Marco Polo: Venice to Ormus

So this week we were off; dressed and prepared for our journey ahead:

Food packed up in a sack across C10's shoulders, we're all ready to go!
Food packed up in a sack across C10’s shoulders, we’re all ready to go!

Our first leg of the journey to Cathay would take us from Venice in Europe to Ormus, in Persia.  We had read up to chapter 18  in Marco Polo’s Travels a few weeks before, taking us to the vicinity of Ormus (Hormuz).  One story Rusticello relates is about the Kalif of Baldach and how he was defeated by Ulau, a Tartar (Mongolian) prince,  after testing the Christians of his country with a view to killing them.  I reread chapter 8  to the children and asked them to choose a portion of the story and write a diary entry concerning it.  They did this during their independent study, which is working out so well:

L10's diary entry
L10’s diary entry

Their individual projects I set each week for each child also remain a huge hit.  This week T11 was given the task of researching the camels used in the caravans along the silk road; he subsequently built a model of a caravan using plasticine and playmobil, using a rough material (hessian) for the luggage the camels carried:

T11's camels
T11’s camels

During this leg of the trip Polo, in chapter 4, mentions a fountain of oil he discovered in Armenia Major.  This oil, said he, was good for burning and also for use on the skin for both animals and humans, to relieve soreness.  I asked L10 to research recipes that may have been used on the journey along the silk road and to make some up for our own journey.  Which she did with great aplomb!

Having researched recipes, she gathered her supplies of ingredients
Having researched recipes, she gathered her supplies of ingredients: oil, garlic, onion, lavender oil, dried lavender flowers and dried lavender powder
and mixing.
She began pealing, crushing, pouring and mixing.
The final ointments; one a garlic and onion infusion and the other, lavender
The final ointments; one a garlic and onion infusion and the other, lavender

C10 continued with her project as our entertainer.  Last week she had rewritten one of the silk road fables into a play (The Stone Cutter who was Never Satisfied).  This week she concentrated her efforts planning everyone’s costumes, bearing in mind they had a limited amount of room to carry extras.  She came up with some lovely ideas:

She made and painted the wand, the mask my mum had given as a gift after a trip to Venice, a chisel and hammer for the stone mason; and card board depicting all the things the stone mason wished to be.
She made and painted the wand, the mask my mum had given as a gift after a trip to Venice, a chisel and hammer for the stone mason; and card board depicting all the things the stone mason wished to be.

Every afternoon, we did some group work making lamps using clay and the oil Polo spoke about in his book.  We researched using this website:

The girls making their lamps
The girls making their lamps

They worked a treat and we liked them so much we’re going to make some others for our own use in the house:

So cool!
So cool!

Using red paint we traced Marco Polo’s journey to Ormus via Turkey and Persia.  The route he took was country we have already studied in great depth, having looked at the terrain in Turkey 4 years ago and Mesopotamia and Persia three years ago:

A close up of the route we have taken so far (The same route Marco Polo took!)
A close up of the route we have taken so far (The same route Marco Polo took!)
And showing how far we have left to travel
And showing how far we have left to travel

We also did bits and pieces from this website, more discussion than anything else.

Next week we will discover why Polo chose the harder route over land, rather than travel in the Hormuz ships!

    Highhill HomeschoolHomeschooling the Middle & High School Years

14 comments

  1. I really like the different projects each child is undertaking for the journey. They are all beautifully done. Using the map as you have done is a very good way to visualise the journey. Good job, all of you!

  2. Oh my GOODNESS! I love so much about all this! The camels, the oil, the lamps, the map… I am finding a box soon as to make a map of our own. As usual, buzzing with inspiration after popping by here!

  3. Such a COOL unit! Your map looks amazing! The ointments were a clever idea too!!

    Thanks for linking up to TGIF! I always look forward to seeing what you’ve been doing! Hope to see you again tomorrow,
    Beth =)

  4. I love the camels and the oil lamps. I saw the lamps being made at a Roman Festival. Maybe we could make them for our Rome Unit study.

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