Progress Report on the Individual Projects

This year I asked the children to choose one area of the historical period which would interest them enough to dig deeper on their own.  The task was to put together a project on their chosen area and present it at our final medieval presentations in April (ish) time.  They needed to come up with a written way of expressing all they had learnt; a means of displaying the information; as well as a means of communicating their area of expertise within the constraints of a presentation.

The children have been working away at their individual projects for a month now, and all three seem to be enjoying themselves.  The biggest surprise by far has been the amount of time C11 has been putting in, going way beyond the call of duty and working away whilst the others are watching their evening video.  I am so proud of her work ethic with regards to this project:

c project

We did lots of individual activities last year, but this is the first time the children have taken on such a large project to do alone.  As their mother, it is very interesting watching them work, each in their own unique ways.

Whilst their project is their own, and they can follow whatever interests them, I have had certain requirements of them.  There are two reasons for this.  First, I want them to be writing each day, and thought they would probably enjoy writing about their chosen project.  This means I have asked them to write down their plans, as well as a list of things they anticipate doing to achieve those plans.  And secondly, this gives them the additional benefit of knowing vaguely which path they want to travel.  Let me explain.  I have one daughter, who given the chance will go straight from A to Z without passing through B, C, D…..to get there.  This often results in work she is unhappy about and which doesn’t look like it had in her head.  I thought if I insisted she went through the planning and execution steps, she would probably end up with work she could be proud of.  My other two children probably need this less as they tend to be very methodical by nature; that said, I am requiring it of them all.

So, without further ado, here is the progress they have made in one short month.

C11: Medieval Fashions

C11 wants to research fashions worn during the middle ages, across the classes.  She will then design outfits, choose appropriate material from our stash and hand sew the costumes to fit her dollies.  During the process she will design a mood board for each class.  Her presentation will consist of a fashion show, using her dolls as models.  She will describe each doll, what they are wearing and the materials it is made from.  She has opted to do a medieval fashion catalogue as her written work.  This will include her designs as well as a written description and explanation of all she has learnt.  She is very enthusiastic about this whole project, which will include (time allowing) helping her siblings put together dress up for the feast her twin will be hosting.  It is a joy to behold.

Here is her work so far:

Her books
Her books
A quick paragraph to express her intentions for her projects
A quick paragraph to express her intentions for her projects
C11's list of things to get done.  Apparently she is making a moon board rather than a mood board!!
C11’s rough list of things to get done. Apparently she is making a moon board rather than a mood board!!
I asked her to draw out a generic, prototype mood board, which she would then copy for each class (peasant to princess) mood board she does
I asked her to draw out a generic, prototype mood board, which she would then copy for each class (peasant to princess) mood board she does.  Next week she will use cereal box card board to make her five boards in rough before she makes up her large boards for her final presentation
Here are all the materials she has chosen out of which she will create her dolls costumes
Here are all the materials she has chosen out of which she will create her dolls costumes

L11: Medieval Feasts

L11 is a bit obsessed by the kitchen, so it was no surprise to me that she chose to research medieval feasts.  Her whole project will rest on the fact that she will host a feast as her actual presentation.  She plans on designing invitations and writing them herself, sending them to the couple we are hoping will join us for the feast.  Decorations will be prepared and she will also write a menu plan.  The rest of her presentation preparation time will be spent, I am sure, in the kitchen, making the dishes she has chosen to serve at her feast.  Her writing will be to make a medieval recipe book which she will hand out to all her guests at the feast.  I am really looking forward to her take on the medieval feast.  I think it is a huge undertaking with 6+ courses, but she seems to be taking it in her stride!

Here is her work so far:

Her books
Her books
L11's paragraph explaining how she intends her project to pan out
L11’s paragraph explaining how she intends her project to pan out
Her list
Her list
The menu she has chosen alongside a rough copy of her invitations wording
The menu she has chosen alongside a rough copy of her invitations wording

T12: War of the Roses

‘War of the Roses?’  I hear you say, ‘Surely T12 was doing about apocathery during the plague?’  Well, yes he was.  Only he didn’t seem able to get a start on it.  This is very unlike my son, who tends to be the most proactive of all the members of the family.  So we had a chat during which I suggested he change the topic.  No point in flogging a dead horse so to speak.  I asked if anything else grabbed his attention.  Immediately his face lit up as he squealed, with no small amount of passion, ‘War of the Roses!’  Oh, okay then.  I didn’t see that coming.  Apparently he had spotted the dvd I had bought, chronicling the War of the Roses, and was itching to watch it.  So he switched and has been busy beavering away ever since!  I was not unhappy about this U-turn with regards to his topic, because it meant I could create some learning around the plague myself (which is a subject that interests me greatly), and I now didn’t have to teach about the War of the Roses (which is a subject that doesn’t interest me greatly.  If at all.).  T12 would do that for me in his presentation.

So T12’s plans so far include using our large papier-mache map to show where each of the battles took place in Britain.  He intends to demonstrate how medieval battle were fought, using Playmobil figures, concentrating on the Battle of Towton.  He will also write a manual outlining essential battle techniques knight had to learn to be successful fighters in the middle ages.  His presentation will be a power point, including all of the above, a slide show with his still photos of his Playmobil scenes and a short video at the end.

Here is his work so far:

He is primarily using the web for his research, but this book and video got him started
He is primarily using the web for his research, but this book and video got him started
His plans
His plans.  Short but sweet.
Working out how best to display the battles, alongside the victorious side
Working out how best to display the battles, alongside indicating the victorious side
Setting up the battles to take pictures of
Setting up the battles to take pictures of.  These pictures will become part of a slide show.

We try to work at this everyday, even if it is for a short time.  And I have to say, it’s paid off dividends.  We are well on our way towards a fun, fun, fun presentation!  The children have really enjoyed having (even) more freedom than usual and I saw a surprising benefit to schooling like this.  Over the past week everyone has, at some point or another, come down with some weird virus.  The children seem to have fought it off well but it put them out of action for a day or so.  Usually, because I school the older ones together for at least some of the day, I have to stop until everyone is well again.  This time we were still able to get loads done, with the children working, as they were able, on their individual projects.  I can definitely see us doing more of these types of study in the future.

  Homegrown Learners Highhill Homeschool

15 comments

  1. Hello Claire!
    Happy New Year!
    I have a question for you: what is the chronological order you teach history. Did you start with Mesopotamia and then move onto Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome…
    Just wanted to get an idea of an outline.
    Also…where did you get your record pages ie. Sargon, Gilgamesh etc…? Do you make them yourself?
    One last question…how long do you spend on each time period?
    Many thanks!!! Still love reading your blog!!

    1. I started at the beginning of the bible and worked my way through where ever it took us. So I think I started in Turkey, then Mesopotamia, then Egypt (Abraham/Joseph) then Israel (Moses), filled in with Persia and the like (Nebuchadnezzar – not a huge study), then Greese and Rome (New Testament). The Romans took us to Britain, where we have stayed for the past two years learning about Anglo Saxons, Vikings, and of course the middle ages). Next up is European History with the renaissance.
      Note pages are from all over. If you google each page you want it’ll bring up loads of options – notebooking fairy, notebooking nook, notebooking pages to name a few.
      I spend as long as I need to and as long as there is interest. No hard and fast rules I can share, I’m afraid!
      Hope that helps!

  2. What great ideas for presentations. I think the organizational skills they are learning will be so beneficial, especially as they become more independent in their studies. Wish we could be there to see their presentations. I am sure they will do a splendid job.
    Sorry to hear of the illness going around your house. Hopefully everyone is on the mend.
    I wish you the happiest, and healthiest, of days:)

  3. Passion & creativity combined with clear, methodical action plans is a combination that makes me swoon (probably because I usually lack in at least one of those elements!). Each of these projects sound remarkable and I’m excited to find out more about them. It’s so much fun to see the individual takes on their presentations, you must be rather proud 🙂

  4. I can’t wait to see the end results of these! M, 13 has been trying out Medieval recipes as we study this time period this year but I don’t think she’s got the confidence for a full Medieval feast yet! How wonderful your kids’ projects all look.

    1. I don’t have the confidence for a medival feast yet. I’m not sure how she manages to be so cool about the whole thing. Although I’m thinking nearer the time she might start to flap a bit!

  5. They’re working so hard at them! As I was reading I started thinking about how to do this with my kiddos. We’ve done this on a small scale, but I think it might be time for a bigger scale of this…. Hmmmmm…… Thanks for the inspiration.

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