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Winterpromise - Hideaways or Animals?


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DS7 and DS4 (8 in May; 5 in June) are attached at the hip. I like to combine them wherever possible. Both are twice-exceptional. 


Would it be possible to do BOTH Animals and Hideaways -- but on rotating weeks? It looks like Animals only really covers science, so I hesitate to choose only that. DS7 doesn't care much for other history options that I've tried, but both boys really enjoy building things, animals, read alouds, and science in general. 



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I bought Hideaways in History back in 2009, so it has probably changed since then. It was really nothing special, despite all the promises of my children having magical adventures. They took Story of the World and rearranged chapters so you would read all about one culture at a time, but SOTW really isn't meant to be read like that. For the hideaways, at that time they just referred to a Little Hands Press book. After my kids built a little castle with a drawbridge, we had that thing sitting in our living room for weeks and I wasn't keen to have them fill up my house with more hideaways.


My personal opinion is that you would be better off doing Sonlight/BookShark Core 1 with CHOW, Usborne World History & Usborne Time Travelers or getting all the Good Times Travel Agency books. I'm sure you could look on Pinterest for cardboard house ideas that looked worth the trouble.

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I would doubt that Winterpromise will truly have it built in. They will just refer you to their building book. Their self-printed books are so expensive!


This is the book (Creating Clever Castles and Cars) they used to include with the package. I would photocopy the ones you want to actually do and file the printouts with your schedule & materials. Heck, I even made a document that coordinates every chapter in CHOW with the Usborne Book of World History and schedules in Time Travelers. Even easier is to get copies of the Good Times Travel Agencies books (really fun book full of info, written in a graphic novel style) and then do a hideaway for each place.


I totally, totally understand the desire to purchase a package that will deliver the education I want for my kid. What I have found every time is that no matter if I buy a plan or make it myself, it's still just as difficult to put all the pieces in place day by day. I have come up with strategies for organizing materials (printing schedules, pre-printing worksheets, filing by week, etc.) and THAT is what enables stuff to get done.


I don't usually give strong advice, but I just think HIH would be a huge waste of money and you could do much better.

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I REALLY, REALLY wanted to like Winterpromise, but the programs just fell short of my expectations no matter how I tried to make them work.    I honestly can't recommend either program. :(  I'm so sorry to write that, but I am being honest.   Maybe they will work better for you though.  You never know.  


However, I think your idea about alternating science and history sound wonderful.   I would just look for a different program.   Another option you might consider is block scheduling.  (Spend a few weeks/months on animals.  Then spend a few weeks/months on history.)   I actually think this might work better for the ages of your children.   One of the problems with alternating weeks in history is that the kids may forget who exactly you were talking about in history if they have to wait a whole week before hearing "the story" again.   They might retain the information better if you can spend a whole month on ancient Greece for example before moving on.   (I would recommend spending the summer on science since it is the perfect time for getting out and doing things or raising butterflies, etc.  Then spend the colder months on history.)   


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Could you just do Story of the world? The activity book has so many hands on activities and the prep isn't too bad. Then you could either add a prepackaged science curriculum with an animal theme or just get a good spine like the Usborne animals of the world internet linked encyclopaedia. This is basically what sonlight uses and they do a mapping activity with it each week. All you would need is some preprinted maps of the continents and you could copy the animal pics from the encyclopaedia and glue them where they come from. Otherwise you could use "real science odyssey book on life". These books seem to be easy to use and homeschool friendly.


I love the look of winters promise and the marketing but when I start looking at what you get I feel like it is easy to replicate much cheaper. That said I do totally understand the yearning for a totally ready to go programme it's just they never seem to be as great as you hope

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I did Animals and Hideaways many years ago with my kids. Neither were what I was looking for. I didn't like the mess of Hideaways, and my kids retained nothing. Animals really taught my 8 year old nothing new, and it was way too hard for my "I just want to play" 4 year old - it didn't really fit any of my kids.


Build Your Library may work. It includes history and science.

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My kids have never cared for SOTW (this goes for the 15 year old, too -- I tried it with her a couple times when she was younger). 


So, really, I was looking for something that does not use that as a spine. Most packages I've seen do, which is disappointing. I think even Build Your Library uses it?


We're Catholic, and I have half a mind to try TAN's Story of Civ, which is supposed to be the "Catholic version of SOTW," but... well, if SOTW doesn't work for us, I have no reason to believe the catholic equivalent would, lol. 


I can wing history. What I'm really, really after is an elementary animal science program -- that isn't heavy YE. I've had my eye on Apologia's books, with literature added in, but everything I've read (review-wise) talks about how YE it is, even in the animal programs.

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This is how I would plan your year...if I were you.   :)


1)  RSO Science Life (Level 1)

You want science to feel delightful at this age.   Hands-on projects are great for creating this feeling in your homeschool.   This guide would give you a nice framework for planning purposes.   I personally would recommend that you skip all of the writing and lab reports included in this program.  (Your kids are younger, and you want this to feel delightful...not like hard work.)   Just do the projects and have fun/discuss. All of the projects in this book actually TEACH; they are not busy work and lots of prep for mom.  They also actually work.  (That is unique among elementary science programs I have found.)  


If you are studying animals this year, I would also recommend you try to raise a few "Pets in a Jar".  (That book is great btw.)    These types of proejcts are very educational, and allow kids to really watch things happen!   You could play this by ear and see what types of critters you can find in your yard this summer.  Then use this book for care instructions.   OR, you can take advantage of some of those mail-order kits.   They have them for butterflies, ant farms, worm farms, praying mantis, crickets, tadpoles, etc. etc.   We have made it a goal to try to raise 1 or 2 critters per summer.  


If you are studying plants, I would try to give each kid a small garden to take care of.  (If you don't have the room, even a pot with a tomato plant, pepper plant, or lettuce from seed will do.)   Start teaching them how to water, how to identify weeds, etc. etc.   



If the RSO program doesn't look good, you also might want to try out the projects from Mystery Science.   :)   


2)  Weekly Read Aloud session(s)-Schedule as many of these as you can fit into your week.  

a)  Let's Read and Find Out

I would try to purchase as many of the Let's Read and Find Out Science books as you can fit into your budget.   (You can also get these from the libraries if you are the type who can pick up reserves on time.)  I would LOOSELY base your reading on your project from RSO, but I wouldn't worry if they don't relate perfectly to your lab.  I'm not sure if Level 1 or Level 2 would be most appropriate for your kids (probably level 2 but I'm not sure.)  Here are the titles I would consider:


Level 1-Plants and AnimalsTitles

Level 2-Plants and Animal Titles

Level 1-Human Body

Level 2-Human Body


Most of these titles also include some great science projects too.   So you could even just read the book and then do the project in the back if you want to skip RSO Life.  


b)  Animal Encyclopedia

I would invest in a really good animal encyclopedia this year.   My twice exceptional son (who LOVES science) adored these types of books.   I gave him a pack of post it notes and told him to mark every page he wanted to learn about.  (He went through the whole pack!)  Then I would just schedule some time each week and read to him from the book.   He had a similar ocean animal book and dinosaur book.  


3)  Field Trips and Outings/Special Shows

I am not sure what type of resources you have around you.   However, if you live near a zoo, park system, or arboretum, I would try to see if they offer any programs for children that you could take advantage of.    If not, just even scheduling lots of time out doors to examine nature would be fun for the kids.  


Your kids also might enjoy some of the planet earth videos or even wild Kratz episodes.   I don't know how you feel about screen time, but my kids both really enjoyed these shows.  


Hope that helps some!!!




Edited by TheAttachedMama
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My ds might be kinda like yours. He's a really doer, only interested in what he's interested in. I'm kinda with the others saying that WP will fall flat. I tried a couple with my dd, sigh. Nice theory, not magical. 


What is working really well with my ds is doing only the AG from SOTW. I have a scad of books from the VP lists from when dd was young. We've been doing Egypt for a while now. We've done the SOTW activities, then I pulled out some more activity books. Now, admittedly, I cheat and give the activity books to one of my ABA workers. Yes, I actually paid someone to do a chicken mummy with my kid, lol. But it got done! We did chicken legs instead of the whole bird.


Anyways, that has been working for us. And then for books, well I have all those picture books from the VP catalog and TruthQuest guides and whatnot. So another of my workers reads him history picture books. That keeps it really right where he is, kwim? And there's this REALLY DUMB book of ancient rhymes for modern times. We read that, and he now knows enough to fill in the cracks on the SOTW activities. And he watches stuff on tv (Discovery, History Channel, etc.). 


I like what we're doing now. We're plugging through Egypt, and then we'll do Greece. We'll probably explore the other cultures. I think it's fine to rearrange SOTW, mercy. If you don't, it's just a bunch of random, forgotten crap for their brains anyway. History really is disinteresting to many people. I don't try to ask him to be interested in it. We have a DK book on Ancient Egypt and we read through it focusing on topics he likes. So one time through on weapons, another time through on food, another time on transportation, etc. 


Focusing on narrative is really over-rated. It's just not a long-term path to enjoying history for my ds. It's enough that he found some quirky aspects interesting and made some pegs. That was my whole goal. Doesn't matter if they're the pegs someone else would pick.


You said they like science, so you could focus on the sciency aspects. I have a whole book of activities on "What the Ancient Egyptians Knew." Mummies, pyramids, lots of science there to interest them.

Edited by OhElizabeth
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