With spring Homeschool Conventions around the corner, many people are starting to plan their fall curricula. Before you head out to start buying I want to tell you about something I use every year. I’ve written many times about Hands and Hearts History Kits in passing, but I wanted to give you an in-depth review of one of them and tell you about a special deal they are having right now–15% off any order, including their history kits, through June 11. In the interest of disclosure, I do want to tell you that I get a coupon for 75% off a kit for reviewing their product, and I’ll be entered into a drawing to win a Kindle for doing so. :)That being said, as you can see from all the other times I’ve talked about their history kits, I’d talk about them even if I didn’t get a coupon or a chance to win a Kindle. I love them and my children love them. When you order from Hands and Heart, use my special promo code “Lara” and get 15% off your order.
This is specifically about the Ancient Greece and Rome History Kit. We used it this spring, as well as the Ancient Egypt Kit last fall. This was my second time studying history chronologically with my kids to use the kits. While I have changed many of the other resources I use, these History Kits are staples in my schedule.
The kit comes in a nice, sturdy, white cardboard box with all the materials included for the projects, a CD-rom with instructions, copywork and notebooking pages, as well as maps to print. You can also get an additional student kit for a small charge. Additional student kits only includes the items you will need multiples of, not instruction cd’s or anything like that, so they are quite practical and a good value. There are lots of projects to choose from, so you can get a good year of projects (or more) from each kit. The directions are clear and easy to follow–they are actually written to the children, and include encouragement for the children to clean up their messes (that is most appreciated!). I would be totally comfortable allowing my middle and late elementary school aged children to read the instructions and do these on their own, but the early elementary still need supervision. Plus they’re so much fun I like to participate too. And you don’t have to run to the store–everything you need is in the box. There are some exceptions to this, such as fruit needed for the Ancient Egypt’s mummy making project (another favorite at our house!) but do you really want people to ship you an orange?
Here’s how I use the Hands and Hearts History Kits: first, I list all the projects and resources included in the kits on the spreadsheet I use for planning my history curricula. I look at what we’ll be studying when, and incorporate the activities when they make sense. For example, when we studied Greek Architecture, we used the “How to Draw Greek Columns” activity. Even my four-year old wanted to draw columns! All of my children now recognize the different types of columns and as we drive around town call out what kind they see.
When we read about the beautiful frescos on Crete, we made frescos from the kit.
In addition to the History Kits, I also purchased an Ancient History Portfolio for each child (except the preschooler) and History Pockets: Ancient Rome and History Pockets: Ancient Civilizations. The three products integrate seamlessly with my personal book lists for a complete history for all ages. For my elementary aged children, I used Ancient History Portfolio Junior. You can get a Jr. Bundle that includes the colored maps that are used in the map work included in the Portfolio. We read aloud tons of books on the topic, and incorporate a Hands and Hearts History Kit activity once a week or so. My middle school aged daughter used the Ancient History Portfolio. Please note if you have multiple children, you only need one bundle.The maps that are included in the bundle, and the Teacher’s Guide for the regular level Portfolio are non-consumable and can be reused. Hands and Hearts has fabulous prices on these portfolios, so I’d place my order for the History Kits and Portfolios quickly before the portfolios are gone:).
The History Portfolios have recommended readings from very good books that you can use, or you can use another Ancient History curriculum of your choice. Because there are fewer projects with less writing in the Jr. History Portfolios, I used the History Pockets to come up with other projects for my kids to do while I read aloud. In addition, the History Kit cards make fabulous copywork. Any History Pocket or History Kit project that was flat went into the History Portfolio notebook. Obviously you can’t put in the pots you paint, or the frescoes, but you can take pictures and include them that way. My kids love to show off their History Portfolios and History Kit projects to their Dad and grandparents. It’s amazing how much these products help them retain what they’ve learned. As they explain their pages or projects they review what we’ve studied effortlessly. Some of the most memorable activities we’ve done during our study of history have come from the History Kits–Happy Girl (13) loved painting the fresco in the Ancient Greece and Rome Kit, Scooter Man (9) can’t wait to build another catapult from the Middle Ages Kit, Blue Eyes(7) enjoyed making a sparkly mosaic placemat, and Doodlebug (4) was happy to do it all!
Think about incorporating a Hands and Hearts History Kit in your history plans for the fall. They have several to choose from: Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece and Rome, Ancient Far East (perfect if you use Sonlight Core 5 Eastern Hemisphere studies!), Middle Ages, Early American, and Westward Expansion Kits. Like I said, they have additional student kits for a very reasonable price. I have three kids using the kits and I have one regular kit and one additional student kit and it works fine, but we did some projects as a group. I didn’t have room to store 3 Egyptian fruit mummies, so we all shared! You can also get small additional projects, such as a Roman coin to clean or a panning for gold activity (my son still talks about this activity three years after we did it!) separately as well. Browse through their website to see what else you can find. If you click on this link, the prices will already be reduced for you. If you go straight through using the other links on my blog, or directly to the site, use the code word “Lara” at checkout to receive the 15% discount on your order. Look at Hands and Hearts other products as well, including Melissa and Doug puzzles and Lauri preschool puzzle and activity packs, two of my other favorite product line. This sale ends midnight June 11, so don’t miss it!