Renaissance Explorers: Explorer Study – Columbus

This is my penultimate post about our explorer study.  Last term, I read aloud the following book:


It is unusual for me to go with just one book to study anything, but I am falling in love with this series.  They seem to be placed well for the tween ages when the children need more than picture books and novels but aren’t quite ready for heavy non fiction books.  This book is a mixture of interesting writing, great pictures and photos, chock full of primary evidence and heaps of activities.

I read aloud each morning during our morning meeting.  The children had maps so they could track all the explorers routes and had a better idea of where I was reading about.

Although the book is primarily based on Columbus, it also covers most of the other explorers around during his life time.  After each read aloud I would ask questions or have the children narrate what they had learnt.

Columbus Sails to America

Columbus sailed to America four times, although he believed he was sailing to the Indies.  The girls mapped his three journeys using string and labels on our huge map of the world:




Explorers of the Exploration Age

I photocopied all the explorer sheets from Homeschool in the Woods:


The children read them and then used string and white pen to chart their journeys.  It was, as ever, highly amusing to hear C12’s version of where everything is on the map.  I’m certain she was there in all the lessons I have done over the years of the cultures we have studied and where each country is, but honestly her lack of basic map reading skills makes me wonder if maybe I had been hallucinating and she had been an apparition of some sort.  Maybe the poor girl has never had a geography lesson in her life?

Once we had got the north sorted from the south and I had explained that it was Asia and not America to the East of the map (yes, really), and that Antarctica was down and not up (because, y’know, that would be where the Arctic Circle was), they were set to hopefully (fairly) accurately chart the explorers routes.  This time they stuck the string down and labeled each string with the name of the explorer and the date he explored, using a black board pen:




My final explorer post will be based on the children’s project based learning about Pirates during the Explorer Golden Age.  I’ll post that at the end of the term.


  1. This is great stuff. I want to try to work this is to our school year(next term). Thanks for always including your book sources and photos of your projects.

  2. What a wonderful huge map. The girls did a great job! I love that series too. I plan on using several of the books with Genevieve Foster books next year for History. We are also doing Zoology for kids. To answer your question. I use my camera to record and then download the video directly to the blog just like I would a picture. I just click the film icon instead of the picture icon. The only flaw is I can’t seem to load longer than 30 second clips.
    Blessings, Dawn

    1. Thank you so much for that Dawn. I think you might use a different platform to me (I’m wordpress). I shall have to see if I can do the same as you do. It sounds easy enough for even me to figure out 😉

  3. Still in love with your big map! I often wonder where Rose is mentally during our geography (and language arts) lessons because she often absorbs nothing from them. I think it’s an interest thing 🙂

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