Monday, 12 May 2014

What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us?

(I couldn't resist that title, as the wife of a Monty Python fan - and also a bit of a fan myself, it has to be said).

I love it when an idea takes off!  If you read last week's summary post, you may remember that at the end of the week we read the first chapter of a rather fabulous history book together, about the Ancient Romans in Britain, and it has prompted all sorts of ideas.  It really helps that we live not too far away from the Verulamium Museum in St Albans, and I was really happy that as hoped, we were able to visit as a family on Sunday.  I was thrilled to discover that as it was the second Sunday of the month, they had a visiting "Roman soldier" from legion fourteen, giving a talk on Roman armour and weapons - perfect for a hoard of boys!


In fact, the soldier talked for over an hour, but was so good that the boys sat on the floor and listened really well for the whole talk (if you know my boys in person, let me assure you that yes, you are reading the right blog!) There were trays of little mosiac tiles to play with if they got a bit fidgety, but really they didn't touch them much once he was talking.  We learned loads!

Eldest's fish

Middle's "Bob" (from Monsters versus Aliens)

We also watched a video about the growth of St Albans town, and we walked up to see the original mosaic floor and hypocaust (underfloor-heating), but sadly that was all we had time for. Perhaps we will go back another time to have a proper look around the museum (preferably in the summer as they have a lovely waterpark in the grounds too).


Anyway today, happily, the boys' enthusiasm for all things Roman has still been running quite high.  After MathsWhizz I brought out my surprise craft kit that I ordered on Friday (Amazon Prime has its uses).  I thought we could have a go at some mosaics, and was looking for an easy project with real tiles, but when I saw this kit for making mosiac dragons (using sticker tiles), I knew it would be perfect for the boys, and when it arrived I thought the price was really fair as it was good quality.


Yes, they all loved it - Middle was torn for ages over which one to make out of the two that he loved, until his brothers said that they didn't mind if he did the last one as well (there were four in the box).  He has put it aside to do later, but how sweet!  One of those nice glowing proud Mummy moments, so important to hold on to next time they are squabbling!


Eldest's dragon


Middle's dragon (in typical Middle style he added a few of his own choice of tiles in place of the prescribed ones)


Youngest's dragon

Eldest finished fairly quickly, then he was reading through one of our strewn books on Romans when he noticed an illustration of soldiers and was proud that he could point out which one the centurion was, based on the talk given by the soldier yesterday (the centurion being a) the only one who wore his helmet crest across the helmet rather than front-to-back, and b) the only one who wore his crest in battle).  He also appreciated the Monty Python sketch which I found on YouTube (told him Daddy could probably quote it verbatim).  *Please note*, John Cleese does use the word "B*st*rds" two seconds into the sketch - I just coughed over it - the rest of the sketch is clean.

While we were at the museum shop yesterday we bought a pack of Horrible Histories 'Rotten Romans' playing cards.  The younger two boys wanted to play with them this morning, so I sat down with them and taught them to play 'Donkey' (instructions here).  Much giggling ensued, which brought Eldest to join in with us.  Usually people use coins or pebbles to pick up, but the boys had rediscovered our tub of multicoloured animal counters to play with over the weekend, so we used those instead - renaming the horse counters 'donkeys'.  Youngest lost the over-all game, but his brothers had tried to help him by putting the counters closer to him etc, so he took it quite well.


Of course, it hasn't all been Roman doings here - Middle has continued with his Minecraft poster, and Eldest has started a second one.  Youngest has enjoyed playing on the CBeebies website, and they all enjoyed watching TV to work out how the magic tricks were done on Blue Peter (that we recorded it last week).

I don't want to overload the boys and get carried away with my own enthusiasm just because I can see they're interested in something, but if the Roman theme lasts a bit longer I won't be complaining - there are so many resources around to draw from!  And although our style of education may not be the sort that the Romans brought to history, I'm certainly enjoying their contribution to our home ed life right now!







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