For Part One: Introduction
For Part Two: Why History?
For Part Three: Era, Person, Dress Up, Geography, Explorer study
For Part Four: Reading and Literature Studies
For Part Five: Writing, Narrations and Re-enactments
For Part Six: Art, Artist Study, Music and Composer Study
This is my last post in the series for now. I focused on the history and surrounding subjects because it is this I get asked most about. However, I do know there are lots of questions that have remained unanswered, such as maths, science and the little one’s school. I apologise for not getting to these but this series seems to be going on forever and all I’ve talked about is history! I think I must be a little too talkative (anyone who knows me would probably confirm this). So I’m showing some self-control and stopping here. I will pre-write some posts which I’ll publish over the Christmas period (when I tend to take a few weeks off blogging) just to finish up (sorry!).
This post is covering my two favourite home schooling things in the world (notwithstanding art and literature). Presentations and field trips.
Finishing up studying a particular culture is hard for me. At least it was hard, but then I discovered that a field trip at the end of the study along with a presentation finishes it off nicely and also very naturally. Our home school has been a little deficient in field trips this year due to a little one who is unpredictable at best and very noisy at worst. Not wanting to ruin other people’s joy at seeing the sites I have kept between our four walls. Needless to say, cabin fever has set in and I am currently scratching at the walls to be let out! B2 is a lot calmer now and so I’m ready for next year which will hopefully be full of trips galore!
We have been on a few and try to aim for somewhere which will bring the period alive to the children, often a museum:
or an art museum:
Gary and I even managed to sneak in a trip to the Louvre, without the children on our trip to Paris:
We have also visited castles:
And watched the changes of the guards:
And we have taken part in medieval re-enactments:
And Celtic ones:
As well as learning pottery when we were studying Mesopotamia:
We live on London’s door step, but really have yet to fully utilise all the wonderfully historic sites in our home school. One day.
At the end of each culture or study period we have a presentation. These are so much fun and well worth the work we all have to put in to make them successful. I have already written in detail how I prepared for a Viking presentation here . We love our presentations and, as well as bringing together all we have learnt, they are full to the brim of skill building opportunities and are just simply so, so much fun! For example, they help with team building skills as we all help each other and the children listen to each other practise their lines. The children have learnt how to critique each other without offending or taking offence. They have learnt to put together interesting displays, written plays, carried out interviews, dragged their father in as a prop and learnt to build up stage scenery to help make their plays and such affective.
When we studied Astronomy the children brought the climbing frame into the house, covered it with foil and made a space ship. C11, who was 8 at the time, wrote a play about the first landing on the moon, which they acted out (you can see a glimpse of the space ship in the back!):
We made space food:
A display board:
which included a model of Apollo and a moon diorama:
T11 demonstrated how Apollo worked, L11 asked the question, ‘Is Pluto a planet?’, whilst C11 took us on a tourist visit to Jupiter, also demonstrating a storm in a bottle. This was our first presentation and we were hooked!
Here is L reading out her presentation. The children write out their presentation and I help them put it into key words which we then type out in large print and put into a black folder made of two pieces of black card gaffa taped together. This helps the children to be able to carry out a presentation without actually simply reading it, which I think is a good skill to learn:
Our next one was the Mesopotamia presentation:
We made costumes ourselves (no photos) and weapons; we built a huge paper mache map and shaduf and clay house and the children did talks on Sargon, farming and rivers.
Our Egyptian presentation was a favourite as we had the opportunity to showcase our mummified chicken. We invited the butcher and his wife to come and we all had a great time. Every presentation we invite somebody. We have had the butcher and his wife, the coffee shop owner and her husband, my brother and his girlfriend and the lovely husband and wife team who own the running shop just nearby. This time we will (hopefully) time our medieval presentation with Grandad and Granny’s visit from Ireland. My mum also has come to every one of them. I think an audience, other than simply mummy and daddy is very important and makes it much more of an event for the children.
Here they are in their home-made dress up:
Our Anglo Saxon presentation included our large paper mache map:
Dolls with dress homemade Anglo-Saxon dress up on them, along with other craft projects they had completed:
The children and I also home-made their dress up for the evening:
The Viking presentation was our best yet as we went about building a Viking home inside our living room. Not for the faint hearted given there was straw all over the floor!
This was the backdrop which set the scene for a visit from Gary the 21st century news reporter, who came to interview the Vikings about their Viking lives. We had made a Viking loom and here is C explaining how she weaves the cloth for the family, which she then demonstrated using our loom:
We made posters:
A program of events which we handed to the guests as they arrived:
We also did our usual display reusing the paper mache map from the Anglo Saxons:
We had made Viking ships out of Smartie containers which we stuck onto the map to show the exploratory efforts of the Vikings:
T had made up the Viking Lego ship:
Whilst the girls had woven Viking dress up clothes for their dollies:
As an aside, I bought these dolls for the purpose of dressing them for their studies. I knew one day soon the girls would grow out of dressing up themselves and thought that the dolls might be a nice alternative. It helps increase their sewing, knitting and weaving skills as well as giving them a greater understanding of fashions, clothing and available materials of the time period. They are not allowed access to these dolls at any other time.
Another important aspect of a presentation is the food. We always try to serve food that would have been available to that culture.
Here is our Mesopotamia feast of pigeon, deer and all sorts of fruit and veg as well as humus and flat breads:
Chicken stew, trenchers (bread plates) and honey biscuits for the Anglo-Saxon presentation:
And lamb stew and flat bread during the Viking presentation. I serve all the food in wooden bowls and we use wooden utensils which I have slowly collected over the years:
Presentations are just so full of learning goodness and are what home-school memories are made of. We can not wait for our next one!
One question I recieved concerned the standards and regulations over here in the UK. As things stand, we have none. We must, by law, teach the child according to his aptitude and ability. This gives a wide scope of what is acceptable.
I hope I’ve answered a lot of your questions without too much rambling. I think the key to our school is planning a year in advance. In terms of ideas, resources and research nothing is better than good old time! Oh and being a complete insomniac probably comes in handy too….