As promised, here are the photos of our very first Living History Event of the schoolyear.
At each event, we will try to focus on the BIG IDEAS that we want the kids to come away with. We prepare props and simple costumes before hand, then spend the day dressing up and acting out the BIG IDEAS together.
These events are always, always a big hit with the kids, from the 2 year olds to the grade-schoolers. And why not? They’re just so hands-on and fun. This is a great way to teach history and more importantly, build a life-long love of history and learning!
All 4 families in our homeschool group use Story of the World as our main curriculum and this year, we are all studying the Middle Ages (volume 2). It is so much fun to be on the same page with a few other local families!
In case you missed my initial post, you can click here to find out all about the BIG IDEAS we chose for our focus.
So–first, all the kids got into their costumes–the girls donned Roman-esque styled dresses and cloaks while the boys represented the barbarians with their rough, burlap costumes we cut from a few large potato sacks, with ropes for belts. Easy-peasy!
To act this part out, we roped off an area that we called “the Roman Empire” and the girls, along with their “children” (baby dolls) stood inside the circle and guarded their treasures and land (the treasures were baskets of fruit, shiny play coins and gems, and a couple stuffed sheep to represent flocks).
The barbarians growled and growled and surrounded the girls in the Roman Empire, and periodically, planned attacks. To win, they had to grab a piece of treasure without being tagged by a Roman.
The treasures were easier to protect when the Empire was small.
But as we increased the roped-off area (as Rome also grew and grew), it was harder for the Romans to guard the entire area from attack, and sure enough, those barbarians got most of the treasures. We also let the girls “pay” a few of the barbarian tribes to protect them from the other tribes. They did at first…but then, even those barbarians turned on the Romans–they cared more about land and money than loyalty to Rome. And sure enough, after while, Western Rome was overrun by barbarians tribes.
The kids really seemed to enjoy the role-playing game we did for this part.
I don’t have any action-shots from this part because I was leading it, and unable to snap photos at the same time. If any other the other mamas send me any, I’ll post them.
Once we acted all of that out, we went on to part two.
We talked about the Celtic peoples who were living in Britain during this period, and how they had finally been able to push the Romans off their island.
However, they continued warring amongst themselves since they did not serve a single king, nor were they a united people group. Some tribes recruited help from the Anglos and Saxons living across the North Sea. They’d give land if these barbarians would help them fight off certain Celtic tribes.
The plan worked–for a while, until more and more Anglos and Saxons moved to Britain and pushed the Celts off their land. Many Celts ended up settling North in the areas we know as Wales, Scotland and Ireland.
The Celts were highly skilled metal-workers, and made elaborately decorated weaponry, armor and jewelry.
For this part of our Living History Event, we split the boys from the girls.
The girls went off to make brooches (from cardboard they painted and glittered), necklaces, and dress up in Celtic fashions. Don’t they look so lovely? 😀
Meanwhile the boys had their bodies and faces painted blue, donned plaid cloaks and decorated their double headed axes (made from foam). They used duck tape and washi tape for this activity, and oh man, did they have fun adding their own designs to their weapons. It was pretty awesome. Check out all these fierce Celtic warriors and their super cool axes!
As I talked the kid through this part about the Celts fighting one another, I had the boys split into various “tribes” and do some slow-motion fighting of one another. Um, speaking of–have you ever tried this with little boys? It’s amazing to me but somehow they know exactly how to act out elaborate moves in perfect slow-mo choreography without ever being taught how to do it. Totally intuitive. Gotta love boys. They ALL had fun with this part, while the girls watched from a safe distance. 🙂
We finished by explaining how the Anglos and Saxons eventually came and pushed the Celts off their land (the moms had to pose as Anglos and Saxons for this part since all the boys were now Celts).
We role-played how some of the Celts and Anglos / Saxons became friends, intermarried, but other Celts wanted to live alone, so they moved up north.
We talked a bit about family heritage and how many of the first Americans were descended from either the Celts (Scottish, Irish, Welsh) or the English & Germanic (Anglos, Saxons) and the kids thought it was quite amazing that their great-great-great-great-great, etc grandparents may have been “barbarians.” 😀
We then broke for lunch-and naturally, it seemed fitting to cook meat over the fire. Special thanks to the Berg family for opening up their beautiful property for our group to use. The kids had such a wonderful time together, and the space was perfectly fitting for our activities.
After lunch, the K-2nd grade kiddos got to enjoy “Art Hour” led by my friend and fellow homeschooling mama, Hannah. Each one had their own Ikea easel and brand new paints. They had a great time painting and listening to beautiful classical music while our little ones and babies had their own hands-on activities in the back yard, led by Miss Amy and Miss Becca. 🙂
We finished our day with a make-and-take activity–the 1st and 2nd graders made their own clocks for practicing time skills at home.
The children all had so much fun together, it was hard to say goodbye until next week.
I really should have snapped a photo of my utterly exhausted blue-faced Celts sound asleep in their beds about 2.5 seconds after we got home. Hands-on learning sure is tiring. 😀
Hope you enjoyed hearing about our Living History Event~the first of many more to come this year, so stay tuned. Until next time, happy homeschooling, ya’ll.