.
How We Used It
Since we were trying to pack light, we kept the text files on our IPad for reading. This worked quite well and allowed us space to print up the project pages.
We also worked in some field trips that worked with the lessons. During a visit to the Geographic Center of the United States we learned about pioneers (much like the Ingalls family) setting out to settle the west and saw some of the things they may have brought with them. This was later than the colonial period we were learning about but it helped to bridge the differences for a curious young man and he saw how the country developed as the colonies became more crowded and people set out to make their own fortunes while still bringing some of their old ways with them.
We also looked through our pictures from a visit to the Castillo de San Marcos where we encountered colonial-era soldiers and pipers and learned what it was like to be in the army and navy at the time.
We also used the template for the Town Crier newspaper as we studied and traveled along. Adding stories to a template made it easy to avoid having writer’s block as often happens with this type of project. These templates can be printed with the stories printed or written by students or you can do as EJ tried this time and recreate the document so you can type directly into the document. There is a great blog post about the benefits of adding creative writing newspapers to your homeschool history lessons (there is a terrific video in this one as well) titled Why Creative Writing Newspapers are Incredible Teaching Tools.
We also played some of the games included. This ran into some hilarity when my brother decided to try his hand at Cat’s Cradle like we used to play with our mom. he didn’t have string so he tried plastic instead and well…here are the pictures…it looks easier on the instruction form is all I can say.
This does show though that this unit makes it easy to get everyone in the family involved in the learning!
EJ’s favorite parts were the field trips and mapping (as always) but he also liked learning about the games kids back in the colonial times played while playing with his aunts and uncles and was surprised to learn that they played with the same fortune catchers he and his cousins play with. Of course, he also learned that the fortunes were more likely to be Bible verses in colonial times.
He was also surprised to find out that toddlers wore “donuts” around their middles so they wouldn’t get hurt when they fell. He laughed at the thought of his little brother wearing one of these.
As always, I found Colonial Life to be well organized and complete so I could just open it up and go but also easy enough to adapt for our own learning style. All of the major topics are covered with creative writing, history, social studies, and faith. This makes Home School in the Woods products some of my most trusted and recommended when folks ask me about them.
You can follow Home School in the Woods on social media here:
It’s a great way to stay on top of new offerings plus find extra materials to enhance your learning. I found a terrific blog post there “Adding Interest to History with Recipes” that encourages you to use old recipes from the period you are studying to help understand the era. I totally agree and like to do the same in our homeschool.
So there you have it. My review of Colonial Life from Home School in the Woods. As with the rest of their products, this one was a great fit for our family. I encourage you to read the reviews from other crew families on this and other units as well by clicking the image below.