School plans 2013-14: Autumn Term

I'm not entirely certain tnat noble knights should look so tribal!!

Between October and December we have two terms of five weeks each with a one week holiday in the middle.  The first week of each term will be an immersion week, where we will immerse ourselves in our new topic.  In the remaining four weeks we will do all sorts of hands on and writing activities to consolidate all we learnt in that first week.  We will then take a one week break before starting the second term.  This is an attempt to prevent the kind of tiredness I had at the end of this year.

These are my preliminary thoughts about all I would like our little school to achieve during those first two terms prior to Christmas.



These first two terms will be primarily about the crusades.  The children have chosen to get a head start on their studies over the summer by reading all their historical fiction books set around the crusades.  I always find fiction a useful way of bringing a historical period alive.  We will be focussing our efforts on the third crusade and in particular the characters of Saladin and Richard III.

Then B2 wanted to join in....


I thought this would be a good time to do a country study of Saudi Arabia, and a recap of Israel.  We will also be studying the Islamic and Catholic religions and their roles in the Crusades.

T11's map


For our literature studies I intend to continue studying Dante’s Inferno from his Divine Comedy.  Alongside Dante we will do a brief picture study of Botticelli’s Inferno, in addition to a comparative study of Gustave Dore and Salvador Dali and their interpretations of Dante’s inferno.


Our Art study over these two terms will be to look at Illuminations during the middle ages and as an extension our artist study will be focussed on the Limburg Brothers.

They ran a thick paint brush with a little black paint on it to age the foil and it was finished


Not being musical in the slightest, I’m not very reliable at seeing this through.  I ought to hand it over to Gary, given that he is self-taught drummer and guitarist and leads worship at our church.  Medieval music is not his thing, however, so it is falling onto my very inept shoulders.  We will be attempting a composer study of Guillaume de Machaut (yes, you might well recognise him as the composer we should have studied last term.  Ahem.  I did cover everything else on the list….except, that is, for the hymn study.  Music again.  Not my strong point.)  I have a book and cd with his music.  I intend to make it as simple as possible.  We will probably also listen to some middle age Arab music on YouTube.  And that will be it.

And our King, the very regal (!) King C


We have a book of medieval recipes which we intend to cook from at least once a week.  I also have a couple of recipes which are fairly authentic fare for the travellers in the crusades, which we will attempt.


Although, at first, I had planned to do a study of a medieval scientist, I think it is more likely we will do a generalised study of a selection of scientists around at this time.  In addition, we will be continuing with our Anatomy and Physiology; learning about the effects of yeast in our Incr-Edible Science and extending our knowledge of natural based cleaners and the use of essential oils in our Spar-Klean Science.


Maths will be the rest of year 8 CIMT for T11, a free English maths curriculum and I intend to do a more individualised path of maths learning for my girls, which will ultimately be free of any curriculum.  It seems to be working well this summer, especially for my maths phobic girl, so we have decided to continue until Christmas, when we will reassess.

Hands on Learning

Hands on learning is the cornerstone of our home school and yet the crusades do not lend themselves to many hands on projects.  I have had to delve deep to find an interesting whilst effective way to teach this period.  I have come up with one or two things and I am starting to get excited by the possibilities of these two terms, even though they will not follow our usual pattern of a stack of hands on activities.

End of Term Presentation

At the end of the second term we intend to have one of our presentations covering the crusades.  We used to have a couple a year but last year only managed one.  They are such fun and a huge learning opportunity as well as a consolidation exercise for the children.  I am determined to fit one in before Christmas and a second before next summer.

I’ll post all our resources nearer the time.  I need to pare them down!


  1. Looks like a very good plan, Claire. It’s very good to plan term-by-term, rather than a whole year ahead. I might just take my cue from you in this regard. 🙂 I look forward to reading about your detailed plan and resources later. It sounds very interesting.

    1. I think it is probably going to be a little different than we’re used to. The activities are less hands on, yet still engaging (I hope!). Thanks for popping by. I hope you’re enjoying your summer?

  2. This sounds really interesting. I would be interested to hear about the historical fiction for the crusades-the crusades are something that I don’t know much about.
    Have you seen this website?
    I haven’t looked at the Middle Ages section but the Tudor part shows re-enactments of the way in which cooking was carried out and was fascinating.

    1. Thanks so much for the link. I had a look and it’s just up our street! I can see us spending lots of time poking around! I’ll post my book choices in a few weeks time. I’ve chosen some based on reviews at Amazon, rather than homeschool organisations, and they are for young adults. I will reading them aloud, but I don’t want to recommend them until I’ve read them.

  3. These are wonderful plans. I have been really into the Middle Ages recently, but we will not be studying that period this fall, we will be back with the Ancients instead. I look forward to seeing all your wonderful posts on the Middle Ages, however. I love your immersion weeks.

  4. It looks like fun! I also don’t try to plan a whole year at once. I get anxious if we don’t follow it. Instead I plan 6wks at a time, with a one week break. Our first term should bring us to just before Thanksgiving.

  5. We studied this time period last year and finished the unit with a Medieval Feast, which my kids loved. They each had to choose a role to play, such as page, servitor, etc., research the responsibilities, and serve the guests. We cooked period dishes, served them in trenchers, and our guests ate with their hands.

  6. I absolutely LOVE all the costumes you use. So creative, and I’ll bet such a great tool help your children relate to different time periods. You make me want to try out the sewing machine in my closet that I’m too scared to turn on. 🙂

    1. Same for me. Although I had studied A level Classical civilisations at school, apart from that I’ve never done history, so it’s all new and exciting. I’m looking forward to it!

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