Thursday, January 11, 2007

Why Study Gladiators?

This year in our homeschool we’re studying ancient history using A World of Adventure. This is a fantastic curriculum that includes most subjects – it only needs the addition of math, typing, and a foreign language. It took me three years of trying curriculums to find it. The only adaptation I’m finding I need to make is a way to make it a bit more accessible to my 2nd-grader. (It is geared toward 4th – 8th graders.) Enter lapbooking.

On our agenda (after Ancient Egypt and Ancient Greece) is Ancient Rome. In preparation for this part of our studies, I discovered that Hands of a Child has a project pack on Gladiators, for grades 4 and up. Now, I have two sweet little girls, ages 9 ½ and 7. I was skeptical as to whether this particular project pack would be appropriate for us. On the other hand, I also have a 13 ½-year-old nephew who is homeschooled. “Perfect!” I thought! He is unofficially ADHD, bright, and very creative, but not too interested in anything but skate- or snow-boarding, video games, and hanging out with his friends. He did have a ton of fun in an air-gun battle with his visiting boy cousins over the holidays.

So, I asked my sister if she’d be interested in having her son try the project pack. “No, but thanks for thinking of him,” she replied after I briefly explained the concept of lapbooking. The minimal organizing of supplies needed to complete a project pack scared her. If we lived closer, I’d have had him come to our house to do the project. So, I proceeded to review the pack myself, keeping my nephew AND my sweet little girls in mind as I did.

I had already learned something new before I’d even finished the first information page! And the suggestions for adapting a project pack for younger or older students are wonderful. All three of the kids could definitely do this!

All of us have heroes. This study would be a great way to introduce a personal study of heroes – who they are, why we think they are heroes, and what we can do to be a hero to someone else.

The story of Spartacus and his leadership of the slaves’ revolt would make a fabulous introduction to a study of personal rights and freedom or could lead into a study of Martin Luther King (Hands of a Child has a project pack for this!) and civil rights.

Athletic training, protective gear, and competitive games in front of an audience – who knew that it all began with the Gladiators!

Add that to the creative options for individual expression and opportunities for short Charlotte Mason-style learning sessions, and I need no more convincing that my nephew as well as my sweet girls will definitely enjoy this project pack.

Now I just need to find a way to convince my sister!

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