Thursday, 6 November 2014

Roman studies

Roman mosaic in the Museum of London

This week, local children returned to school and Charlie and I reverted to a more structured timetable again. Many home educators don't follow school terms, but it suits us this way.

Practising letter formation with the help of our cat, Mittens

Our new topic is the Romans. Although home educators do not have to stick to the National Curriculum, I prefer to follow its guidelines, although I also like the fact that I have the freedom to diversify. The National Curriculum for Key Stage 2 states that children must study the Roman Empire and its impact on Britain, with the new History curriculum emphasising a slightly more European focus. We will also be studying the Celts, which is also part of the National Curriculum.

For this topic, I have downloaded a series of lessons from PlanBee, as I was so impressed by the two lessons I bought from them on space recently. Each lesson provides a teacher's plan, worksheets and slides. Extras, such as card games, are also often included. I find Charlie prefers these lessons to textbook studies. For our Roman studies, I bought the combination pack called 'Invaders and Settlers: A Roman Case Study', which includes seven lessons. I also downloaded their free assessment grid, which allows me to assess what Charlie has understood from our lessons.

We began by looking at the meaning of the words 'invade' and 'settle' and learning to place the Romans on a timeline. I helped Charlie to understand how long ago the Roman invasion was by explaining that it was the equivalent of 250 times his eight years of life. This gave him some sense of how long ago it was. (I can't take credit for this idea - it was suggested in the PlanBee lesson plan).

Completing one of the activities on the Roman invasion

Charlie particularly enjoyed the card game that accompanied this lesson, which easily helped him learn the date of the successful Roman invasion of Britain by Claudius in 43AD and the year the Romans withdrew from Britain, as well as consolidating his understanding of the concepts of invading and settling. I realised he had no understanding of the terms 'BC' and 'AD', so we looked at those too.

In our second lesson, we explored how and why the Romans invaded Britain. We looked at pictures of Roman soldiers, their weapons and what life was like for a Roman soldier.

Throughout our studies, we are listening to the BBC's podcasts on the Romans, which explore the history of the Romans in Britain through drama and comic sketches. They are designed for children aged nine and over.

The Horrible Histories series provides some entertaining sketches on the Romans too. This week we watched these two:

In my next post, I will write about our trip to the Museum of London, a museum which contains an extensive Roman collection.

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