Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.
For the past several weeks, our younger son and I have been studying the American Civil War using the Time Travelers U.S. History Studies: The Civil War from Home School in the Woods. We have had the pleasure of reviewing previous resources from Home School in the Woods including the U.S. Election Lap-Pak, Project Passport World History Studies: Renaissance & Reformation, and others. (I will link my review of these products at the end of this post if you wish to read more about them and how we used these excellent resources in our homeschool.)
I love studying the American Civil War. In fact, my history thesis in college was about a Civil War Captain, Edwin H. Little, who died at the battle of Gettysburg. I had the privilege of reading his letters to his wife. Being able to share my knowledge and love of the American Civil War era with my son brought me tremendous satisfaction.
Because I already have a firm understanding of the American Civil War and I was using the Time Travelers U.S. History Studies with my younger son, who is in the second grade, we did not use every activity or reading. In fact, I preread the lesson text and then summarized it for him. If your child falls in the recommended grade range of 3-8, then you might be able to hand over the text to them to read on their own.
If you are familiar with Home School in the Woods, you should be able to navigate the digital download with a bit more ease than a new customer. At first, it can feel daunting because there are so many wonderful resources packed into your download. And once you unzip your file and figure out what you want or need to print, you will spend time printing your lesson texts, pages that children will complete, project instructions, and maybe images of completed projects. There are some pages that you will need to print on cardstock and others that can be printed on regular white or colored paper. I recommend going through and printing the Project Masters instruction sheets first, put them in your binder, and then flip through to see which other pages you need to print. All of the time invested into preparing the materials is well worth it because you will be able to use a great number of the resources with multiple children in your family – either in one year or as your children get older. We plan on using this Time Travelers resource with our second grader this year and again in a few years when he is older and complete more of the projects independently.
What Is the Time Travelers U.S. History Study?
Time Travelers: The Civil War is recommended for grades 3–8 and is available for purchase either as a digital download (which we received) or a CD and you can get a license for your family, as a teacher, or for a school. It is created to provide your children with hands-on learning experiences while they learn about the war that crossed five Aprils. There are 25 lessons that can span five to 10 weeks depending on how slowly or how quickly you and your family progress through the materials and the number of projects you include.
Topics discussed in the study include:
- Slavery, the Underground Railroad, and Emancipation
- Bleeding Kansas, John Brown's raid at Harper's Ferry, and the Secession of the Southern States
- Several specific battles such as Bull Run, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, Petersburg, and others
- Key individuals featured in Library of Leaders and the women of the Civil War cards
- The 54th Massachusetts
- The assassination of Abraham Lincoln
If your children are older, you may want to include the timeline activity and the newspaper "The Camp Kettle." Over the course of the entire Time Travelers study, your child will add key figures and other images to the timeline as they study about them. They can also write short articles that are similar to writing prompts to include in the newspaper. For example, after reading about the battle of Antietam in lesson 9, your child will compose a piece entitled "The Bloodiest Day." I choose to save these activities for future years with our younger son.
So what will your collection look like when everything is completed? Home School in the Woods provides you with many photographs of sample projects and even the neat photo of the entire collection shown below.
|The completed collection of work presented by Home School in the Woods|
How Did We Use the Time Travelers U.S. History Study: The Civil War in Our Homeschool?
I was very excited about a number of the resources in the Time Travelers: The Civil War resource including the game "The War Across Five Aprils." Our teen son really enjoyed playing a World War I Game we reviewed several years ago, so I was happy that this resource included a game. The game was quite easy to set up. We only needed to print the pieces (which are hats that can be colored blue and gray or printed on blue and gray paper), the question cards, and the game boards. After everything was printed and colored, I attached the game board to a file folder and we were ready to play.
We played the game one evening with our sons representing the Confederacy while their dad played as the Union. (I refrained from playing as I have an unfair advantage since I am the Civil War expert in our house.) As our teen studied the American Civil War two years ago, I went through the questions to find ones that all three would be more likely to be able to answer. While there were quite a few wrong answers, including one about the Confederate submarine that sunk off the coast of Charleston, SC, both teams did quite well. In the end, even with our younger son answering one or two questions surprising both his teammate and opponent, the Union was victorious!
As I read through the text with our son, I had him complete various projects while I was reading. He worked on coloring in the uniform pages of the North and the South. We used a variety of resources, including the master copies provided by Home School in the Woods, for him to complete the uniforms. We then put it together with transparency paper so he could change the uniforms of the soldiers by flipping the transparency film.
Another activity he worked on was the Library of Leaders. He colored the covers of the mini-booklets – and then we read the biographies of the different leaders together. Some of the leaders included Generals Longstreet, Jackson, McClellan, and Grant. All of these booklets are kept in a neat box that we created together.
We have also spent time reading about the women who played key roles in the Civil War as well as learning about how the different divisions and corps were labeled. Our son picked nine of their badges and he picked out which color felt to use for each of them. I love the hands-on nature of these activities. What a great way to make concrete memories.
Included in The Time Travelers: The Civil War files are recipes so that you can plan a Civil War feast at the end of your studies. I really love the idea of the recipes but the thought of making them has me a bit scared. Our kids are really picky and I don't feel like a very talented chef. Perhaps when we complete the study in a few years, I will feel more adventurous and try out the recipes.
I really love the variety of activities that Home School in the Woods incorporates into their homeschooling resources. From reading assignments to baking, there is a great diversity of activities scattered throughout the lessons that will help your children really remember studying the American Civil War. So many people find history boring but it does not have to be when you use the resources from Home School in the Woods.
Do You Want to Learn More?
Please visit my previous reviews: Studying History with Hands-On Materials from Home School in the Woods (Project Passport: Renaissance & Reformation), Reviewing Home School in the Woods' Á La Carte Projects, I Knight Thee a Fun Product! – Hands-on History Lap-Paks (Knights), and Learning about Elections with Home School in the Woods.
Do you want to read more about the U.S. Elections Lap-Pak? Visit their post about studying the election with hands-on activities. And in case you didn't know, the Time Travelers U.S. History Study that we used is part of a series! So if you want to learn more about the American Revolution, the Industrial Revolution, or World War II, be sure to check out the other resources in the series.
If you want to read about additional ways in which you can use the materials produced by Home School in the Woods, please visit the rest of the Home School Review Crew's reviews.