Thursday, May 15, 2014

Roman History for Kids

For the next few weeks as I work on a book project, I'll be pulling out some posts from the past. Here's a post from summer 2011, soon after I returned from a trip to Italy with the kids. 

Before we left for Italy, I ordered a bunch of books for Daniel (age 10) on Roman history. He's really enjoyed books from two series.

The Interactive History Series lets kids choose their own pathway through history. So far he's readLife as a Gladiator andAncient Rome. Each book has 3 story paths with over 33 choices and 18 endings. For example, in Life as a Gladiator, you can choose to take part in the rebellion led by Spartacus, to train as a gladiator as a free citizen, or to fight as a veteran gladiator. Throughout each story, you make even more choices, i.e. Do you want to stay with the rebels? orDo you want to escape?. Daniel has read each pathway, and likes to see the different outcomes. We had fun readingAncient Rome together, choosing to live the life of a Roman woman who used a love potion and accidentally killed her husband - ooops!

We've also been reading together the Wicked History series, which details early war criminals like Hannibal and Julius Caesar. Geared towards kids, I like them too - they clearly explain the history of the era, and show the childhood events that led to the man who changed history. Poor Hannibal made promise to his Dad, for example, when he was just about Daniel's age, promising to fight the Romans to his death.

Daniel desparately trying to make a gladius.
Daniel has been so inspired by all this Roman history: he's even turned to digging around the tool shed, and sawing and sanding away, convinced he can create his own gladius.

Chiara meanwhile has been spending lots of time drawing on her magic erase board and picking miniature Chinese mandarins from the tree in the garden, taking a bite out of them, and then sticking them into holes in the walls.

Yes, I'd probably homeschool the kids if I were a millionaire and had the luxury of living year round in Italy, where long, quiet days are just right for reading, learning and exploring at your own pace, for following whatever interests you on a whim. 
Chiara singing to herself and drawing on her magic erase board.

mandarini cinesi

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