My, oh my! I've truly had the pleasure of reviewing one of the
most organized and well-thought-out programs I've ever seen. Time
Travelers: The Early 19th Century in America from Homeschool
in the Woods is a fantastic, hands-on unit study resource for 3
rd -8 th graders. By the end of the 5-10 week study, your children
will have covered early American history from George Washington
all the way through the Wild West. And a jam-packed three-ring
binder (which you provide) will house documentation of all the
fun and learning your family experienced.
Why such a large span of 5-10 weeks given to complete the study?
The program is extremely flexible. You are supplied with a simple
chart of proposed study, but depending on your family's needs,
you can easily choose to extend the lessons with extra projects
provided for you. A large bibliography of additional literature,
videos, and audios is suggested too, which can lengthen the time
you spend immersed in the time period.
The program comes on a CD that supplies you with an abundance
of PDF resources. For those new to Time Traveler studies, the author
provides you with a set of easy-to-read planning pages. Within
those pages, she explains how to tackle the unit, gives encouragement
to make the lessons fit your needs, lists extra supplies you'll
need, and shows you how to compile the project binders. Speaking
of the binders, you won't believe the beautifully photographed
gallery demonstrating what all the completed pages and projects
should look like upon completion! Ms. Pak has even included four
printable covers you might like to use for your binder.
Each of the 25 lessons can be accessed on the CD in several ways,
making it super simple to find the things that go with each lesson.
Everything required for one lesson is located in its own clearly
specified file. So, for example, if you need to find the timeline
figures that go with lesson four, you can find them very quickly
without having to scroll through everything else provided for lesson
All the lessons begin with the reading of a two or three-page
section of text. You can choose to copy the text or read it from
the CD. After reading, you will find penmanship pages, timeline
templates and figures, lapbook activities, a song of the era, and/or
other suggested hands-on projects. Because the study spans a large
age range, the author provides you with five different levels of
penmanship. You'll also love the timeline templates, which are
almost foolproof for your children and which include many, many
events and important people, making the timeline very thorough.
Your jaw will drop as you notice every single lapbook activity
explained, illustrated, or photographed in detail. And the hands-on
activity ideas are meaningful and appropriate to the particular
Ms. Pak has incorporated more than one project per lesson, allowing
you choices in learning. The "leftover" ideas are where extra activities
for extending the unit come from. To culminate your unit, there
is a chuck wagon celebration that is sure to be exciting for the
As much as I love this product, I can think of two things that
might strike fear in some homeschoolers. First, there are a lot
of copies to make. For each lesson you are expected to make copies
of a penmanship page, songbook page, timeline, timeline figures,
and lapbook templates or other project pages for each of your children.
Some of these are meant to be copied on more expensive cardstock
and/or colored paper. Because of the nature of the CD and the fact
that various pages need to be copied on various papers, it would
not be easy to send a file to an office store for quick copying
Second, although the organization of the lesson parts in separate
PDF files is wonderful for finding what you need quickly, it can
be a tad intimidating for those who are used to scrolling a single
file for everything they need. In other words, even though clicking
through the files for each lesson is a breeze, some people may
prefer everything on one click.
In short, there is definitely some prep time necessary for making
copies and gathering supplies, and there might be a slight learning
curve to get used to the organization. However, the final product,
depth of learning, and fun lessons are 100% worth the effort!