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Monday, March 19, 2018

Á La Carte Projects: A Review

We have used products from Home School in the Woods in the past, so we already know that we love their items. Recently they offered Crew members the opportunity to try out their Á La Carte products. I was so happy when they announced this section on their website last summer, and we found a lot of neat products that we could use!

What are Á La Carte projects?

Home School in the Woods is a very user-friendly company. They know what it's like to homeschool because they are a homeschool family themselves! They realized that families doing unit studies might like a project or two to include with their lessons. Or maybe there is a specific item in their larger curriculum packages that you'd like to use, but just don't need the entire package. That's why they have separated many of their projects out in this Á La Carte section. When we reviewed their Make-A-State Activity Pak, they had just released an Erie Canal Lap Book Project. That was very convenient, because we had just studied the Erie Canal and my son had chosen to do a New York lapbook!

The War Between the States Timeline:

Just a few weeks ago we started studying the Civil War time period, so this was a perfect addition to our lessons. When we studied the American Revolutionary War, we made our own smaller timeline and added a single card to show the war on our wall timeline. There are so many events and items that influenced or occured the Civil War, that I was planning on doing this the same way. I was very happy to have most of the work already done! I have read reviews for Home School in the Woods timelines in the past and LOVE them. I dream of owning their large set. I knew this timeline would be perfect for our lessons.

The project comes as a PDF download of 29 pages. This file is clearly organized into sections - instructions, a blank timeline (which has suggested placement in small letters), five pages of timeline figures, and a completed timeline. I printed the first three sections on different papers.

I followed the instructions to assemble the timeline, then sat down with the kids and asked what we had already learned about. We picked just two items, or "timeline figures." As we have held our history lesson each week, we look over the timeline figures and add what we have learned about. Each child is helping to assemble our timeline, though I could have chosen to have each child assemble their own.

Our lessons, as written, will not cover all of the Figures included with this timeline. That's pretty neat because as we look over the blank spots I anticipate the children will ask what or who that Figure is, which will give us an opportunity to further explore the Civil War period. If we choose not to explore every item that is okay too! But with Home School in the Woods, there's always an opportunity to dive as deep into a subject as you desire. That's one reason I love this company so much.

My kids love timelines and have seen the value of them from the very first week we began homeschooling, so this timeline just fits into what is natural for us. My girls love that they get to color the Figures before gluing them to the timeline, my son likes that I am not making him cut and color so many pages as he has had to do with other projects from this company. But it's true, everyone appreciates having a timeline that is specific to our current lessons.

Another item that I found intriguing is The War Across Five Aprils File Folder Game. This would have gone along with our studies of the Civil War and would be a fun way to review events.

The Art of Quilling:

This project was originally a part of "Time Travelers: Colonial Life." This is a smaller PDF, only six pages. It has basic instructions and tips for how to quill, a little bit of history, and a pattern to complete (shown below.) Even though the file is small, this is a great introduction to quilling and provides enough information for a beginner to get started.
My sister, who has great quilling talent, recently gave my daughter, M, a quilling starter kit. M thought this Á La Carte project sounded like a fun way to practice her new skills, and it worked out perfectly that she already had the necessary tools and supplies! She says the history about quilling was interesting, she had no idea that this wasn't a modern art.

She got started on it right away and completed the project in just a few days. Then she started working on other projects to practice this skill. She had played with the quilling kit a little before this, but these flowers were one of her first full projects.

She did mention that this project doesn't give suggested paper lengths to coil, so she had to experiment with the coils to get them the right size. (The pattern is a light outline drawing, you can see that if you look closely at the lowest leaf in her project above.) In the instruction books that came with her tools there are suggested lengths. She felt this project was a little more difficult because of that, but I felt that was a good way for her to expand her skills and enhance her creativity as she figured out what size each coil should be.

You can read our previous reviews of products from Home School in the Woods here:

Be sure to check out the rest of the Crew members reviews, we picked quite a variety of the Á La Carte projects! Which one will you pick to use with your lessons?

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