I received this complimentary product through the Homeschool Review Crew.
We’re well-acquainted with Homeschool in the Woods (HSITW), but this is the first time we’ve worked on a Time Travelers U.S. History Studies project, so I was curious what the World War II history study contained and how it varied from the other studies they have.
Why Study World War II from the American Point of View if You’re Not American?
Let’s answer this questions first, before I get into the product review. I’m from Canada and Phil and I are raising our children in his homeland of Northern Ireland. Why would we want our children to learn about WWII from an American perspective? There are a few reasons for this, and I’ll explain a couple of them briefly.
Firstly, there is a lot of information from this perspective, including homeschool classes, books, and movies, which makes it easy to do.
The USA is a long way from the frontlines in comparison to here in the UK, so the experiences were very different – in our village we’re within walking distance of a backyard underground shelter, a hill-top lookout for incoming bombers, as well as a field airbase. Phil’s grandmother made parachutes at a factory in a nearby town. This brings things closer to home for our family.
I think it’s important to learn more than just one perspective on any topic. We have started with the USA perspective, but now we are verging off and learning about how life on the Homefront in the USA compared to life near London, as well as our area. From the Belfast Blitz, to the different rations, it’s very interesting. Even reading in the news a couple of weeks ago about a boy finding an unexploded WWII grenade that washed up on shore in Bangor, there are still reminders of this time in history.
Northern Ireland, in particular, has a divided community, which I won’t go into here, but our family strives to be inclusive and learn about and respect the views of others, in history and in the present day.
What We Received
We received a zip file that included all of the lesson texts, project instructions, and PDF templates for all of the projects. A lesson schedule was also included.
As with other HSITW studies, there is a lot of prep work involved in printing out the texts, instructions, booklets, and project pieces ahead of beginning the study. To help keep everything tidy, I used comb bindings, which work very well for us.
What you’ll need:
Almost everything you need is included in the downloads, but you will need a few extra items:
- Printer (mostly black ink, but some in colour as well)
- White and coloured paper as well as card stock
- Acetate (we used clear comb binding covers)
- Scissors, glue, pencil crayons, permanent markers
- File folder
- Food for recipes
- Field trips
How We Used World War II Time Travelers
HSITW products are great for summer studies, in my opinion. What we did is go all-in; we set aside almost all other classes and immersed the children in World War II for a few hours everyday for 3 weeks, which was almost enough time to complete the study, although we are still tying up a few loose ends and exploring additional local resources.
Each day I would read aloud the lesson text, and then the children would each do the mapping and copywork, and then divide up the remaining projects between them. Then we’d gather again to go through the completed projects, learning more about them.
The children worked through the lessons, watched some television and movies, as well as visiting local areas and museums that were involved in WWII here in Northern Ireland.
Many Lessons involve:
There are 25 lessons, with every fifth lesson a catch-up day to complete projects from the previous four lessons. There are so many singular projects throughout the study, but there are some that repeat in most lessons, such as:
- Reading of the lesson text
- Mapping battles
- Penmanship – copying quotes from WWII
- Writing newspaper articles
- Preparing elements for the lapbook
- Adding to the Timeline
World War II Projects
There are dozens of individual projects in America in World War II. Just a small number of them are in the image below to give you an idea of them. Some are small, such as the blue star in the window, while others are larger, such as the ration books, the Library of Leaders, painting a souvenir pillowcase, and trying out war-time recipes (some of these were familiar to my children from our ‘regular’ meals, such as potato soup, cocoa, and savory biscuits).
Many of the smaller projects were part of larger ones such as a lapbook, a Hero Worth Knowing: John F. Ebel, Military Weaponry, and learning what axis and allied soldiers wore to battle.
The POW Stationary was interesting and suggestions for creating a care-package for those serving overseas are great ideas that have been included. We have send cards in the past (even hearing back from a fellow Canadian mother in action), as well as a care package to a cousin on a naval ship during his first Christmas away from his family in the States.
What Did We Think About Time Travelers World War II?
I don’t recall having learned about WWII in school myself, and wars are not a topic I enjoy, including big screen movies. However, this being said, I thought it was important for my children to begin learning more ‘recent’ history, including conflicts.
We have all learned a lot, and have discovered how names and terminology from this time period can still be found in contemporary society. Learning how some of the battles were named (Battle of the Bulge, for example), to viewing propaganda posters and learning the meanings behind them, and my daughter zeroed in on the importance of women to the war effort.
World War II Time Travelers gives a good overall view of the time period, without getting gruesome. The content is a well-rounded introduction, and if further exploration of WWII is desire, there are links to some additional resources or you can interweave or use to create a further class around the aspects that interest your student most. I love when studies can stand on their own or evolve further, and Homeschool in the Woods understands this, too.
More About HSITW
We’ve reviewed many products by HSITW, which you can read:
Learn Even More!
Click here to read 36 more reviews about Homeschool in the Woods by the Homeschool Review Crew. You will find reviews on their History Through The Ages Timelines, Time Travelers U.S. History Studies, Activity Paks, Project Passport World History Studies projects, as well as the Essential Timeline Library.
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