Homeschool in the Woods Review & Giveaway

I’m so excited to try a new history unit this year! While we’ve used Abeka in the past, and it’s been fine, I really wanted to have a little more fun this year and do something out of the box. Sometimes you’re just ready for a change!



After careful consideration we’ve chosen to go with the Homeschool in the Woods Middle Ages unit to start with. We’ve done several years of United States History and it is time to start looking into some world history.

We haven’t started yet, but after looking through it and getting everything ready I wanted to share some of my first thoughts on the curriculum as well as how we set it all up.

–> And make sure to read to the end, because I have a great giveaway for you too!


First Impressions:

My first impression of this curriculum is that it is going to be lots of fun! It is very hands on, and we love lapbooking and notebooking over here, so it’s a great fit for us. The activities look engaging and the text is definitely thorough but not boring. For every lesson there are several different activities you can chose from. I don’t plan to do absolutely everything they included (and they include a LOT of activities), but we did go through and pick out which ones sound most do-able for us.

My second thought is that it is very thorough! They have definitely done a lot of research and work to make this curriculum not only detailed, but enjoyable. Definitely NOT your average dry and boring history curriculum.

The majority of activities are lapbook or notebooking related, so they don’t require much more than paper and cardstock. There are however lots of other recipes, crafts, and games included that make it look like a lot of fun!

I would also like to mention that the artwork included in this unit is awesome, and the instructions are VERY good. It is clearly evident that they put a lot of time and effort into creating this curriculum.


Organizing the Middle Ages History Unit:

One of the first things I noticed when I first popped in the CD, is that it was a little overwhelming. But once I figured out their setup it wasn’t so bad. And they have very detailed instructions on what to do which helped tremendously.

That said, I set mine up a little differently I’m sure, but I figure if my tips can help you all, then I’m happy to share. So this is how I organized our unit…

Supplies you’ll need:

  • Colored Cardstock
  • White Cardstock
  • Regular Copy Paper
  • Lots of computer ink
  • 1 (3-ring) binder for you
  • 1 (3-ring) binder for each of your students
  • I also made a list of craft supplies we will need as I went through the lessons.


Step 1: Organize the teacher’s materials.

The first thing I did was to look over the CD and pick out the teacher’s lesson PDF files. I then printed all of the “stop itineraries(lessons)” and set them aside.

It took a little time, but once I figured out which PDFs were for me everything went smoothly.

Note: One thing to point out is that each of the lessons is a separate PDF. This is probably helpful if you do not plan to do every lesson. However I think for the teacher’s section I would’ve preferred to have one big Teacher’s Manual to print. Instead you do have to print the pages for Stop 1, Stop 2, Stop 3, etc., individually. (Stop refers to “Lesson” in their terms. You know because you’re traveling and making stops. It’s more fun to say “Our next stop is…”  than “Today we’re on lesson…” right?)

And here’s my pretty teacher’s binder all done!



Step 2: Print the text/reading pages.

For each lesson there is a reading text PDF that you’ll want to print out. I suppose you can keep this on your iPad or computer, but for me I like having things printed. So I printed all of those in order for each stop and set them aside.

Again all of the lesson text pages are individual PDFs so printing took some time. Thankfully they are all in one folder on the CD so it wasn’t too hard to locate them all.


Step 3: Organize the Teacher’s Binder.

I purchased a 1” 3-ring binder for my materials. Inside I organized them like so:

Stop Itinerary/lesson plan on top, followed by reading text for that lesson, followed by any additional maps and teacher’s keys.

So in my binder it looks like Stop 1 followed by Text 1, Stop 2 followed by Text 2, and so on. I also added any maps or teacher keys behind the text for that stop. That way I can locate them easily. You can see this in the image below.



Next I put divider tabs between the stops and the Timeline teacher’s key. Since they add to the timeline as you go through the lessons, I wanted to have it all in one place for easy reference so I didn’t separate out those sheets behind the lessons like the other materials.




Step 4: Read through each Stop and choose your activities.

As I mentioned before each stop has several activities to choose from. I doubt we’ll be able to do absolutely everything, so I went through and marked the things that I knew I wanted to do for sure. I figure later on if I want to add something in I can.

As I read through the lessons, I also marked the crafts or recipes we plan to try. I also created a shopping list of supplies so I can go get them all at one time. With the exception of recipe ingredients that might go bad, I will go get our craft supplies before starting so we’re prepared.


Step 5: Print Student Materials.

This portion definitely took the longest to accomplish. After selecting our activities in step 4, I went back through the stops and printed materials for our year. Each activity comes with very specific printing instructions. For example one might say:

Print 2 copies of page M-1-1 on colored cardstock

Print 1 copy of page M-1-2 on white cardstock

Print 1 copy of page M-1-3 on copy paper

So I followed their instructions exactly, and printed enough materials for all 3 of my kiddos participating. The Teeny Tot will participate in some of the crafts, recipes, and games, but she won’t be expected to do a notebook.


You might consider printing as you go so you don’t waste materials if you decide not to do something. But I find that we get so busy during the year, I really don’t have time to do a lot of busy work like printing.

So for me, it’s just easier to print ahead of time. Plus if I have it ready to go I’m much more likely to actually do it.


Step 6: Organize Student Materials.

Next I went through and sorted all of the items I just printed in step 5. Anything I knew would be added to their student binder I 3 hole-punched just so it would be ready to go.

I then stacked the pages together in order and paper clipped 1 lesson’s worth of print-outs for all 3 of my students together in one bundle. So it looks like this now…



Step 7: Set up the Student Binder.

The next thing I did was set up the student binder. Each one of my kids will get their own binder. There is an option for a lapbook at the end of the year, and we may put one together, but for now we’ll keep our materials in their binder, and I’ll probably have them add the mini-book activities to their binder as well, maybe just glued to a piece of cardstock and inserted into their binder. We’ll see as we go.



Just to make life simpler, I also prepared a couple of things I knew would save us time as we went through the lessons.

The Newspaper: One thing they add to throughout the year is a newspaper. So I went ahead and printed the newspaper pages and stapled them together so that when we get to those lessons I can simply have them add their article to the newspaper. At the end of the year, they’ll have a completed paper!



Post Cards: I also premade the postcard holder. For each lesson they’ll be adding post cards to it, and I decided that the holder would be easier to have done ahead of time. That way they can focus on creating their post card, and not having to make the holder.



Timeline: I also printed their timeline and added it behind the post card holder as well. This way they can add their timeline figures to it as we go. They are the blue pages behind the green post card rack in the above photo.


So what started out looking like this…



Now looks like this…



Make sure to hang on to the CD because there are listening/audio activities as well and you’ll want to keep your CD close by.

Total Prep Time = 1 Day

I definitely spent an entire literally FULL day printing and organizing all of this material. But I think all of the prep work will be worth it.

I’m hoping it will make our year go much smoother and now that it’s done, we’re all ready to get started!

And of course, I’ll be sharing posts on our progress through this curriculum and a more formal review later on with our experiences.




Of course if you know me at all, you know that I have a giveaway for The Middle Ages unit for one of you today too!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I love how organized you are! It all looks ready to go.

  2. Project Passport: Renaissance & Reformation looks like a fun unit study. Thanks!

  3. Bonnie Boucek says:

    The Middle Ages

  4. They all look really interesting – probably middle ages or new world explorers though.

  5. Lynn Ashburn says:

    The Middle Ages please! 😉

  6. I think ALL their materials look fun! We already have their timeline book and CD, but have never tried any of their other materials. Maybe it is time to!

  7. I want it all! I love history! But…I think the new lap book units would be great for my youngest, he really loves hands-on activities!

  8. They all look fun! I’d be happy with any of them!

  9. Middle Ages would be a great choice for my family.

  10. Looks like so much fun. We love hands on learning here.

  11. The Middle Ages

  12. They all look good bug I would love to try out one of the us history ones since that is what we are studying this year. Maybe the civil war

  13. Shaura miller says:

    Thank you for introducing us to this amazing resource! I would choose renaissance and reformation.

  14. They all look fantastic, but Middle Ages would be a good fit for us :)

  15. Elicia pietras says:

    The middle ages

  16. The Early 19th Century in America looks interesting. All of them look like fun!

  17. I think the U.S. Time Traveler’s looks fun! (Would love the Middle Ages though!).

  18. I have been looking at the Middle Ages Passport guide for a while and have been tossed up between that and Knights for my youngish kiddos. I am glad you posted about it. It does look great and I can see the value of getting it all printed out and organized ahead of time. I don’t know how many things I have had to skip because I was not prepared. It looks really good – I am sold.

  19. We are just getting into U.S. History, so that would be great for us!

  20. The Renaissance and Reformation or the World War II unit!

  21. New World Explorers, to get started!

  22. Middle Ages would be a great place for us to start our family history studies!

  23. We would love The Middle Ages unit. As always Thank You for all the great info!

  24. Karen Partin says:

    Middle Ages

  25. Your style is unique in comparison to other folks I have read stuff from.
    Thanks for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I’ll just bookmark this web site.

  26. Colonial Life looks fun.

  27. U.s. History!

  28. I think all of the units look like fun and my kids would love them :)

  29. I like the Colonial Life – I remember loving learning about that in school when I was a kid!

  30. kelley Kohout says:

    I just got finished putting together the same things for our homeschool. Lots of work, so glad its done and ready to go:-)

  31. We are studying US History right now. I have my eye on the timeline materials.

  32. Priscilla B says:

    Middle Ages look so fun!

  33. The American Revolution, The Civil War, and World War II. This would be great for my son!

  34. Lindsay Cheng says:

    Both the Middle Ages and Renaissance and Reformation look great!

  35. We will be studying U.S. History this year – focusing on the the States. But the Revolutionary War has always been my favorite!

  36. They all look amazing. The US history units would be perfect for my son. This is our first year homeschooling and your site is invaluable to me! Thanks for the giveaway! :)

  37. I think many of their Time Traveler sets look fun! The bundle would be nice to use. Their products are beautiful. I think the Timeline set they offer also looks like it would be handy. Thanks for this review and giveaway!

  38. I’m considering getting the 19th century CD – and maybe the holiday one. We just finished early American history through 1789 and are starting from the new nation being formed. I’m hoping to get through the Civil War this year and then start the Prairie Companion/Little House on the Prairie books next fall (or next summer). It’s slow going with my one daughter, because she has some learning challenges and it’s important that she understands the material, so what takes others a week may take us a few weeks – or a month. But that’s ok! :)

  39. The Middle Ages please! :)

  40. Miranda Todd says:

    The Middle Ages!

  41. I think the Renaissance & Reformation unit looks fun!

  42. The Civil War looks great!

  43. Lisa Whitlock says:

    The Middle Ages would be perfect for us! I love that we can all get truly immersed in the Middle Ages. What better way to learn? :)

  44. Love the Time Travelers!

  45. I would like to try the HISTORY Through the Ages Project Passport World History Study: Renaissance & Reformation. The inventions would capture my boys attention and the arts my girl, it sounds like a great place to start. Thanks

  46. HISTORY Through the Ages: Time Travelers American History Studies
    Love these but they all look good!

  47. Time Travelers
    U.S. History Studies

    I am having a tough time deciding between these three…The Civil War , The Industrial Revolution
    through the Great Depression , and World War II. Probably the Industrial Revolution through the Great Depression, because I don’t have a lot of resources for that time period.

  48. Jennifer Hall says:

    I think the Great Empires unit looks pretty cool.

  49. They all look fantastic but I think my kids and I would enjoy the US history right now.

  50. Anything with the US history

  51. I think the Colonial Life would be fun for my 8 year old! :) Thanks for a chance to win!!

  52. We would love to use HISTORY Through the Ages
    Time Travelers American History Study: The American Revolution! Or actually any of them would be wonderful!

  53. I am so glad you posted this review. I was considering the New World Explorers unit for my own kids this year. That’s the one I am most interested in. :)

  54. Karen from CO says:

    The Time Travelers New World Explorers looks fun! (Or any of the Time Travelers US!) Great giveaway!

  55. The Colonial Life Time Traveler’s unit looks fun!

  56. We are studying US History this year so the Time Travelers American History series looks wonderful.

  57. HISTORY Through the Ages – looks neat to delve into! Thanks for your post – you are a wealth of information!

  58. I’d probably say New World Explorers :)

  59. New World Explorers! Thank you!!

  60. We will be doing early American history next year, so I am now very interested in Colonial Life and the American Revolution. The timelines look great too!

  61. HISTORY Through the Ages: Project Passport World History Studies I like the overview!

  62. us history

  63. I think the colonial life would be fun to do as well as the middle ages one

  64. This looks great! The Time Travel:Civil War series looks particularly interesting!

  65. So many look great … I’ve spent hours on the HITW website looking over them all. Right now it’s a toss-up between the Renaissance study and the Knights lapbook for younger learners.

  66. The WWII one would be perfect for us this year – we’ll be studying it soon!

  67. IT seems like a very fun curriculum

  68. Middle Ages!!! I love HS in the Woods!!

  69. I like the Middle Ages!

  70. The Middle Ages looks fun, so does the US History set. It all looks good!

  71. I think the Great Empires would be awesome.

  72. Middle Ages would be great for us! Thanks for the chance to win!

  73. What a neat resource! I think the New World Explorers would be a great start.

  74. Kristina Best says:

    Renaissance & Reformation

  75. Time Travelers American History Study: New World Explorers
    My kids would love the pirate unit!

  76. We have used several of their materials as well. I would love to get the Middle Ages or Timeline Figure set next. I love how organized everything is.

  77. The Middle Ages looks exciting. :)

  78. Lots look fun. I’ll pick America in WWII.

  79. New World Explorers looks pretty interesting!

  80. They all look pretty fun, but the American Revolution with the candle dipping would be fun!

  81. I think I might like to start with New World Explorers to test it out but they all look great.

    I see they say Grades 3-8. What are your thoughts on that having looked at it, obviously I think you have a younger than 3rd grader doing it right?

  82. Jocelyn Tucker says:

    The Middle Ages or The Industrial Revolution through the Great Depression

  83. Jennifer Anderson says:

    US history please.

  84. Definitely Colonial Life!

  85. We have done a couple of these studies and I love them! I’d love to get their Renaissance and Reformation Project Passport! I love all the hands on things–maybe even more than my girls do! :)

  86. I think US History is where I would like to start. Although, the world history looks like a lot of fun too! 😀

  87. It really does look like fun. Middle Ages and US History.

  88. The Middle Ages or Renaissance & Reformation.

  89. Would love to try the Middle Ages as well.

  90. I think the Middle Ages would be most interesting to my 10 year old son. All the barbarianism and black death and knights and sword fights….you get the picture. He would LOVE that! :-)

  91. Renaissance pack!

  92. Any of the U.S. History

  93. American Revolution. We just started using New World Explorers. Thanks!

  94. Kerlina Vinyard says:

    Middle Ages. It would have been Ancient History but it doesn’t appear that they have that unit yet.

  95. My kids would love the colonial times unit!

  96. Time Travelers. THANK YOU so much, Erica, for this post. You are always so very helpful. Sending you blessings!

  97. Kristi King says:

    How does one choose? There are so many great looking unit studies offered. For what I need in my homeschool right now, the History of the Holidays would be wonderful!!!!

  98. I think the middle age will be greatly loved by my kiddos

  99. I’d like to try any of them but especially Renaissance & Reformation.

  100. Looks great!

  101. It .looks great

  102. All the US History packs look great!

  103. So hard to pick one I love the best but we have The Old Testament acitivity pack and we love it!

  104. Renaissance and Reformation

  105. There are so many that seem interesting that it would be hard to pick! The industrial revolution would be a good change of pace for the kids though.

  106. The Middle Ages!
    Thanks a lot

  107. middle ages looks awesome

  108. The History of Holidays looks fun and like something my girls would enjoy.

  109. U.S. History looks like fun.

  110. I like the US History Project Passport

  111. They all look great, but I’m a big fan of the Middle Ages & would love to do that one with my kiddos.

  112. Really want the Middle Ages, please!

  113. I love the Middle Ages one, too!

  114. Their timeline materials look amazing and I like that all history is put together in images, from ancient to modern.

  115. Jaimee Greene says:

    I would love the Civil War or any of the U.S. history

  116. For me, it’s a toss up between The Middle Ages and the American Revolution.

  117. My kids and I would be grateful for any of the Ancient History or Modern History packs. Thanks in advance, Erica!

  118. I like the History through the ages American History. It’s hard to narrow down to just one when the entire series looks amazing.

  119. Tracy Gillen says:

    Any of the Time Travelers: American History Study look great!

  120. It is hard to say which unit I like best on the Homeschool in the Woods website because all their stuff looks so good! Okay, if I HAVE to pick, I choose Renaissance & Reformation. I haven’t seen much curriculum that covers this time frame and we need to study it in our homeschool this year.

  121. Hi, Erica! We are starting out school year now and still using our RT USA curriculum from last year and loving it! We spent a whole week in Massachusetts and another in Virginia. Its hard to fit so much history and so many influential people in a few days. Once we are finished, I would love to do the Homeschool in the Woods Middle Ages. I first found HSITW on your chosen curriculum list for 2014-2015. I think the kids would love it just as much as their beloved RT USA. Wishing you all a fantastic year with lots of learning and fun! Amber

  122. Mrs Brittany says:

    oh my gosh! who is this company?! i need them, really, i do. i like the timeline notebook and figures. i will have to beg for them for Christmas…

  123. I love, love, love Homeschool in the Woods! I’ve used a lot of their Time Travelers Series, but I haven’t gotten to use any of the Project Passports yet! I think the Middle Ages looks like SOOO much fun!

  124. I would like to try colonial life. Thanks for introducing this curriculum. It looks very interesting!

  125. The Middle Ages b/c we will b starting that later this school year.

  126. Well that looks fun! If I win the giveaway you might get a question from me asking for tips on how to keep printing affordable 😉

  127. I’ve been wanting to try the Middle Ages unit.

  128. Probably the Middle Ages because we’re studying that time this year. I have several of the US history ones.

  129. erin allport says:

    I love the time travelers sets! We have the colonial one and the activities are great! Would love the middle ages set for next year!!!

  130. They all look great. I think for our young student hands on history Knights lap-pak sounds exciting!!

  131. We’ve actually completed many of Homeschool in the Woods studies and loved them all! I’m currently eyeballing the brand new studies for the k-2nd crowd….especially the knights study.

  132. I think the colonial time travelers would be fun.

  133. We are using this history for this year, as well. We are in our 3rd week of school already and my children ADORE this curriculum! It is a bit of printing our work on my part (I have 5 students plus my kindergartner), so I’m doing 4 stops at a time. It’s just way too much printing all at once! I am also finding some videos, published from The History Channel on You tube, to supplement different aspects of what we’re currently talking about. You can do this with other books, as well. My goal is to make this last until Christmas and then we’ll to the Renaissance next Spring.

    You and your children are going to enjoy this program very much!! (I am not writing this to enter your giveaway, so please don’t count my number. I just wanted to give my thumbs up, as well!)

  134. Renaissance and Reformation or New World Explorers. We are using Middle Ages this year too.

  135. I have looked at the Homeschool in the Woods products for a while now, but I just wasn’t sure if they were for us. After this wonderful and extensive review, I am sure these products would be a good match for our family. Keeping my fingers crossed we win! The Middle Ages looks like so much fun – I bet any of them are. Thank you!

  136. The Middle Ages would be a perfect fit

  137. Colonial Life looks fun!!!

  138. I like the New World Explorers.

  139. Stephanie Boyd says:

    We’d start with New World Explorers!

  140. Colonial Life looks awesome!

  141. Middle Ages!

  142. I would choose “New World Explorers.”


  143. Middle Ages or Explorers

  144. I think either Middle Ages or New World Explorers….can’t decide which!

  145. I’d love to try one of the early US History studies. I can’t wait to read more about how your kids like the Middle Ages study, it looks like a lot of fun.

  146. I like the renaissance one. Though middle ages is a close 2nd.

  147. The whole series looks very complete and fun. Would love to see the ancients added soon! Thanks for showcasing such a great history gem.

  148. Great Empires!

  149. I’d love any of the US history!

  150. Amber Rufener says:

    Middle Ages definitely sounds fun! I’m looking forward to seeing how this curriculum works out for you, as I’ve used some of your recommendations in the past!

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