Home School in the Woods is a somewhat new-to-me company, although I’ve had many friends who’ve used their products and have given rave reviews.
Project Passport Middle Ages is not your run-of-the-mill download product… wait until you actually see it for yourself! It’s like your own personal traveling experience through the Middle Ages (there are other time periods available as well, such as the brand new Ancient Greece, and Ancient Rome is in the works for 2018!). As with most products for homeschoolers, you can customize this for your family. The download contains a Travel Itinerary, Guide Book, and printable masters. In this program, there are 25 stops along the way, which you can fan out to between 8-12 weeks, or whatever works for your family. You’ll learn about castles, education, Barbarians, Vikings, and lots more. There is also a 3-page Travel Planner that breaks down the stops and gives an idea of what type of activities you have to choose from. Some are eating, pictures, lapbook, scrapbooking, music, or audio tours. Speaking of which, there are 7 audio tours that are about an hour of listening time in total. Stops 1-24 contain printable reading texts. They’re just a few pages long for the most part. Several items such as the Guide Text I just mentioned, teacher keys, Travel Tips, and itineraries for each stop are made to be printed for use in a 3-ring binder. There are also printable covers for the front and spine of the binder. The Masters part of the download contains everything you need to create your lapbook, as well as the activities that you can choose from and game cards. You can do some or all of the activities. Activities include making rosewater, stained glass, making a Viking longship, and a catapult. There are also instructions for assembling the lapbook. It may sound daunting, but it’s broken down step by step for you. The Travel Tips pages are helpful to read before you “board” for your trip. There is even a little cookbook with Medieval recipes. My kids love recipes and love cooking. Project Passports is a very hands-on curriculum.
The download comes as a zip file. Once you open it, you’ll see multiple folders. The first thing you’ll click on is the Start file. This will open in your preferred browser. It’s basically the start of your journey through the Middle Ages. This is a really cool feature and impressed me right away! I have never seen a download file work like this before. Using this is much easier than trying to go back and forth through the folder files. Everything is in order, and there are clickable links throughout for each file and stop. I do recommend that you use your middle mouse button when clicking links, or right-clicking to open a new window. Otherwise, it opens in the same window. It begins with an Introduction, the Travel Tips, Travel Planner, and Additional Resources list. This is a list of books, music, and videos you can use (you have to buy/rent them yourself) to sort of flesh out your lessons, but they’re not a requirement.
Stops are broken down into groups of 5; this way you don’t have to scroll all the way into forever looking for the Stop you need to get to next. The Guide Book Text and Travel Itinerary for each Stop are also on this page. So really, you don’t have to print all of that out if you don’t want to; you can just read as you go. You can also go directly to the audio tours as they come up throughout the lessons.
Here are the lesson titles:
- Stops 1-3 Laying the Foundation
- Stops 4-7 Everyday Life
- Stops 8-9 Business
- Stop 10 Science and Invention
- Stop 11 Education
- Stop 12 The Arts
- Stop 13 Medicine and Disease
- Stop 14-16 The Church
- Stops 17-18 The Crusades
- Stop 19 Knights and Chivalry
- Stops 20-21 The Vikings
- Stops 22-24 Battles, Wars, and Conflicts
- Stop 25 Packing Up
How We Used it and What We Think
Okay, there is actually a lot of printing involved if you do all of the work as it’s laid out. I mean a lot; I felt overwhelmed at first. I didn’t realize how much until I received the product and really started looking at it. Go buy yourself a case of paper. Just kidding, not a whole case. Some of the printables will need to be done for each child who’s going through the study, so it really adds up.
You’ll also need some basic supplies like cardstock, tape, scissors, etc. The first 3 Stops are the longest because that’s when you put a lot of things together. Honestly, my kids got tired of all of that pretty quickly, and it can be very time-consuming. Kids in younger age groups may need some more assistance.
The kids wanted to mainly stick to the reading and activities, which was fine with me. We used Project Passports about 3 days per week and just made up our own review on the readings. It’s very comprehensive and there is a lot of work involved. If you child is motivated enough, they could potentially work through all of this on their own without much guidance. Overall, I think Project Passports is a great curriculum, but it does require a lot of printing, and that could end up being very costly if you do it all.
There are a few other options available as well, so be sure to check those out.
Be sure to read reviews from my fellow Crew Mates. There were different studies used in this review. Thanks for stopping by!