Wednesday, March 25

Renaissance Fun with Home School In the Woods! {Review}

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.
We have used several products by Home School in the Woods in the past, but Project Passport World History Study: Renaissance & Reformation is at the top of our lists of favorites. Since the boys are doing the Renaissance at the History Fair this year, we jumped at the chance to check out this amazing product, and focused specifically on the Renaissance piece of the unit.  It's worth nothing that this could be used as a quarter-long history and writing curriculum all on its own! Other titles in this series include Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, the Middle Ages, and Industrial Revolution through the Great Depression.  It would be very feasible to choose two to four of these titles and have an entire year's worth of history curriculum!

Get Organized for a Smooth Ride!
When you get the product, it downloads in a zip file which opens into a whole lot of smaller files.  It's a bit of a pain because there are so many files, BUT it's also a good thing because it gives me the option to print only those things that we'll need.  In some cases, there is a choice of color or black and white graphics.  I usually choose B&W to save on print costs.  

As the teacher, I went ahead and did some of the work ahead of time, so that they could focus on the projects themselves, rather than prepping for them. For example, I made the postcard holder – then they could just focus on the cards themselves. I also pre-printed the timeline for them to use with the figurines. Finally, while I can’t take credit for coming up with this idea, I set up a newspaper with all the sheets so that, once they have completed every stop, they will have created a complete Renaissance Reporter newspaper out of their writing assignments!

I used a 3” binder to organize everything for quick access. We separated stops by colored tabs, and each one had the itinerary, text / lesson, crafts and activities, maps, and teacher key included in its section. This made it a lot easier to just grab and go each morning. Also, I flipped through the lessons to see what supplies we would need for crafts and cooking projects. Since it is a long drive to get to a store, we have to plan ahead for any extras. Getting it organized did take some time, but it was very much worth that effort!

I like to look at the overview of all stops to see what we'll be covering each day, and also to make sure that we have any necessary supplies.  One handy tip for you -- at the bottom of each activity sheet is a number.  This code tells you which stop (the first number) and which page of that stop (the second number) the sheet corresponds to...should your pages get scrambled, it's very easy to quickly find what you need!
Digging into the Renaissance
Renaissance and Reformation focuses on everyday life, as well as the art, music, inventions, science, and literature of the Renaissance.  The Reformation focuses on figures like Martin Luther, John Calvin, and Henry VIII.  The passport features twenty-five ‘stops,’ each featuring a different aspect of life during the Renaissance and Reformation. At each stop, there is a selection of text and activities to accompany it – including timeline work, arts and crafts, and newspaper writing. Some of the stops also have an ‘audio tour,’ which is like a short audio book to go with it. The audio tours have been one of our favorite features of the program!  

Listen to an Audio File Sample & See a Sample Lesson

Some of the kids' favorite projects included:
  • Map work
  • Writing the daily paper
  • Creating a 'time brochure'
  • Playing chess
  • Using oil pastels
  • Egg tempura painting

Pros of Project Passport
  • Lends itself toward family use....throw all the kids in one room and do history together!
  • There are detailed instructions to tell you exactly how to print everything out, and how many copies of each sheet you’ll need.
  • This is a very thorough curriculum, and perfect for a hands-on learner! It has art projects, cooking, and everyday crafts, as well as audiobook components and lapbooking.
  • The itinerary is your Teacher’s Guide. It details each stop’s lesson plans and activities. Don’t lose it!
  • The Student Binder is a fantastic way to keep the work organized, plus it makes a nice keepsake for their school boxes. As an added bonus, since we are doing the Renaissance at the History Fair this year, most of their table work is already done!
  • You have an entire year of history by completing two to four of these units (depending on age -- I would use four for high school).
  • Getting organized takes a concentrated effort – but if you don’t get organized ahead of time, you’ll regret it!
  • There is a lot to print. A good printing company, such as Family Nest or The Homeschool Print Company, would be an asset here. We printed at home, and it took nearly a day just to print everything – plus another to organize it.
  • All of the components are in many many small files, rather than a couple of larger files, which makes printing take longer.
A Few More Notes…
  • The suggested grade level for Project Passport is 3-8.
  • It should take 8-12 weeks to complete the full study.
  • Visit Home School in the Woods to see all the other products they have available.
See what others are saying about Home School in the Woods over at the Schoolhouse Review Crew!
Home School in the Woods Collections - Lap-pak, Timeline Figures, History Studies & Activity-Pak {Home School in the Woods Reviews}


  1. There is an awful lot of printing for these products, but it is so worth it! Great review. We have not tried the Project Passport products yet. They do look like a lot of fun!

  2. Wow! This looks like an amazing resource. I really like how you broke down the details in this post.


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