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This post, Implement a Hands-On Approach to World History, was made possible with the chance to review the Project Passport World History Study: The Middle Ages from Home School in the Woods as part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew.
When you think back to history classes as a student, what do you remember? For me, I have a string of fuzzy memories of textbooks to read, dates to memorize, and other facts crammed into my short term memory just so I could pass a test. No interesting lectures jump to mind. And, I had a real distaste for the study of all things historical until I entered honors college at the University of Southern Mississippi more than 20 years ago.
Sadly, I have many family and friends who had a similar experience. Sure, I did have an AP American History class that was more interesting than most. But, things just didn’t fully solidify in my brain. Connections were not made that really should have been. The textbook approach to learning did NOT work in my youth like it might now where I can better determine patterns between different events in history and see a bigger picture.
For my boys, I do not want them to dread history. I want them to be excited to learn more! What I have found is that using a mixture of living books and hands-on activities accomplishes this goal. Today I get to share about just one resource of several available through Home School in the Woods that can help make world history more interesting and meaningful to elementary and middle school children (specifically grades 3 – 8.)
Hands-on Approach to World History:Project Passport World History Study: The Middle Ages
What do you get when you combine short reading selection, a few audio tours, a rocking timeline, lapbooking and notebooking activities as well as cool projects fitting for a specific time period?
For anyone familiar with Home School in the Woods, you’d quite possibly be thinking about one of the incredible packages from Amy Pack and family. They have moved from offering American History studies to including the new Project Passport World History Studies that take the same approach for a different geographic location and time period.
This is a digital product, either purchased as a download or on CD-ROM. Launching the executable file will bring up a menu in your default browser. Clicking on each option brings you to that particular page or set of pages.
Each ‘stop’ on this tour includes a short reading selection and a page or pages for the teacher to know which activities are to be done for the stop. Those pages also note how to print each activity from the file (e.g. how to double side the pages and whether you need card stock, colored paper, or plain paper.) Many of the projects include a photograph of the finished product so you know what it should look like when completed. With over 50 project options, there is plenty to pick and choose from to meet your family’s needs.
Want to see more in action? Check out this informative video about Project Passport:
Hands-on Approach to World History: Thoughts on Using it With my 7th Grade Son
We are not new to Home School in the Woods and their approach to learning. I’ve found in the past that we rarely do all of the suggested projects in the ensemble, but rather pick and choose what to do while mixing with books and videos.
This particular package is no different. I began by printing out the three-page travel planner (aka as the Quick-Stop Itinerary) which shows the whole schedule of upcoming topics and projects at a glance. I then printed out the travel itineraries for each of the ‘stops’ so I knew not only what to print in preparation of his doing the work, but also what needed to be done and how to assemble things. Finally, I printed out the necessary pages from the master files and sorted them by ‘stop’ in folders so things can be done in a somewhat orderly fashion.
We’ve been traveling for a good chunk of the summer and there is only so much space in a RV to get things done. So, big projects like building a sugar cube castle have been tabled until we are back home. Instead, my son’s focus has been on the “Snapshot Moments in History” Scrapbook timeline, “The Medieval Times” newspaper, and many of the lapbooking or notebooking components that do not require special tools or lots of space to complete. I made sure to pack essential tools like scissors, glue tabs for the lapbooking and timeline activities, and a selection of colored pencils.
I can’t say that he’s been so into the history that he shuns other fun summertime activities. However, I do know that he is learning without spending hours pouring over a dry textbook and he is eager to complete the unit while backtracking to pick up those larger scale projects.
If we are lucky, we might attend a medieval festival where you can see people dressed for the occasion and possibly get your own costume together. My older boys still talk about their experiential learning opportunity which included trying on chain-mail many years ago at a homeschool event in Delaware during 2008. The partial armor he tried on had some serious weight to it!
How do you approach teaching history for the elementary and middle school grades?
Have you used hands-on learning approaches like Home School in the Woods offers?
Don’t just take my word for how we found this to be. Visit the Home School in the Woods 2015 Review post on the Schoolhouse Review Crew website to see what other homeschooling parents thought about this and other self-paced courses.