I blog about my homeschool family’s love of all things history related quite a bit. My children’s experience with and attitude towards learning about the history of our world is entirely different from my own. During my school years, history was very dry and dull! We read from a textbook. We memorized dates and names only long enough to regurgitate the information for a test. We saw no meaning and nothing relevant to the information. As an adult relearning the history of our world alongside my children, everything has changed. Why? Because as a homeschooling family we’ve taken the blessed opportunity to make history a memorable, hands-on, experience at every occasion. One of my favorite methods for doing so comes from one of my favorite homeschool curriculum businesses called Home School in the Woods. Recently we’ve had the opportunity to use the Make-a-State Activity from their Activity-Paks product line. Let me tell you about it.
The Make-a-State Activity is a product designed for studying any state in the United States, plus Washington D.C. In our family, we’ve chosen to focus on our home state of Connecticut. I am completing this study with my three school aged children ages 7, 9, and 11. The two oldest are pretty independent with all of the work. I work side-by-side with my 7-year-old.
Like all of the products, we’ve completed from Home School in the Woods. This one is bursting with just about everything you will want to have on hand for completing a study of the topic at hand. This one contains at least 20 separate projects. These projects will have your children conducting personal research, mapping, writing creatively and so much more. While this product is setup in something of a generic format so that it can be useful no matter the state you are studying, it also includes images and information for each state specifically. You’ll find maps and images of your various state symbols. To complete fill out the study you or your student will need to do some independent research either by simply using good old Google or taking a few books on your state from the library.
To get you started Home School in the Woods does provide you with one page of detailed information on every state. It is appropriately labeled the “State Page.” Be sure to print that one off and pin it up some place useful. You’ll be referring to it often. You are also provided with an excellent File Folder Game called “Name That State!” It is designed to be used with your younger and older children. Together everyone will learn the states by their shape and geography as well as the capitals.
I have been using this Make-a-State Activity with my children almost every day for several weeks now. The schedule for completing this Activity-Pak is completely up to you. You can do one or two projects a week or, like my family, one a day. One project usually doesn’t take more than 15 or so minutes to construct. To prepare, I took the time to print out the entire Activity-Pak, enough copies for each of my three children who are participating in the study, ahead of time. (Another family might choose to do just one project together – it is up to you). I was sure to carefully print according to the instructions provided with the download I received. I have to say, printing the pages appropriately can feel like a bit of challenge. There is A LOT to print. Some things you need to print on white paper, or colored paper, or cardstock. Sometimes things need to be printed back to back. All of these specific directions are intended to help your family create wonderful lapbook style projects. The beauty of the Home School in the Woods is how rich and vibrant every study is. In order to achieve that we need to take care in our printing. The outcome is worth it. Having everything printed ahead though saves my sanity. No one is waiting for my coffee deprived brain to figure out the directions. Everything is ready and waiting.
Speaking printing…. Amy Pak, the creator of everything from Homeschool in the Woods, is a phenomenal artist. I don’t think my photographs are doing her work justice. All of the artwork on every printout is just exquisite. While this curriculum is a lot of fun to complete, her style for depicting everything from the states themselves to the state symbols and everything else helps add a bit of reverence for the topic being studied. I love that.
My family isn’t quite finished with our state study. A certain 4th of July holiday slowed our progress a bit. We are completely enjoying every minute of it, and I’ll be sure to post more photos of the completed project soon.
I want to bring your attention to some of the other Activity-Paks in the Home School in the Woods product line. The have Activity-Paks on the Old Testament, New Testament, Musical Composers, and Artists. A few years back my children and I worked through the Old Testament Activity Pak. It isn’t one I have ever written a post about but I should. It was stunning. It brought the Old Testament to my family and me in a way I hadn’t experienced before. To this day, I will personally find myself saying… “I remember when we did that Old Testament study we learned…” That study lays out that portion of God’s Word in a way I hadn’t seen before or since. Yes, just like this State version of the Activity-Paks, it too is designed to encourage you to do your own personal research to complete it. Perhaps that alone is what made it so powerful in my life. We pull that project out often to refer to it, and I’ve carried it to many a homeschool events to share with others how remarkable that Activity-Pak is.
While you are exploring the Home School in the Woods website, be sure to check out the other product lines. Earlier this year I had the opportunity to review a title from the Project Passport series. We reviewed Ancient Egypt as a family. Based on that experience we intend to make the rest of the Project Passport titles the backbone of our curriculum for the next couple of years as we repeat our study of world history. If your family is more focused on U.S. History at the moment, then you’ll have to check out the Time Travelers product line. With those, your family will have a hands-on learning experience beginning with the New World Explorers and continuing through American History right through to World War II. My children want us to move steadily along so we can get to some of those titles too.
Ack! I almost forgot another bit of excellent news! Home School in the Woods products come bursting with projects for your children to complete. What if, however, you have another full curriculum and you’d rather just a few projects to round it out and provide a little hands-on fun? Well, guess what! Home School in the Woods is now offering a-la-carte options! They currently have about 50 projects available with many more under consideration and likely to be available soon. To celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Erie Canal, they are offering an a-la-carte project on the subject for free! Use alacarte at checkout.
You can find Home School in the Woods via their social media links listed below: