Monday 6 May 2013

Homeschool in the Woods - Great Empires {Review}

Homeschool in the Woods is my favorite one stop shop for timelines. Recently they have been expanding their product line to include comprehensive Lap-Pak's. This year Sir N and I have embarked upon a chronological history tour and are quite excited to add some hands on activities from the new Great Empires History and Activities Pak from Amy. This pack is available as: download for $18.95/CD for $19.95 +shipping.

The download
I received this pack as a download (84.6 MB).  It downloaded as a zipped file which I extracted by right clicking on the zipped folder and selecting extract. I had created a folder and selected the folder and clicked extract.
Once it extracted there were four icons in the explorer. I double clicked on the Internet explorer icon (4) and the program opened in a new browser window.  No Internet connection is needed to use the download.  You come to a welcome page with some buttons to get started.
  1. Introduction and Usage page
  2. World Map
  3. Time line (time line and figures)
We printed and created the mini timeline and cut and pasted all the timeline figures onto the time line so that we would not loose any as we will be using this time line for the next three years.  As per usual Amy's figures are beautifully illustrated with plenty of detail. As we complete a level we colour in a figure.

What's included in the download
With each empire you will find
  • mapping activities
  • hands on projects
  • cooking ideas (recipe sheets)
  • Internet links
  • additional reading suggestions.

The fourteen empires included 
  1. Ancient Egypt—The New Kingdom, Akhenaten & Tutankhamen
  2. Ancient Greece—The Archaic Era, the Golden Age, Alexander the Great
  3. Ancient Rome—the founding of Rome, The Punic Wars, Julius Caesar
  4. Ancient China –The first two dynasties and then jumping forward to communism
  5. Arab/Muslim—Mohamed, Islamic invasion of Europe, the Fall of Constantinople
  6. Mongolian—Mongol culture, Genghis Khan
  7. Viking—European invasions, Erik the Red, Leif Eriksson
  8. Spanish—The Reconquista, Ferdinand & Isabella, Phillip II
  9. French—Charlemagne, Louis XIV, French Revolution, Napoleon
  10. English—Battle of Hastings, War of the Roses, Queen Victoria
  11. German—Charlemagne, Protestant Reformation, Third Reich
  12. Japanese—Shoguns, Emperors, WWII
  13. Russian—Tsars, Revolution, Soviet Union
  14. The United States of America—Revolution, Civil War, Cold War
For Ancient Egypt
We are currently working our way through The Story of the World and when we were introduced to ancient Egypt I took out my pack from Amy.

Each empire has it's own set of links.  I scrolled down to Ancient Egypt. There are eight links.

Printed out the following
  • a recipe page (Ancient Egypt - 5)
  • a mapping page for Egypt (Ancient Egypt - 1)
  • Hieroglyphs page (Ancient Egypt - 3)
I saved the PDF folder to my Galaxy Tablet and used the following pages on my tablet
  • Text page
  • Mapping Ancient Egypt instructions (Ancient Egypt -2 ), 
  • a solution key mapping page for Egypt (Ancient Egypt - TK) 
  • Make a Cartouche! (Ancient Egypt - 4)and 
  • hands on projects page (Activities)
The only thing I found difficult here was that all the buttons simply had Ancient Egypt below them with a number. This made it challenging to find the activity I wanted to do with Sir N. I eventually just opened each page had a look and if it was a student page I printed it if it was an instruction page I took note of it's name (in the tab at the top) and saved the PDF to my tablet. I feel this is the one thing that could be improved by naming what is in each button. For example rather than  Ancient Egypt - 5 have the word Recipes below the button it would make navigation much easier.

Once we had our pages printed and pdf's on the tablet we read the text page and explored Ancient Egypt via books from the local library. Amy provides  a full page of links to explore on the Internet as well as a list of suggested reading.  We borrowed The Cat of Bubastes: A Tale of Ancient Egypt by GA Henty from a friend.  WE really enjoyed listening to this audio book together read by Jim Weiss.

Sir N coloured and added to the map over the week as we learned about different areas. We also cooked one of the recipes provided and enjoyed a taste of Egyptian cuisine.

Over all
This pack is not a full curriculum covering these empires.  It is as it's name says an activity guide.  Amy has put together hands on activities to supplement your studies covering 14 great empires over time. These activities are mainly mapping, suggested books to read, Internet links cooking and a project demonstrating something particular from that era. We have enjoyed using this pack as a supplement to what we are studying and look forward to using it over the next four years to round off our studies.  Amy has put together an excellent resource which is easy to use and does not take up a lot of preparation yet gives Sir N plenty of hands of activity followed by some taste of the era.  We look forward to exploring Ancient Greece and adding in what ever Amy has in store for us.

Homeschool in the Woods Products

Free Unit Studies
Connect with Amy from Homeschool in the Woods
Don't forget to pop on over to read more reviews from the crew.  Three different packs were reviewed.


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