Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Homeschooling History

Rockingham Castle
Noah at Rockingham Castle

As you may remember from previous posts, Noah really likes building things. When I discussed what he'd like to learn about this year, most of his ideas began with the word 'make'. So when we are learning about history making stuff has become an important part of how we do things. Making swords, daggers, shields and jewellery, castles and scrolls have all been useful projects to bring history alive. The kids also like to dress the part, Noah has a Roman Centurian costume as well as a shield we made following instructions from this book. Of course I don't have a single photo!

Today I want to share with you a project we've been working on for quite some time with the help of a kit from Usborne Books (see here). They have a series of wonderful cut-out model making books which all begin with the words Make This. We have several of these, Make this Roman Ampitheatre, Make this Medieval Castle but today I'm going to talk a bit about Make this Roman Fort.

Make this Roman Fort
Book Cover

We have been working on this one for quite a few weeks. These kits contain a well made series of templates to cut out and assemble. They involve a lot of cutting and have been a great way for Noah to improve his fine motor skills with scissors. There is a number scheme and instructions to follow for putting everything together. The instructions are clear and concise but some of the assembling is very fiddly. Noah is seven and needs help from an adult to follow the directions and stick the pieces together successfully. We have experimented with several glues (prit stick and liquid glue) and have come to the conclusion that the most important thing is to be patient! Holding those pieces together as long as possible is the key. 

Make a Roman Fort (Usborne)
The fort coming together

While we've been cutting out and building we've also been watching a variety of short documentaries about what life was like as a Roman soldier, as well as Roman engineering and how they built their forts. Noah has also been really interested in Roman battles and their military tactics. 

Make a Roman Fort (Usborne)
Close up on the soldier's barracks

Videos like this one which use modern computer technology to reconstruct buildings from the past helped us get a real feel for what a Roman fort would have been like. It also helped that we visited Hadrian's wall and the fort Vindolanda last summer.
A very wet August day at Vindolanda

We're planning to visit some Roman sites here in France later in the year. 

We've also been reading a lot of books of course. Including quite a lot about the Gaulois and the battles between Vercingetorix and Caesar. We get a lot of them from the library which means they're mostly in French hence the interest in les Gaules! We did come across this series though which is similar in style to Horrible Histories which we also own and which the kids really liked - You wouldn't want to be a gladiator! (link).

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