Oh, Those Hands-On Projects!

Kendra, I loved your Marvelous Monday reviews and still reference them.  Thanks so much.  I’m picking history for next year and I’m really interested in The Mystery of History.  I own years 1 and 3 already, but haven’t used them yet.  My kids will be in grades 6, 5, 4, and 1.  Plus, one will be toeing the line for kindergarten.  I’m not sure what I’ll do about that yet.  And I have twins that are about to turn two.  And baby number eight is due in the fall.   I’m feeling the need to really simplify.  To concentrate on upping the quality of reading, writing, and arithmetic, and let the rest be details.
I LOVE hands on stuff and always want to go with that, but honestly, I can’t keep up with it.  I’m just not sure how to find the time and quiet and focus we need to really do it.  It’s a little chaotic here and the 4 year old is difficult.   With that background my question is, how long does Mystery of History take each day?  Would reading the text only be interesting enough, or are all the activities and reviews and timelines and tests necessary?
I’m also totally in love with Ann Voskamp’s geography books, but they are project rich, too.  Did you do many of those?  How long does that generally take each day?  I’m not anti-project at all.  I just need to be realistic about the other things in our day that need to get done.
Thanks for any help you have.



Realistic. Yes. Stephanie, you have so very much on your plate right now, and you are one wise woman to desire simplicity. Just the custodial care of everyone in your household is going to drain your time, so added projects like painting clay pots and calculating the earth's circumference with a string can feel completely overwhelming.

There are years we can get to every little fun project I've planned to correlate to history lessons and there are years (this is one of them) when we will be spending our summer doing those things. Honestly, I rather like it that way- gives us something constructive to do during the summer between jumping into the pool and barbecuing dinner.

So what that looks like here is simply this: I read the history lessons for the day (or we listen to Linda Hobar read them via her MP3's) and the girls do the coloring pages that go with the lesson. We talk about the lesson and maybe pull things up on YouTube to watch (lately it's been Archimedes and the Colossus of Rhodes). We tell Dad what we learned during dinner, and we call it good! Some weeks we actually do have time for a project. Some days I actually don't mind the extra clean-up involved.


The Famous Figures series is an easy project we've enjoyed this year.


There are seasons. This fall you need simple. Don't apologize for it and don't worry- there will be a time when you can all go build a scale replica of the Taj Mahal in your backyard. Or not ;)