Showing posts with label history ideas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label history ideas. Show all posts

Monday, November 21, 2016

History Project: Building a Medieval Castle -COMPLETED

As a part of my son's history this year, I wanted to include some hands on projects and since he is learning about all things Medieval-why not build a castle?

So using my Michael's reward discounts/reg. coupons and teacher discount [be sure to sign up, you can get deals others cannot thru it, and be sure to show your teacher ID so you can get an additional 15% off every time you buy], I was able to get the brick sets much cheaper than the original $14.99 price.  I actually would use a 50% then after that is taken off they will discount it the 15% for being a teacher.  Sometimes, they have 20% off sales (for all) so you can save even more on those days-just don't worry about showing an ID b/cuz that coupon is obviously better.

This is a large project-we needed almost 5 boxes of bricks. 
 Four (about 1/2 of the fourth) of the tan and one of the red.
The bricks are by Createology.
Look in the kids' kits section by the miniature sets area.  

I bought a foam board at the Dollar Tree (Michael's has larger and more professional ones but they are not cheap) and the tacky glue can be found in almost any larger grocery store or at the craft stores. Look in the craft section of your store. I bought mine at Meijers for less than $2 for the smaller version-but after seeing how fast he was going thru it-I ended up getting the 16 oz size, which we needed two of!

The flat sticks are for soap making or general use.  Depends on the brand, but I found the both at our local Meijers (in the craft section) and at Michaels in the soap making area.  Popsicle sticks [for the drawbridge-which he hasn't started on yet] can be found at almost any store where there is a craft section.

My son is old enough to handle a knife so I didn't worry about the cutting and fitting that may need to take place.  I simply made sure he had a cutting board. :)  We dumped the blocks into a plastic container that was easier to get them out of.  The box was becoming cumbersome. It does help if the child has a plan.  Seriously.  And I highly recommend dry fitting at least the base to be sure that is where they want the blocks to go.  Once they get that going, it's all gluing and building.  We will also purchase a few trees and perhaps some fake grass to truly magnificent-ize the castle.  And yes-we did get a large dragon (after all what's a castle without a few dragon raids?) to torture our brave knights.

My son drew out a basic outline for his foundation
Getting the walls built up, with our General Manager-
 The Dragon monitoring things.
 The portcullis (gate) was made with the thinner sticks. 
 He is also lining his walk areas with them.


We have a video too!  Check it out!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

History Study: Middle Ages and Renaissance (High School)-Pulling it all together

I have written a detailed post on how to create a study no matter what age your child(ren) is/are.  This is specific to a high school level.  You may see some books that you would normally think is only for younger student.  But do not 'poo-poo' those choices. Everyone needs a brain break in the midst of a multitude of more challenging literature.  I try to mingle in a few of those "no brainer" books to keep it lively and fun.  That also includes adding in art projects, field trips and other activities to stave off the mental exhaustion.

So far we have covered a good many eras through out his schooling. Search this blog for more detailed reviews of noted programs. I have covered them as best possible.

We have already completed the Early U.S. History  (I have the old version, there is a new edition available) for his upper elementary studies. Then we covered the Western Expansion [all by Beautiful Feet Book guides] and a bit more U.S. history from the Intermediate level and some cherry-picked sections from the California History guide. Next up was Creation to Christ [by Heart of Dakota]. For two years, we have been working through the Sonlight Eastern Hemisphere program. Again, I have the older version but there was no need to repurchase it. I slowed this one down due to a family death and because I wanted to work through it while doing our World Geography study.  Look for posts on this as well. We just finished that guide at the end of January. But we are continuing on with a variety of books (I found via the library) relating to the history of, and about important peeps from the different continents/countries we are currently studying. For his science, we have been working through the BFB History of Science, which of course goes under this category too.

So now we needed to decide where to go next.  I could have gone back to U.S. and World history.  But I prefer to hold off on that until the student is in 11/12th grade.  It's a pretty deep and thorough unit to cover so maturity really helps here.  I could have chosen to revisit and beef up the Ancient time span.  Or visit the Medieval/Renaissance/Reformation era.  Looking over what he has had a lot less of-it was a no brainer.  The later is the choice. I have (basically) the BFB Medieval Intermediate  but my guide is listed as "A Literature Approach to Medieval, Renaissance and Reformation History".  It denotes that it has study notes for grades 7/8 and 9/10-so the new ones are a tad different. It looks like she separated the two into Jr and Sr high levels.  I suggest visiting her site to see if this study interests you. No matter for us though, this outdated one will be our backbone.  I frankly would love to get the newer versions, as they seem like they deleted and added some things that would make it less overwhelming than the originals.  But alas-since he is our last kiddo, so it's not going to happen. I will just create and modify.

I have noted below what I have strewn together so far.  I have followed my "how to list" (noted here) as best as I can at this point.  I am still in the hunt down and gather stage. I found lots of new books and ideas from combing the BFB site and using blogs/YouTube and Pinterest to guide me.  I will probably find more between now and when we start.  But this is a good foundation.


I own these:
These are a part of the BFB curriculum:
*Magna Charta  (James Dougherty)
*Ivanhoe (Sir Walter Scott) -this is not an easy read...we'll see how it goes
*Otto of the Silver Hand (Howard Pyle)
*Adam of the Road (Elizabeth Gray)
*The Door in the Wall (Marguerite De Angeli)
*In Freedom's Cause (G.A. Hentry)
*The Morning Star of Reformation (Andy Thompson)
*Canterbury Tales (Geoffrey Chaucer)
*Joan of Arc (Nancy Ross) not by Mark Twain as listed in guide
*The World of Columbus and Sons (Genevieve Foster)
*Martin Luther Hero of Faith (Frederick Nohl)  different than suggested in guide
*Martin Luther The Great Reformer (J. A. Morrison) different than suggested and an extra 
*The Hawk That Dare Not Hunt by Day (Scott O'Dell)
*Fine Print (Joann Burch)
*The Story of Liberty (Charles Coffin)

 I also have these to add in when needed:
*Martin Luther A Man Who Changed the World (Paul Maier) 
*The Apple and the Arrow: The Legend of of William Tell (Mary and Conrad Buff)
*Renaissance (Francene Sabin)
*Medieval Feast (Aliki)
*Marco Polo A Journey Through China (Fiona Macdonald)
*Miss Frizzle's Adventures:  Medieval Castle (Joanna Cole) I mean who doesn't love the Frizz? We are not giving her up no matter how old we get :)
*The Usborne Book of World History Dates
*Usborne Internet-linked Encyclopedia of World History Dates
*Usborne Book of Living Long Ago: Everyday life through the ages

From the Library:


These are recommended for the new BFB guide so we will cover them too.
*Crispin:  The Cross of Lead (Avi)
*The Trumpeter of Krakow (Eric Kelly)
*The Kite Rider (Geraldine McCaughrean)
*Queen Eleanor Independent Spirit of the Medieval World
 (Polly Schoyer Brooks)
*Robin Hood (Howard Pyle)
 diff. author than suggested but we own so we will use it

**there are a couple other books I am still trying to find or waiting on from the library. If I cannot find them I am not going to purchase them though. We have enough to keep us busy.

I was able to secure [from the library] the Story of the World Vol. 2 by Susan Wise Bauer (yah cool right?).  I am just gleaning a few nuggets of info I haven't seen/read before regarding the Viking history. I can then refer to my notes as needed.  

*King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table (Roger Green) - in guide just I do not own it
*Castle, Cathedral (David Macaulay) these are two separate books- do not own them but need for study
*Westward Ho! (Charles Kingsley) noted in guide, just do not own

*DKs Medieval Life (Andrew Langley), Eyewitness Knight (Christopher Gravett) and Stephen Biesty's Cross Sections: Castle
*Knights and Castles -Kaleidoscope Kids book (Philip Dixon)
*You Wouldn't Want to be a Medieval Knight! (Fiona Macdonald)
*The Middle Ages (Giovanni Caselli) 
*Knights and Castles [50 hands-on activities] (Avery Hart and Paul Mantell)
*Usborne Official Knight's Handbook (Sam Taplin)
*Manners and Customs of the Middle Ages (Marsha Groves)
*Science and Technology in the Middle Ages (Marsha Groves and Joanne Findon)
*How Would You Survive the Middle Ages (Fiona Macdonald)
*Famous Men of the Middle Ages (A.B. Poland)
*William the Conqueror (Robert Green) combined with book below-will just take bullet point notes to add into study
*Exploring the Past: The Middle Ages (Marshall Cavendish) 

They recommend some Shakespeare plays about King John and Henry VIII. My boy is not interested in this.  I see they have a book with both in it-for less than $5.  I may splurge for this-but am waiting to see if I can find via the library first.

I want to cover a bit more Viking history so we will add in a few books to cover it.  I am still hunting down some more options: (I have Lief the Lucky by D'Aulairess from the early history study .  I may have him reread it)

*D'Aulaire's Book of Norse Myths
*Beorn the Proud (Madeleine Polland)
*Raiders from the Sea (Lois Johnson)

OH, and I want to add in a wee bit of pirate history since it was going on way back that is another area I need to look into.


I am still working on this section but I do have :

*Viking Voyages Game from Ellen McHenry's Basement Workshop
*Usborne Cut Out Model:  Make this Model Medieval Castle
*Catapult (we built this a long time ago)
*Notebooking and some lapbook components from internet
*Building a castle model
*Creating his Coat of Arms
*perhaps going to the Renaissance Festival (Maybe-it is expensive and they seem to play up the stupidity that the only thing the Renaissance was about was accosting women and acting like drunken baffoons-so IDK.) We debated this when my daughter was studying this.  Our area festival is well-known for the above play acting and I just am not sure.  

That is what I have so far.  I have all spring and summer to complete this. Once I do-I can post an update.  Let me know if you have any other activity ideas and hands-on projects.  I also plan on printing up some pictures from our trip to Portugal.  We visited 3 castles from different times and those will be fun to have about.  Plus I will pull out of storage, his Playmobil castle set that will go onto a shelf to sort of 'set the mood' for the study. I mean we paid good money for it-might as well resurrect it to add to the ambiance.

I will do a separate post on the artists and art projects we will cover.  :) But that won't be until this summer.  I need to focus on the books right now.

Full disclosure note here:  I do not belong to any affiliate programs or receive compensation from these companies-I simply love them enough to suggest them to other homeschooling families.  

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

History notebook pages examples, in case you were curious [I found this in my archives and thought I would repost it again]

I created this cover using MS Word clip art 

Some may wonder how we pull together our history notebooks.  This is just one way we do it. I am highlighting a few pages from my son's history binders: Leif Erikson and Chris Columbus, from way back when-like early to mid-elementary age.  I have another post coming up about our current science/history notebooking too...hopefully, I will get that done before March.

I used Beautiful Feet Books products  (we love their guides and use almost all of them) as the course base, read additional materials if needed and then journaled/notebooked and/or had the children color pics to add some interest. We just add as we go through the lessons.

I would like to point out that I use several different sources-BFB guide, books listed in the study Enchanted Learning and ABCteach. I use what ever I can, including online sources to get some goodies.

Please remember, my son is color blind so lots of stuff is green, brown or oddly colored.

I buy the construction paper (you'l need to trim it to fit) from the dollar store, and that is what we use as our background paper
copy off the image we need, add the typed info and slip em into page protectors

I type up the stuff for the most part-b/cuz he is not big on writing it all out-and the point is to keep his interest, not burn him for now-I type.  As he ages, he will take on that responsibility. The Columbus Day Activity book is from Enchanted, and I made a pocket for it to slip into (stapled it on to another sheet of cardstock)...

It is easy to build a notebook using any history program, as you can add pics, text, poems, maps, etc. that fit each area you study.  Using this technique not only provides a great source to reference back to-it makes such a neat "step back into time" too.  I love going thru the older kids' books to see their stuff-it is so sweet.

Well, hopefully, you are encouraged to give this a try.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

History and Artist Study Resources: Lewis and Clark & George Catlin

As we are moving through the Beautiful Feet Books Westward Expansion guide, we have come to an exciting point-the Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery expedition.  I have been waiting for this part for some time.  I want to really ingrain the significance and well-coolness of this part of our history, so I am slowing way down to bring in several more resources, a DVD, arts and crafts and a great Lewis and Clark game to bring it all together. I reserved what I could not find at our library (use that feature peeps-great way to save money on books you'll only use once or twice) and pulled what I had on our shelves. The required text, Of Courage Undaunted: Across the Continent with Lewis and Clark by James Daugherty is serving as the backbone of the study but is not pictured because I didn't have it from the library when I posted.

I own some of these (What's the Deal, the top two Lewis and Clark 
activity books and the coloring book in the center pile ) 
 the others are from the library

So while we wait to get that book, we will read thru many of the excellent books I did get.  I will use some of the art/crafts books to cherry pick a few activities to add a bit more excitement to this study as well.  We will also be notebooking pages as we move thru the lessons (working on those right now, but so far I do have the Louisiana Purchase map from Homeschool in the Woods Olde World Style World and US maps printed, which he colored in while listening to me read one of the books. He also has T. Jefferson, Lewis, Clark and Sacajawea pics to cut out and place on his pages to write down their data for his history notebook too.

Because we have already covered Audubon, we won't be studying him as denoted in the study. We will, however, be covering George Catlin who did paint various Native American tribes/chiefs and village life a few years after L and C had explored the vast territory.  I found some real gems in regard to the colored prints of his work. I will have the boy go thru and find about 6 different ones he wants to do for his picture study, then get them printed and mounted on card stock for ease of reference. As a part of the Charlotte Mason way of studying artists, we'll put together an artist info page on George too.
image from
Wow-the price of this has gone up-I did not pay that amt. 
Do some research and look for a better deal.

And because I find games to be a great way to bring interest into a study-we'll be playing the Lewis and Clark game I purchased at the beginning of the year.  Once we have wrapped up the study, I will post a new ditty on the links/resources we used.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Beautiful Feet Books: Geography Maps and Notebook ideas using the BFB Geo Thru Lit study

So this year we have gone back to our favorite study guides for history-Beautiful Feet Books (BFB)*. We are feeling so much better and enjoying this transition back to what we know and like. As an added bonus, I have pulled in the Beautiful Feet Books Geography Through Literature study [which my 3 previous kiddos did and loved] because it goes along, just about perfectly, with the California and Westward Expansion that we are covering this year..  Like amazingly.  :) Love when that happens!

We put his maps above our white board.  He was getting sloppy with his work on the second map-and admitted it.  Ah boys-my girls were meticulous and he is like 'whatever'.  LOL He also said he decided to go all 'colory' on it, after examining his older brother's and sisters' maps (yep, still have em) and stating that he chose to go wild while they did theirs all nice like (paraphrase of his comment-let me tell you he had me in stitches laughing about his decision). 

Because there are four books used in the Geo study-all Holling C. Holling books-I decided to divide the year into 2 books per semester.  Since we started out with the expansion/exploration of sea faring brave-hearts, we began with Seabird.  This is actually one of my favorite H.C.H. stories. The boy especially enjoyed it because it was all about sailing and man stuff. The kind of man stories that inspire young lads to dream of heading out to horizons unknown. We also did notebooking [per the instructions in the guide plus a bit of our own] pages on it. And if that wasn't enough of a tie in, since it's about a bird (for the most part) it actually melded seamlessly with our Apologia Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day program!  [The first couple chapters are all about birds-so yeah!!! Talk about getting more bang for the buck!]

I found this pic of a seagull coloring page, and then had him 
categorize the names like we did in our science lessons. 
The notebook is broken into the book sections. I 
simply photocopied the cover for the title page, 
to make my life easier. 
Obviously you could just have the student
write the name of it on paper. 

Then we moved to Tree in the Trail.  My favorite of the four in this study.  Since both the California and the Westward Expansion talk about the movement from east to west in our US history-it was a  no brainer of a choice for our next map. Again, we did notebooking as well.  Plus, here again-our Little House on the Prairie study fit nicely too (they didn't do the Santa Fe Trail but they did move via wagon and such) which is part of our literature and LLATL study. We have read the first book of hers and the Almanzo book (Farmer Boy) so far.  We'll keep on with the series per my grand overall plan for our lit studies. Not to mention they will only further blend into our overall history study for the year.

These pics are from Edwin Tunis's Frontier Living Book-
this is out of print, I own it.
Again, we just copied some pics cuz he doesn't like 
drawing and well, again-it's easier. I don't usually
push photocopying pages but there are times, and since this
is for educational purposes and not being sold-
it falls into that gray area.

And there you have it. We'll be done with this semester pretty soon and I have to say, this time around has been so much more enjoyable and refreshing.  I will post more about our Apologia experience and other thoughts soon.

*I am not an affiliate for BFBooks but boy I should be-I truly love this curriculum. It is literature based,  we can cover as much or as little as we wish,  and at our pace. It has activities/notebooking that are easy to do and (at least right now) it is beautifully tying into many of our other subjects!  So anyhoo-this is my own personal take on it and no, I didn't get paid or receive anything for it.  

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Samples of activities for zoology using critter replicas, labels and control cards

We're going to be covering birds and insects and swimming creatures this year for science. I have always enjoyed activities that help reinforce the lessons by using fun little goodies to do so.  Being that I have a Montessori background, and love the Charlotte Mason method-I try to combine the best of both worlds when I can.

image from the Safari Ltd. site

So I found (like why didn't I take a closer look at these before? Really? I am not happy with myself for walking right past these little gems for some time now-OY!) Safari Ltd. Toobs.  These containers hold a nice amount of critters, or people or flowers or well-known landmarks that can easily be tied into most lessons. One can use them for map work, science activities, matching lessons, and more.  So my goal is to collect the Toobs we need for our year. I should have all or at least most of them bought before Oct/Nov.  I am of course, focusing on the immediately needed ones first.  I have already purchased both the backyard birds and the exotic birds sets.  Being that I hate paying full price, and the couponer in me demands this-I gathered up my 40% and 50% coupons for JoAnns to save a few bucks-which I could use b/cuz they were not on sale. JoAnns has them for around $9 something and so I was able to get one for about $5 ish and the other around $6ish.  I will continue to use the coupons until I have all the sets I want :)!

image from the Safari Ltd. site

Thankfully, on the Safari Ltd. site, you can click the image to see what is included. If you ctrl/prt sc then go to MS Paint (if you have such programs) you can cut/trim it and then save it to put onto MS Word to create a control card for your activity.  I enlarged one kinda big (for youngers to place the actual bird onto) but it kinda fuzzed the wording. So I also shrunk it to a better size (as a control card for my son) that isn't so bad. I also used the MS Word to create name cards as well.  I then printed and laminated for long term use.

I then will put it on the tray (as pictured, but I am going to paint it white) when we get to those chapters in science.  It is just a kinda fun extra thing for my son to do to stave off boredom.  For the younger set-it is a great activity (very Montessori) to help learn the different birds (or whatever critter you want to study). The basic deal is that the student takes the word card and matches it to the right bird.

I will also be purchasing the N.A. animals and the river ones too.  I need that snapper from the river set to use along the Minn of the Mississippi book (BFB geography). Figured we would have fun occasionally moving the turtle down the great Mississip (with our sense of humor I am sure it'll be interesting) map that he fills in/colors as he goes thru the chapters. And it'll serve as a great replica of what a real one looks like. Mind you-he's already had fun poking at a snapper or two when his dad and him have been out and about on their walks. He knows a snapper and understands just why it is called one. That said, because this is one critter you do not want to handle for real-this is a great option to have! LOL.  Plus, I can pull a lot of those animals from the river set for our history study of the expansion west (in the US) that we're tagging into our Calf. history (by BFB).  Once I get a fun set together for that-I will be sure to post.

The beauty is you can create what you need. 

I also printed off a free coloring page of a snapper to use to teach turtle parts.  He covered that way back when he was in Kindergarten but obviously, it's been a while and why not revisit it?  So I will the laminated pic, some Vis-a-Vis markers and a control card (still need to create) that he can use to remember them. He'll just use different colors for different parts. I will also make an actual turtle control card with the correct areas labeled so he can self-check it.  I will probably do it for the Seagull one I have when we do the book, Seabird.  I have to go thru the Apologia notebooking wkbk I bought to go along with the Zoology 1 I have. If they don't do that-then I will create one.

This is just a simple idea that can create a fun, integrated 'accessory' for your  student's learning experiences. Think outside the one-dimensional when you are looking for different ways of teaching and you'll be surprised at what you find!

**the Toobs use the correct names for most of their sets, which is good b/cuz I prefer the child learns the right name of an animal. For the younger kids, you can get away with saying "bird" or "flower" but it does help significantly if you label it as it should be-their specific name.  I will also make cards with the Latin names for my son to match up because when we do our nature study notebooks (CM way), we always add that and I want to be sure to provide another opportunity for him to learn them.

**I am not an associate for these companies-altho I should be LOL. Just wanted to share what we have found to be very useful for our lessons.