One of the fun things about being on The Schoolhouse Review Crew is having the chance to try out some products that aren’t normally ones I’d gravitate to. This review is for one of those products. I’m please to share with you our experiences of using the Project Passport World History Study: The Middle Ages brought to us by Home School in the Woods. If you’d like to read more Crew reviews, you can click HERE or on the banner below.
How does it work?
For this review I was provided a free download of the product, Project Passport World History Study: The Middle Ages. Normally the download version is $33.95 (the cd version is available for $34.95). Basically, the passport is a fun, hands on activity book to accompany learning about the Middle Ages. (The producer, Home School in the Woods also has other subjects available on their website.) Readings for each “stop” on the trip are provided, as well as journaling activities, coloring projects, crafts, and cooking projects. At the end of the journey, the kids will have a completed project book. You can make the book any way you’d like, though clear directions are provided for a lapbook or for a scrapbook type journal.
After making the initial download I was able to use links to each of the printables and teacher notes. The download system ran perfectly – and is an absolutely excellent interface system. I was extremely impressed.
After my initial download, I started printing. And printing. And printing. . My initial plan was to make 2 journals – one for each kid. I would estimate that I spent about 5 hours printing, cutting, and assembling the first 5 lessons. It was a little overwhelming for me, though the results were spectacular. I did try to make sure the papers were the correct kind and color, and I think that made a huge difference in the final product.
After assembling the product (which I did myself to save time – having my kids do their own would have taken even longer) we set to work. My kids really enjoyed the readings and the newspaper. I found having them journal in short bursts was great – they wrote well, had fun, and there was no complaining. My kids are older (12 and 14), and didn’t warm much to the passport and other fun items. They really balked at the coloring, but I think that’s an age issue. If I had done this a few years earlier – they would have love it! Despite their misgivings, the readings did inspire them to break out some of our Middle Ages readers, and to watch a number of Horrible Histories episodes to brush up on their knowledge of the Middle Ages! It may not have been the intended path – but the Project Passport World History Study: The Middle Ages definitely inspired some great learning.
One of our Project Passport World History Study: The Middle Ages highlights was Middle Ages night. The kids were totally intrigued by the menu and recipes, so we had a whole Middle Ages dinner. We made the herb bread (awesome!!), roast chicken, roasted vegetables and potatoes, carrots, and a few non-traditional items – mainly cranberry sauce and Stove Top. The kids spent a couple of days researching and planning, and we all had a blast.
Any bad parts?
While the interface for the download was perfect, I cannot say that I enjoyed the printing and assembling of this product. It was very time consuming for me (though I will readily admit my printer is pretty slow – and I don’t think that helped). Even with a trip to the copy store, I’d still have to cut and assemble everything. For my kid’s ages, and as fast as they ran through the stops in less time than it took for me to assemble most of the materials, so the prep time wasn’t worth it for me. Had I done this when they were younger – again – it would have been HUGE. They would have LOVED it. I would have LOVED it. With that in mind, I would heartily recommend this for kids up to about Grade 6, or older if they love hands on things and put it together themselves.
This is an EXCEPTIONALLY well designed product. If you like lapbooks, and hands on products, and don’t mind taking the time to assemble them, then this would be a great fit for your kids. Sadly, my kids are now in the “learn it and move on” age, and weren’t wowed by the fun of the passport. Despite their misgivings, we did make some great memories with Middle Ages food night, and I’m grateful to have a chance to try a new way of learning and see if it might be a good fit for us! If you’re on the fence about notebooking or lapbooks – give Home School in the Woods products a try. I don’t think you’ll regret it!
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