Wednesday, July 31, 2019

REVIEW: Project Passport World History Study of Ancient Rome by Home School in the Woods

We began our new school year by studying ancient history, so the timing was perfect for us to review Ancient Rome, the newest in the series of Project Passport World History Studies by Home School in the Woods.


The Project Passport World History Studies are intended for grades 3-8, but they can be adapted for both younger and older children, as well.  The series includes Cover Photostudies I’ve reviewed in the past like Ancient Greece and Ancient Egypt, this newest study on Ancient Rome, as well as Middle Ages, and Renaissance & Reformation. 

This study of Ancient Rome includes 25 “stops” and a travel itinerary to take your child on a virtual journey through the life and culture of the people living in Ancient Rome.  You’ll cover a variety of topics like the kings and legends of early Rome, the Roman Republic, the rise and fall of the Roman Empire, everyday life, business, law, philosophy, education, oration, literature, science, medicine, arts, architecture, transportation, religion, warfare, emperors, the Pax Romana, invasions, the beginnings of Christianity, and more!

You can purchase a family download of this program for $33.95, or purchase the files on CD for $34.95

Take a look at a sample lesson, listen to a sample audio tour from the program, or watch a video about this exciting adventure to see if it’s right for you by visiting the product page and scrolling down to the tab for “sample” and “video” underneath the product description.


As I mentioned, I’ve reviewed the other two ancient history studies in this series in the past with my daughter, but this is the first time I’ve done one with my youngest son.  I adapted this a bit for him, as he has ADHD and has to do activities in small bites.  He lacks the fine motor skills and concentration for this level of cutting and assembly, so I approached this study by prepping all of the materials myself ahead of time so all he had to do was sit with me and listen to the study material as I read aloud and then go over the lapbook elements and activities with me as we moved through each stop on our virtual journey.  We did manage to complete 12 stops, which is half of the program, and he has enjoyed our study so far.

I invested a lot of time in advance getting all of the materials printed, cut out, assembled, and ready for discussion.  If you don’t have that kind of time to dedicate to it, then you’ll definitely want to enlist your children’s help in creating the scrapbook and lapbook elements.  Holden also does not enjoy coloring, which is the opposite of his sister, so we either printed things on colored paper or left them in black and white.  The timeline figures and other printables are intended to be colored in with colored pencils, but you can do just as well without that, as you’ll see from our photos. 

I also really liked the fact that each lapbook element had the option to use pre-printed text inside or to print blank lines so your child can fill in the information on their own.  Holden has difficulty writing in small spaces, so using the pre-printed text worked beautifully for him.  And since neither of us can draw very well, we opted to print graphics from online sources to decorate a lot of the newspaper articles we created and the lapbook elements that required illustrations.  I mention all of this up front because I think it’s important to note that these studies can be easily adapted for kids with special needs or who just aren’t artistic.

Now on to the study itself!  I’ll try to do a brief summary of all that we studied and created in each stop so you can really get a feel for the flow of the study.

The first thing I did was create a teacher’s guide book for the study.  This was a binder that would hold all of the itineraries and teaching information.  The itinerary for each stop would tell me how to prepare each activity for the stop.  Essentially, this was my master set of instructions.



Topics of study:  geography, legendary beginnings, Aeneas, Romulus, and Remus, and the seven kings of Rome.

The first stop is one of the longest, as you have to prep some of the basic materials that will be the foundation of our study.

1.  We created a passport, complete with Holden’s photo and a stamp for his visit to Ancient Rome (the stamp is added at the completion of the study, but we added it for demonstration purposes).

Passport Inside

2.  We prepared a luggage folder made from a 3-prong file folder.  So cute!  This stores the passport inside and has some travelogues pages where your child can take notes about their travels if they choose.

Luggage Folder  Luggage Folder Inside

3.  We made our “Scrapbook of Sights” binder to hold a lot of the cool displays we’d be making throughout the program.  Basically, everything that doesn’t go in the lapbook gets 3-hole punched and stored in this scrapbook, and the newspaper we would be making would be stored in the inside pocket.

Scrapbook of Sights

4.  We prepared the “Snapshot Moments in History” Timeline.  There were two options for assembling this.  It could be printed front and back like pages in a book, or it could be printed on single pages and accordion-folded by binding the pages together with tape.  That’s how we chose to do it.  We also printed out all of the timeline figures on sticker paper to make application easier, and we went ahead and added the first few timeline figures to it.

Timeline  Timeline Figures

5.  Next, we prepared a really cool layered map of early Italy.  This had a clear overlay that was used to label things on the map.  Then it could be pulled back to look at just the map itself.

Map of Early Italy

6.  Last, we prepared the first element for the lapbook which tells the story of how Rome came into existence because of the legend of Romulus and Remus.  This was really neat, because we used black pepper stuck to white glue on the body of the wolf to give it a three-dimensional texture.

Romulus and Remus  Romulus and Remus Inside



Topics of study:  the Republic is born, the castes, the struggle of the Orders, a mixed constitution, and the struggle of the Orders continued.

1.  We added some figures and a souvenir to the timeline.

Timeline Update

2.  We prepared “The Roman Tribune” newspaper and wrote an article in it about the Plebs seizing a nearby mountaintop in order to stage a protest.  You and your child can create the articles based on the information in the history study for that stop.  This was kind of fun, as you can pretend to be a reporter giving the news as if it’s happening right now!  If you want to learn more about how using this type of newspaper format for teaching history can be really effective, read this blog post from Amy @ Home School in the Woods.

Roman Tribune Newspaper  Newspaper

3.  We prepared the Seven Kings of Rome booklet to go in the lapbook.  This included a storage pocket to which we would later add an additional booklet.  There was space for drawing pictures, but we opted not to do that.  We just read through it together.

Seven Kings of Rome Booklet  Seven Kings of Rome Booklet Inside



Topics of study:  Lars Porsena, fighting for survival, Rome destroyed, wars in Italy, and wars with the Greeks.

1.  We added some timeline figures and a souvenir to our timeline.

  Timeline Update #1  Timeline Update #2

2.  We wrote another article in the newspaper about Rome being sacked.

Roman Tribune Newspaper Article

3.  We colored the map of early Rome we printed at an earlier stop and added the labels to the overlay that I mentioned.  This was stored in our scrapbook.

Early Italy Map Update

4.  We created a postcard rack to go in our scrapbook that would hold all of the postcards we would be reading throughout the study, and we added a postcard from Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus.  These postcards have a blank side with a border box so kids can draw their own postcard pictures if they choose.  We drew a few of these, but our drawings are so primitive that we chose not to share them here! 

Postcard Rack

5.  We made a fan deck of “Notable Romans.”  I went ahead and printed and cut out all of the people cards for the whole deck, and then I just drew from the deck as each stop called for another person(s) to be added.  At this stop, we added Marcus Furius Camillus.  Holden thought these cards were cool, because the tops of the heads were actually cutouts, giving each card a unique shape that caught your attention.  We opted not to color the images, and they were still really cool!

Notable Romans Deck

6.  We made the Early Roman Legends booklet to add to the booklet on the seven kings we made earlier in the pocket for the lapbook.  This one talks about heroes of Ancient Rome.

Early Roman Legends Booklet

7.  Our last adventure on this stop was to listen to the “Legends” audio tour.  Holden really enjoyed this part.  He’d never listened to an audio dramatization before, and they did a good job of making this sound like you were a passenger on a guided tour bus being taken around to visit various heroes across the city.  The souvenir we added to the timeline at the beginning of this stop was our bus ticket from this tour.  That was neat!

Audio Tour - Legends



Topics of study:  the First Punic War, the Second Punic War, and the conquest of Greece.

1.  We added some timeline figures to the timeline.

Timeline Update

2.  We wrote an article called “Hannibal Crosses the Alps” about the ambushing Battle at Lake Trasimene.

Newspaper Update

3.  We added another postcard from Hannibal to his brother, Hasdrubal, where he updated him on his battles.

Postcard  Postcard Update

4.  We added a paddle on Scipio Africanus to the fan deck.

Notable Romans Update

5.  We made a lapbook element about the Punic Wars that contained a pop-up inside.  Those are always neat!

Punic War - Outside  Punic War - Inside

6.  We made a fold-out display to house maps of Rome’s conquests and added the first one to it.  This was added to the Scrapbook of Sights.  To avoid having to color it, we printed out the map in the teacher’s key that was already colored.  The teacher’s key maps are the same size as the black and white student maps, so this was a great substitution.  We continued to do that whenever possible.

Roman Conquests Outside  Roman Conquests - Inside

7.  Last, Holden listened to another audio tour to visit the Roman General Scipio Africanus.  He loves to tell a good story, and the voice they used sounds quite arrogant and full of himself…a great portrayal!

Audio Tour - Africanus



Topics of study:  no more enemies, the Gracchi brothers, Gaius Marius and the Roman Army, the Social War, and Sulla and the beginning of the Civil Wars.

1.  We added some more timeline figures.

Timeline Update

2.  We wrote two more articles for the newspaper:  “Gracchi Brothers Stir up Rome” and “Civil War in Rome!”

Newspaper Update

3.  We added another postcard from Gaius Gracchus to his mother informing her of his intentions to run for Tribune.

Postcard Rack Update

4. We added “The Gracchi Brothers” to the fan deck.

Notable Romans Update

5.  We created another lapbook element on the “Cursus Honorum.”  This explains the system of authority in Rome as officials ascended the ladder of power.  It included a really cool pop-up element!

Cursus Honorum - Outside  Cursus Honorum - Inside

6.  Last, we made a lapbook element called “SPQR” that highlights the famous “Senate and People of Rome.”  This had a neat fringe on it made by cutting the edge of the paper into strips.

SPQR - Outside  SPQR - Inside



Topics of study:  larger than life (key leaders), Caesar’s rise to power, crossing the Rubicon, and Civil War.

1.  We added quite a few more people and events to the timeline.

Timeline Update

2.  We added two more articles to the newspaper:  “Enemy of the State!” and “Caesar Assassinated!”

Newspaper Article #2  Newspaper Article #1

3.  We added a postcard from Caesar to Pompey about the death of their fellow Triumver, Cassus, as well as the death of Caesar’s own daughter and wife to Pompey himself.  Caesar wished to heal any political drift that might occur now that their ties were essentially severed.

Postcard Rack Update

4.  We added Gaius Julius Caesar, Marcus Tullius Cicero, and Cato the Younger to our fan deck.

Notable Romans Update

5.  We added another color map to the Roman Conquest foldout in the scrapbook.

Roman Conquests Update

6.  We learned about Roman Propoganda and made a little display of the pin-back buttons and slogans that might have been used at this time.  You had the option of laminating them and putting actual pins on them so they could be pinned on a piece of felt, but we didn’t have the supplies for that, so we just glued them on to a strip of colored paper and added the display to our Scrapbook of Sights.

Roman Propoganda

7.  Last, Holden listened to another audio tour of the “Rubicon.”  As told by Mark Antony, we learned all about Caesar’s war in Gaul and his crossing of the Rubicon to start a civil war.

Audio Tour - Rubicon



Topics of study:  everyday life, what did they wear, what did they eat, and where did they live?

1.  We added some souvenirs to our timeline, including a restaurant receipt, a receipt for landscaping, and a “House Plaque.”

Timeline Update  Timeline Update (2)

2.  We completed some ads in the newspaper for places called “The Vogue Toga,” “Panis et Butyrum,” “You’ve Got Sole,” and “Ostium Realty.”  It was fun finding printable graphics to add to these ads in place of drawings.

Newspaper Ad #1  Newspaper Ad #2  Newspaper Ad #3  Newspaper Ad #4

3.  We created a Dining Out Guide and pocket to add to our lapbook.  This booklet even contained some recipes for foods typical of the country during this time period.

Recline and Dine with Pocket  Recline and Dine Inside

4.  We created an interactive display for our scrapbook of typical garments worn by a Roman woman of this period as well as how a man would dress for two different roles of importance in service to the Roman government.  This used overlays that could be peeled back to reveal various garments.  Holden loved this!

Women's Clothing 1  Women's Clothing 2  Women's Clothing 3

Men's Clothing 1  Men's Clothing 2  Men's Clothing 3

5 & 6.  We made a pocket page to hold “Souvenirs & Gifts” in our scrapbook and added two craft cards on how to make clothing for the Roman man and woman.  It included complete instructions on how to make these clothing items for yourself if you chose to complete such a project.  We would be adding additional optional craft cards to this pocket during the study.  I’ll include the photos provided within the program that show what the completed project might look like.

Souvenir Cards

  Clothing-RomanMan-1  Clothing-RomanWoman  Clothing-Wreath

7.  Last, we made an interactive display of the typical Roman home or “Roman Domus.”  This had overlays to show the layers of the home from the outside in an down to the underlying “heating” system.

Roman Domus - Outside

Roman Domus Inside #1  Roman Domus Inside 2  Roman Domus Inside 3



Topics of study:  Roman family – men, women, and children, jobs, citizenship, entertainment, and death and funerals.

1.  We added more events and a souvenir to our timeline.


2.  We filled out a bulletin in the newspaper with events happening around town.  For this, we did some online research about some of the plays that were popular in this time period so we could included actual show titles. 


3.  We created an interactive display of the Roman Colosseum that showed the layers inside and outlined the various seating areas in the arena to place in our Scrapbook of Sights.

20190720_140411  20190720_140424  20190720_140445

4.  We made a lapbook element with an interactive wheel highlighting the many types of jobs that one could do in Ancient Rome.


5.  Last, we created a lapbook elements that highlights the Caste System and the opposing roles within the system.

20190720_142426  20190720_142439



Topics of study:  agriculture, industry and commerce, and coinage and taxes.

1.  We created a flip book for the lapbook that showed the different materials used to layer the infamously lasting Roman road system.  Their roads were even ingeniously designed with a type of gutter system to take excess water away and prevent erosion of the road layers.  Neat!

20190720_171906  20190720_171918

2.  We printed out another Souvenir Craft Card to add to our scrapbook pocket, this time on how to create a mini box that shows the layers of the Roman road system.  We printed off the cardstock labels for this project, too, because this is a project that we have every intention of creating, but we just don’t have all of the various road materials in our possession just yet.  I was hoping to be able to do this one in time for the review, but friends at church are helping us gather the materials, and we just don’t have everything yet.  Instead, I’m including the provided photo from the study that shows what the finished project might look like.  We think this one is super cool!

20190728_162546  RomanRoad-Souvenir

3.  We made a really neat map of the Roman road system.  This was done using an overlay where I traced the lines of the road pattern on the overlay, so you can lift it up to see just the map of Roman territories or lay it back down to show how the road system reached out into those territories.  What a great idea!  I couldn’t just print the teacher key colored map for this one because it showed the roads on it already, so I colored this one and made the overlay.

20190720_171944  20190720_171936

4.  We made a display of Roman currency for the scrapbook that included enlarged replicas of various coins in circulation at that time.  On the back of each coin is an explanation of how that coin came to be created, and the coin bag that opens up to house these coins also explains about what they were worth in the Roman economy.  We found this information very interesting, and we had a lot of fun exploring this one!

20190720_172004  20190720_172024

STOP #10


Topics of study:  the Twelve Tables, Roman law during the Republic, Roman law during the Empire, laws and castes, crime and punishment, and philosophy.

1.  We added more events, people, and a souvenir map brochure of the Forum to our timeline. 

20190723_160023  20190723_155917  20190723_155906

2.  We wrote an article on “Plebs Demand Written Laws” for the newspaper, outlining how the Plebs were subject to laws known in memory only and interpreted by the opposing class.


3.  We printed a Souvenir Craft Card for “The Curia Julia,” or the Senate House.  If you choose to make this craft, it becomes a 3-dimensional room you can look down into.  We did not make this craft, but I’m including the photo that was provided in the study for what the completed project might look like.

20190723_161132  CuriaJulia-1

4.  We made a lapbook element on The Twelve Tables, which were the first written Roman laws.  These consisted of the oral laws that were already in effect at the time which the Plebs had insisted be presented as written laws.


5.  Last, Holden listened to an audio tour of “The Forum.”  This took him on a tour of many famous buildings, as well as restaurants and vendors.


STOP #11


Topics of study:  the Latin language, education, writing, and literature.

1.  We added some timeline figures and a souvenir bookmark from a bookseller’s shop to the timeline.  I added a decorative twine tie to the top to make this even more realistic.

20190725_183803  20190725_183837  20190725_184214 

2.  We completed an ad for the bookseller I just mentioned for the newspaper.


3.  We added paddles for Virgil, Livy, and Seneca the Younger to the fan deck.


4.  We made this really neat foldout tree of Latin root words and their meanings for our scrapbook.  Holden enjoyed reading examples of words we use every day that have Latin roots and seeing how the words were put together based on their meanings.


5.  We made a lapbook element consisting of a pocket and little booklets to represent Roman literature.  Inside each booklet was an explanation of each type, such as poetry, rhetoric, philosophy, etc.


6.  This assignment was to practice an oration.  A number of suggested topics were provided, or you could use a topic from your own life and debate it “Roman senator style.”  Holden joked around a lot during this one but didn’t really give a serious presentation.  Still, he had fun with it!

STOP #12


Topics of study:  Roman science and health and medicine.

1.  We added a number of timeline figures, an event, and a spa gift card souvenir to our timeline.


20190726_150634  20190726_150649  20190726_150814

2.  We wrote an article for “Julius Caesar Orders New Calendar” for the newspaper about switching to the 365 day calendar we now use.  We also completed an ad for a medical office.

20190726_160236  20190725_195626

3.  We added another postcard from Galen of Pergamum, the Royal Physician, to Antonia regarding his previous written consultation on the delivery of a child.


4.  We added a paddle on Strabo to our fan deck.


5.  We made a spa brochure for “The Thermae of Caracalla,” which appears to be a fancy public bath house with recreation.  This will go in our lapbook.  We had fun finding and adding the illustrations for the different features of the bath house that were highlighted in the brochure.


  20190725_195711  20190725_195715

6.  This activity directed someone to take a bath like a Roman!  Roman bath houses included warm, cold, and hot waters to dip into, and in between, you might rub olive oil on your skin and scrape it off with a special tool called a strigil.  So this section gave instructions on how to simulate such a bath on your own at home.  The closest thing we had was our hot outdoor spa with the cold pool beside it, and Holden already loves go back and forth between them!  Here he is sitting on the edge of the hot spa with his feet dangling into the cold pool.


7.  Our last project was to create a little booklet that explains and demonstrates the system of Roman numerals.  We just reviewed this recently in math, and Holden has finally gotten the hang of it, so he was proud to show off what he remembered by giving me the answers to the practice questions in this booklet for our lapbook.  On the last page of the booklet, we had to cut out the correct Roman numerals and paste them on to complete his birth month, day, and year.

20190725_195740  20190725_195749


There were only three additional elements still to be made for the lapbook in the remaining stops, so I decided to go ahead and make those (even though we haven’t used them yet) so that I could go ahead and assemble the completed lapbook for you to see.  Personally, I don’t like oversized lapbooks because I find them too awkward to store.  So instead of using the traditional file folder method, I make our lapbooks out of white cardstock sheets bound together with tape.  Sometimes, I make them so they fold out in different ways, but for this one, I made it like a book.  I usually add a strip of cardstock to the back left side of the lapbook to 3-hole punch so it can be stored in a binder.  But since this study has a scrapbook binder already, I just finished the lapbook and stored it in one of the pockets of the scrapbook.  That way, it will all get stored together in one binder at the end.  I printed the emblem for the study right on the front page and filled up 6 pages with the lapbook elements that we made.  I think it turned out to be a great keepsake we can refer back to at any time in the future!

20190726_173743  20190726_17375620190726_173804  20190726_173811

As you can see, we’ve covered a lot of history material already in this study, and we’re only halfway through!  We maintained a pace of 3 stops per week for the review period, but it was a bit too time consuming for our schedule since we only have school 4 days per week.  I think we’d absorb more from it by enjoying a slower pace for the remainder of the study, particularly because I’m doing all of the preparation and assembly by myself.  Home School in the Woods suggests completing this study over a span of 8-12 weeks, which would be 2-3 projects per week.  The guide book also includes a page of additional resources you can use to enrich your study further.  This includes a list of non-fiction books, historical fiction, literature, and biographies, audio books, videos/dvds, and music.  There’s plenty of material to keep you busy!  For us, we’re using this study as a supplemental material to our regular history studies which are literature based, so I think a slower pace is totally appropriate for the remainder of this study.  But I feel like there’s enough thorough material here that you could certainly use this study as the basis of your primary studies on Ancient Rome!

We’ve really enjoyed this history study so far, and we look forward to completing it as the weeks go by!

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