History Through the Ages Homeschool Curriculum
Looking for a secular homeschool history curriculum? You might want to consider History Through the Ages, a fun, hands-on supplement to your world history studies.
Homeschool World History Vlog
What We Received
Today we’re reviewing Project Passport History Through the Ages. Homeschool in the Woods gave us a complete download of “The Middle Ages” for free. And now we’re posting our honest, impartial opinion of this homeschool history curriculum.
What to Expect with Project Passport
This is a very cool history supplement to your history studies, or history unit study. We chose The Middle Ages because that’s what we are sort of studying at our homeschool now. We’re doing more of an American History point of view, but still, this ties in quite nicely.
Project Passport is set up as if we were going on a vacation to a foreign country. We get to visit several “stops” along the journey. The Middle Ages has 25 stops, grouped in these categories:
- Laying the Foundation
- Everyday Life
- Science and Invention
- The Arts
- Medicine and Disease
- The Church
- The Crusades
- Knights and Chivalry
- The Vikings
- Battles, Wars, and Conflicts
- Final Stop
Each stop features a special landmark, or site, or even an account of traditions, customs or structures. At each stop, we get its historical background in a PDF document, along with its itinerary with all activities.
We create a craft, a scrapbook piece, a newspaper article, a postcard, a foldable, a recipe, a map, or something hands-on capturing the essence of such visit. Color-coded icons and links to photographs appear on the side, so we know at a glance what types of activities await us.
The “Scrapbook of Sights” is the container (binder) for most projects. There’s also a lapbook for which we’ve been building components, but haven’t yet put it together. That will come toward the end of our tour, I suppose. We stick timeline figures onto the timeline provided at each stop as well. And some stops offer audio tours, which we find quite enjoyable and effective!
How We Use Project Passport
We’ve been “traveling” with Project Passport about three times per week. Some stops have taken us much longer to complete than others, especially the first one which is heavy on prepping and printing.
I must mention that when clicking on the “Start Here” link right after downloading, an HTML document opens up in Firefox, in my case. We followed the directions from there, and naturally, it required to begin printing. Lots of printing. Part of the title in The Scrapbook of Sights cover printed a bit distorted. We didn’t notice it until after we were done coloring it, so we didn’t reprint it. I believe the mishap may have happened for printing directly from Firefox. So I’ve been making it a point to open all documents in Adobe PDF Reader. Everything has been printing nicely. I thought you might like to know this to prevent it from happening to you if indeed the browser is the culprit. So sorry FireFox folks!
When we begin a new stop, we let our PDF Reader read the history for us. It does sound a bit weird, with a Stephen-Hawking-like computer voice. But we tweaked it, finally picking a British voice, and voila, it doesn’t sound as robotic anymore. The great thing about it is that while we’re either cutting, or pasting, or coloring, we get to listen to the story (or history) in the background. Of course, Super Hero or I could read it first and then do the activities. But this helps us get our stuff done while we listen which is something we really enjoy.
Needless to say, we love the real audio tours. The audios that come with Project Passport, not our PDF Reader makeshift ones. Though we like those, too! We just listened to our first audio tour. A neat set up, it gives you the feel of a busy plaza or town square. A lady reporter interviews the different members of the social system in the feudal estates. Such excellent audio production, it makes history much more real. I, for one, recall information so much better after a good listening experience. How wonderful would it be to have a video production too!
Homeschool in the Woods’ projects wouldn’t be complete without the timeline and the timeline figures! Correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t those very things that got them started in the publishing world? Anyhow, we printed our timeline figures on 8 1/2 by 11 label sheets. I got those off eBay, but I’m sure they have them at Amazon, Staples or OfficeMax. So all we have to do is cut them, peel the back paper and stick them onto the timeline pages. So convenient!
Superhero didn’t want to color the timeline figures, but you could, if you want to, to make them prettier. And you can include their caption or write it yourself. These are all options Project Passport gives us, so we’re never “stuck” with just one way.
Our Opinion of Project Passport
Super Hero and I very much enjoy doing this type of projects from time to time. I wouldn’t like to do them every day. I fear so much printing, cutting, folding, gluing, and all could burn us out before long. But for once in a while this is great fun, not to mention extremely effective in cementing learning.
There’s a lot of material in Project Passport, yet we don’t feel obliged to do it all. There’s no need to do all the recipes, all the crafts, or all the projects. We do feel free to pick and choose. I tend to emphasize the creative writing activities myself, and Super Hero is much more willing to write in this less “academic” environment. So far he has wanted to do all activities. Indeed, we’ve done all except for one craft. That’s because it required felt and we had none —gotta go shopping so we can make Robin Hood’s hat!
One thing that could be better is the number of PDF documents offered. There are multiple PDFs to print in each stop. A lot! Every single PDF is a different file. Often, we need to print double sided pages. By having single PDF documents, I have to actually take it out from the printer, flip it and put it back again to print the back. This has been extremely time-consuming. I wish they had provided one long file and let the printer print double-sided pages. Our printer’s capable of that. So that’s the one thing I wish the publishers had considered. Perhaps they can offer this as an additional file? That wouldn’t disrupt any of their current documents.
In short, despite the mighty printing, cutting, pasting, and all, Project Passport is delightful fun. We enjoy it greatly. As soon as we finish with The Middle Ages, Super Hero wants Renaissance and Reformation. We’ll make sure to let a few months go by before we’re ready to pick it up. 😉
In a Nutshell
Well, I really like it, it’s really good. You have a lot of crafts like maps, a timeline, and lapbooks. And there are special things like postcards, a luggage folder, a passport, and so much more. It’s fun! ☺
Yes, I would highly recommend Project Passport History Through the Ages to any child interested in world history. Once you get past the unavoidable prepping and printing, the quality of learning is unbeatable. Plus, we get to create keepsakes to revisit in the future, and love them all over again!
Wish to Learn More?
If so, there are plenty more reviews from my fellow Crew members. Or just pay Homeschool in the Woods a visit at any of their social media accounts. That’ll give you an immediate feel for what they’re all about:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/HSintheWoods @HSintheWoods