Tag Archives: science unit studies

Hewitt Homeschooling: My First Report Review

If your kids enjoy fun hands on curriculum that offers a unit study approach, then they will love using My First Report from Hewitt Homeschooling.

Hewitt Homeschooling offers a wide variety of curriculum options for elementary, middle school, and high school students.  We are reviewing My First Report today, but be sure to check out the different kinds of products they have to offer.

My First Report

My First Report

Various Topic Themes

Unit Study Format

For grades 1–8

(depending on the skill level)
Grades 1-2 (with parental direction)
Grades 3-4 (independent)
Grades 5–8 (remedial work)

$8.95 each


SET of 14 Titles for $69.95

(40% savings)

My First Report uses a step by step approach to help elementary age students learn about a topic they are interested in and write a report about it.  This is a unique approach using unit studies to motivate kids to learn how to write mini reports on various subjects.  This curriculum helps students reach new challenges as they learn new skills, and learn to express their knowledge and ideas in complete sentences of their own.


My First Report uses a variety of skills and encourages research.  This curriculum is designed for kids in 3rd – 4th grades, but can be used for younger students in 1st-2nd grades (with the parents help), or used by older students in 5th-8th grades too.

Skills used in My First Report include:

Research (Encyclopedia, Dictionary, Books, Online, Interview, etc)
Critical Thinking

Unit Study Format:

My First Report topic themes are cross curricular and are designed as unit studies.  Each theme topic covers about 8-12 weeks of study and activities. You can go faster or slower depending on the needs of your family.

Each topic theme you purchase includes a number of corresponding worksheets (vocabulary word puzzles, research questions, maps, report forms, etc) and suggested hands on activities.

My First Report includes lots of optional suggested activities.  You can do as many or as few of the activities you chose.  The unit study is a beneficial method to cover a wide range of subjects and opportunities for students to learn hands on about the topic theme.

Various subject areas are incorporated into the study and will prepare your student to write an informed report about what they have learned.  Cross curricular subject areas include:

Social Studies
Suggested Field Trips

Topic Theme Titles:

Each My First Report retails for $8.95.  Hewitt Homeschooling also offers a huge discount if you purchase a bundle set of 14 topic themes together for $69.95

My First Report: Focus On The World
My First Report: Music
My First Report: Transportation
My First Report: Weather
My First Report: Me
My First Report: Famous People
My First Report: Wild Animals / Large Mammals
My First Report: Wild Animals / Small Mammals
My First Report: Pets/Farm Animals
My First Report: Bugs and Worms
My First Report: Birds
My First Report: Reptiles/Amphibians
My First Report: Plants
My First Report: Solar System
My First Report: Marine Life
My First Report: Olympics
My First Report: Outdoor Activities
My First Report: Sports
My First Report: My State
My First Report: Eastern United States
My First Report: Western United States
My First Report: Middle United States
My First Report: Southern United States
My First Report: Lewis and Clark Expedition

Our Experience:

We chose to write about our experience with My First Report: Focus On The World for the purpose of this review.  We have also began using My First Report: Weather . This curriculum is so fun to do and easy to implement.  We are using several titles from the series through out our homeschool year.

My First Report: Focus On The World
My First Report: Weather
My First Report: Outdoor Activities
My First Report: Music
My First Report: Transportation
My First Report: Wild Animals / Small Mammals
My First Report: Birds
My First Report: Reptiles/Amphibians

After we finish Focus on the World and Weather, I have scheduled Outdoor Activities for the summer, and the remaining titles are scheduled for fall. Once you try these out you will see why kids enjoy doing them.  My kids are having so much fun.

Everything is written out for you and easy to follow.  Each My First Report contains 50-60+/- pages including reproducible forms, worksheets, suggested reading and resources, and a very detailed unit study.

My First Report are illustrated and full color on heavy paper.  The pages arrived already hole punched, so it was easy to put each unit into a three ring binder for convenience.

Over the course of several weeks, the students are given small research projects that go along with the theme of the unit based on the title you chose.   Our unit was Focus on the World and contained a World Geography and Missions around the world theme.

In My First Report: Focus On The World, we learned about 13 different regions around the world.  Learning about 1 region a week, this title in the series would last about 13 +/- weeks or so.

Our research projects included learning about the cultures of people, languages, geography, animals, etc on each continent and learning how they were impacted by missionaries.  Each time we focused on a specific region, for example South America, there was a corresponding map and research questions to complete.

Unit study projects can be applied to each research project.  You can chose to do as much or as little of these optional activities as you like.  Below I have shared a few examples for you to see of the different unit study projects we did specific to the South America region.  When your student is ready, have them write their report from the research they did and information they have learned.  There are report masters included in the packet for them to fill in.

They can choose to write their report with or without a picture.

For South America for example, some of the additional unit study activities we did included:

Bible Copy Work & Penmanship & Vocabulary:

We read a bible verse and practiced re-writing it neatly.

The kids did a word puzzle included in the packet.

We also wrote out a rough draft of the report by writing down answers to research questions and then forming the information into paragraphs.


We read about Brazil.

Read about Animals and Birds of South America.


created sketches, painted, and drew with colored pencils various projects about Parrots.

Plan to learn to weave a traditional project.  We saw brightly colored woven place mats on our food field trip that we would like to replicate.

Social Studies / Culture / Foods:

Learned about holidays and foods from the region.  Made a traditional meal.

Field Trips:

Ate traditional South American foods at a local restaurant.

We have plans to visit a local missions outreach that traslates bibles and sends them with missionaries around the world.  They have a museum and local housing for missionaries on sabatical and we hope to visit them too.

We also have plans to visit the zoo to see various animals from around the world.


Interviewed a retired radio broadcaster who has been taking the message of Jesus into various nations around the world on short wave radio for over 40+ years.

Interviewed Nadia, a woman who works as a waitress at a local restaurant.  She was born in Columbia and lived in Venezuela and Brazil before coming to the USA.  We also had the opportunity to talk to her about faith in Jesus.

Music & Math & Language:

Learned songs in Spanish.

Practices words and counting in Spanish.

The same woman, Nadia, from South America also taught the kids a song in Spanish, taught them the names of money, how to say various family members (mother, father, brother, sister, baby, etc), and foods in both Portugese and Spanish.


Learned about the Amazon Rain Forest Habitat and Animals.  We chose to learn more about parrots in the rain forest (animals vary in different regions and we learned about other animals such as tigers, elephants, monkeys, etc from around the world for other locations).

I found coloring pages for animals online and we also took some art lessons creating parrot projects in an art course the kids are taking.

The kids then made several more art projects related to parrots.  One of my son’s liked the parrots so much he drew a parrot in the box for his report on South America.   As you can see, we really enjoy using these products.  We are learning lots of great information and having fun at the same time.

The My First Report products are consistently well written across all the various titles.  We first tried out a couple of Hewitt Homeschooling My First Report (Bugs and Worms and Solar System) a few years ago with our older kids when they were a lot younger, and we continue to be impressed with all the information the kids learn. Now our younger kids are benefiting too from all of these awesome hands on learning adventures.

My First Report are fun for the whole family, from the young to the old, including grandparents.   The thing I like most about unit studies is they are flexible and can be adjusted to use in any way, and for just about any age, that meets the needs of your family.  These would also be great for summer boredom busters, study groups, summer school, Sunday School, or afterschool learning adventures too.   This is a great curriculum resource and I would encourage other homeschool families to work My First Reports into their learning adventures.

Be sure to check out the various products from Hewitt Homeschooling.   I am planning to include some of their Lightning Literature curriculum for various ages of my kids next year.  For sure I would like to try the Lightning Literature: American Mid-Late 19th Century for my older boys, and many others look great too.

A few of the curriculum categories Hewitt Homeschooling has to offer include:

My First Reports
Lightning Literature
State Chronicles
Unit Programs
Hewitt Readers
Winston Grammar
and much more!

Social Media

Stay in touch with Hewitt Homeschooling for all the latest news and updates through their social media links:




Google Plus

Hewitt Blog

Homeschool Review Crew

Be sure to check out what others on the Homeschool Review Crew had to say about using Hewitt Homeschooling products with their families.

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Funtastic Unit Studies Review

Ready Set Go!  It is time for school you know!

Yes it is time for school to start and we have a fun Science Unit Studies for Homeschoolers and Teachers created by Funtastic Unit Studies to tell you about.  I am sure you will want to include this fun curriculum in your learning adventures this school year.

Science Unit Studies For Homeschoolers and Teachers


Science Unit Studies For Homeschoolers and Teachers

Large book, 201 pages, Soft Cover
For Kids ages 4-13
Retails $16.95

Units Studies:

There are 20 Unit Studies in this curriculum. The first ten chapters are for younger children ages 4-7, while the second ten chapters are for children ages 8-13.  Each chapter is filled with fun hands on science activities that teach science concepts built around a specific theme.


Our Senses
The Human Body
Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Life
Insects and Their Kin
Fun with Magnets
Stars and Planets
Beginning Plants
Animal Ecology
Microscopes and Invisible Creatures
Atoms and Molecules
Chemistry Fun
Force and Motion
Simple Machines
Light and Color
Plants II

Materials needed:

At the beginning of each lesson is a list of the supplies needed to complete the learning activity.  Activities are designed to use common household items, so you won’t need to buy lots of expensive scientific equipment or chemicals.

The END GOAL is to have FUN learning science and relating it to real life.

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How We Used This In Our Home.

After looking through the curriculum, we decided to begin with the unit study on learning about Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Life.  This chapter has 6 sections and involved about 15 suggested activities and a video plus a materials list.

  • Dinosaurs
  • Herbivores and Carnivores
  • Fossils
  • Extinction
  • After Extinction
  • Recommended Movie

The curriculum is flexible and depending on what projects you do, you can adjust the unit study for the skill level of your kids.  We love unit studies and I have learned over the years, any unit study can be adjusted as needed.   So I decided to make this unit study interesting for all of ages of kids in our family (15, 12, 10, 8, 6, 3) and do this together.  It was perfectly suited to do this with so don’t think you are locked into a certain age range on a given subject.

We did a range of projects and included some simple activities for the younger kids and some more complicated activities for our old kids too.  We completed 10 of those suggested in the book and added about 10 more of our own including creating a lapbook to keep of our fun learning adventure, learning to create our own Dinosaur Zoo in Minecraft and care for their needs in a virtual setting, creating a Dinosaur Feast, taking field trips, and watching several more dinosaur videos.

First we gathered our supplies and read over the lesson in the book.  The lesson is basically 8 pages of activities ideas and supply list.    Next we planned out several activities to reinforce the learning adventure.  Here is some of the fun stuff we did.


Through out this study we watched several dinosaur movies and documentaries.IMG_7852 - Copy

Videos We watched:

The Magic Schoolbus Stegasaurus.

Located this video on Youtube.com

The Best of Discovery Channel Dinosaurs

Located a whole list of Discovery Channel’s kid friendly dinosaur videos on Youtube.com

MineCraft Dinosaurs

Located a video “How to create your own” dinosaur worlds and zoos like Jurasic Park.

A Trip Back In Time To The Beginning

This is a video we made of our visit to the Creation Museum to see dinosaurs last summer.  Link is posted below under “field trips”.

Flash Cards

I found Dinosaur Flash Cards for $1 and bought a couple of sets to learn with.  The set came with 50 different full color illustrated dinosaur cards.  This was such a great buy and worked perfect for our learning adventure.


These had many facts about each different kind of dinosaur on the back of the card.   We practiced learning the different kinds of dinosaurs and categorizing them into plant eating herbivores, or meat eating carnivores.


Then I found a free set of dinoaur fact flash cards online to use in our lapbooks.  We printed them, colored them, wrote each dinosaurs name on them, and cut them out, and created a pocket to keep them in the lapbook.  You can play games with them and organize them by type or size or by what they eat etc.

Math and Measurement

We took Measurements in the yard to see how big the dinosaurs were and then charted the lengths and heights on graphing worksheets.  Our flash cards with lengths and heights of different dinosaurs were portable to take outside and came in handy again!

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We created dinosaur dioramas based on what we learned.

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Changing Prefixes and Suffixes and Invent and Draw Our Own Dinosaurs

The kids learned a list of 15 prefixes and 14 suffixes.  For example: “Dino” means “terrible” and “saurus” means “lizard” so dinosaur means terrible lizard.   They wrote them out on index cards and learned how combining the two parts gives the description of the kind of dinosaur being described.  Then they made up their own new dinosaurs and drew them and colored them based on what they named them and thought they might look like.


Computer Science Skills VIRTUAL Dinosaur Zoo

The kids created a dinosaur world on MineCraft based on what they learned in the video tutorial.  They built facilities, and had to feed them, water them, keep them safe,  etc in the  “zoo” system they built for them.  They have all kinds of dinosaurs you can raise and care for with different kinds of needs.  Also safety is an issue as you might need to escape from them if your character gets into a situation where you could be eaten. In the tutorial, the fella drops his gear into a pool and in the pool is a large scary croc-dino and it eats him every time he goes in to get his gear / tools so he can progress in the game.  Anyway, it is really fun and creative.

Be a Paleontologist:  Sandbox Dinosaur Dig & Sensory Bin Dino Dig

We did an outdoor dig and a smaller scale sensory bin indoor dig while pretending to be Paleontologists hunting for dinosaur bones.  I printed out a T-Rex skeleton printout with labels of various bone structures for them to figure out some of the main bones.  I buried various animal toys and pretend bones in sandbox for my kids to find.  IMG_7706

For the indoor bin I buried a complete  3D wooden dinosaur puzzle in a mixture of beans and lentils (a mess-free way to represent dirt and rocks).


On top we made a diorama of animals and a stream and pretended a shepherd (played by Woody from Toy Story) discovered a bone near the stream and a Paleontologist (played by a Lego mini-figure) came to search for the skeleton.


Tools: Brushes of different sizes, tweezers, and magnifying glass.  The Lego mini figure also has a pic ax for chipping ways at rocks and dirt too.

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Using a brush to clean off the bones.


Using the magnifying glass to identify the bones.

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I will post a separate story with more details and also the re-constructed dinosaur they made with the bones they discovered.


We created lapbooks with lots of fun printables and activities.


I researched the coloring pages and worksheet printables from various sources online.

IMG_8999 lapbook

I will post a separate story with their completed lapbooks.

Fossils and Cooking

Making Fossil Cookies


Our guests left their tracks!


They also took a few hungry bites!


Several more fell into our pit and got stuck and left their fossilized imprints in our dough forever.  Now we will always have a record that they were here.


Creating our own fossil imprints.


Making Dino Poop Protein Balls


Isn’t every kid fascinated with poop?  Well, maybe not, but making edible Dino poop is a lot of fun!   Dissecting this is fun too.  You find “undigested” stuff in their poop (oats and nuts).


Making Dino Speckled Eggs


Edible Dinosaur Speckled Eggs are yummy and a lot of fun to make too!  You can hide baby dinosaurs inside to “hatch” too.

Making food for carnivores and herbivores.


The book suggested making a stegosaurus out of a bagel, cream cheese, apple slices, and carrots.  But we didn’t have bagels on hand, so we made up our own idea for dinosaur themed snacks.   We set out a whole bunch of supplies and the kids designed their own dinosaur feast. They had to come up with herbivore meals and carnivore meals.  They used a paper plate and a knife to create their designs.  They decided to make dinosaurs out of the ingredients based on the category.

Herbivore Dinosaur Plate

We made a stegosaurus with apples, peanut butter, carrots, and olives.  Then made a poop location with celery and blueberries, and a pretzel nest with grape eggs.


We also made a parsley, olive, strawberry tree and a pile of broken pretzel branches for our dinosaur to eat.


Carnivore Dinosaur Plate.

We made a T-REX with cheddar and string cheese and pepperoni, a half eaten victim of ham, string cheese pepperoni and pretzels, and a nest of pretzels and grape eggs.



The kids had a lot of fun playing with their dinosaur food feast.  They invited their dinosaur toys to the party too.

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Science Field Trip #1:

We went to Brown County State Park.  This was a great hands on adventure of exploration. There are two lakes, a couple of mineral springs, campgrounds, horseback riding, and miles and miles of hiking trails and streams to explore.   The park covers 16,000 acres.

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Our explorations pertaining to our Dinosaur Science Unit Study involved:

  • Looking at different ecosystems: forest, grassland, water – streams.
  • Looking at different geological formations and rocks.
  • Looking for fossils. Searching for signs of prehistoric life.

Brown County State Park

We enjoyed taking our shoes off and walking through one of the streams exploring the most of all.


It was a fun way to cool off from the heat and humidity of the day.

Hunting for fossils

This was so much fun.  All of the kids really enjoyed themselves.

Science Field Trip #2

Our second field trip got postponed and we are planning to go back again in a few weeks.   We are going to the Big Bone Lick State Park in Kentucky.  This is considered the birth place of American vertebrate paleontology.  There is a salt marsh there that many prehistoric animals died near by as they came to lick the salty water, and to drink and eat vegetation.  However, because it is so marshy and somewhat like quick sand, many of these prehistoric animals got stuck and died there.  Thousands of bones have been found.  There is a life size display behind the museum, and then many thousands of fossils inside the museum.  We have been to see this before but only saw the display outside and we followed a nature trail that meanders through the marshy landscape.  But we are planning to go again and visit inside the museum.  The indoor museum was closed last time we were there.  They are open 10-4 pm daily and for some reason, the museum was closed the day we went.

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Big Bone Lick State Park features life size mammoths, mastodons, sloths, and bison.

Science Field Trip #3

We took a virtual field trip of a real life field trip we did last summer.  We looked through some pictures and videos we saved from that trip.  We call it the Trip Back In Time To The Beginning and you can watch the video posted below.  We visited the Creation Museum in Kentucky and made a movie about the dinosaurs around the time of creation.  It was a lot of fun to go back through our pictures and watch the video of the fun day we had learning hands on about dinosaurs.  They have many life size dinosaurs and skeletons and even some robotic diorama’s set up and you feel like you are right there walking with the dinosaurs.  We also have pictures saved from another field trip from an actual dinosaur dig site we got to visit and museum at the Natural History Museum ad Gray Fossil Site in Tennessee, and our field trip to Dinosaur World in Kentucky.  Someday I hope to make videos from the pictures of our trips to those sites too. The kids really enjoy watching their pictures put into a video like this and tying it all together.  And YES my kids really like dinosaurs!!!

Resources and FREEBIES:

Helpful articles for Homeschoolers:

Two free pdf units from the book:

More freebies:

This is a fun and easy to do science curriculum and we highly recommend adding Science Unit Studies for Homeschoolers and Teachers into your science studies.

Funtastic Unit Studies Review

Be sure to check out what other families on the TOS Review Crew had to say about using Funtastic Unit Studies.

Crew Disclaimer

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Knights and Nobles Unit Study Review

Want to take a trip back in time? What time in history would you choose to travel too? I asked my kids this very question and they wanted to travel back to the Middle Ages, a time of Knights, Nobles, Kings, Queens, and Castles.

Homeschool Legacy

Homeschool Legacy offered us the opportunity to review their Knights & Nobles Once A Week Unit Study and travel back in time to learn about life in the middle ages. We were excited about doing this unit study and learn more about this period in history.

Knights and Nobles Unit Study

Knight and Nobles

4 Week Unit Study
Retails for $14.00 for PDF eBook download and $18.95 for printed version
Grades 2-12
Biblically centered
Easy to do
Merit Badges for Boy Scouts and AHG

This unit study is divided into 4 weeks, with an option to stretch it to five to host a Midevil Feast. Each week is laid out for you with suggestions for books to read, videos to watch, and activities to complete.  Lots of options for books and videos are given, and you can pick and choose which ones you are interested in, and what works best for your schedule and family’s needs.

The basic schedule for each week is:

Monday: add in reading and read aloud to your normal school routine

Tuesday:  add in reading and read aloud to your normal school routine

Wednesday: Eliminate your normal school routine,  and add in add in the family bible devotional, individual book reading and the family read aloud, and various unit study activities in science, history, writing, art, math, etc.

Thursday: add in reading and read aloud to your normal school routine

Friday: normal school routine, plus complete your reading and read alouds, go on a field trip, or host a family game night.  Each week also concludes with a fun “Stump your dad” trivia question for kids to get their dad’s involved too.

How we used this product in our homeschool:

Before getting started, the kids made a timeline on notebook paper to keep track of events and famous people from the middle ages they would learn about along the way.  We also looked over the list of books, and made a list we liked and found web sites and videos we wanted to include too.   I did a lot of prep work, and we made personalized folders, and I printed off several coloring pages, word puzzles, and other helpful things I found on nternet searches and placed them in the folders to use through out the study.  We turned these folders into a kind of lapbook, but had the advantage of three whole punch in the center to hold papers like a notebook, and also pockets on the inside of the folders to hold loose projects too.  I’ve included a few pictures of the kids working in their lapbooks, but I will create a separate post to go over the lapbooks in more detail in a future story, be sure to check back for more info.

Week 1: Castles

The kids watched David Macaulay’s Castle and Cathedrals PBS video documentary on Youtube. They learned a lot about castle and church architecture, and history of the church.  I wasn’t quite ready for the kids to learn some of the darker things of church history like greed, power, unbiblical agenda’s, and evil government control over the church, etc. but they did gain an understanding on the scope of the architecture and scale of the building projects and that was the main goal.  We had some long discussions about church history following those videos. Specifically why it is best for the government not to run the church and how greatful we are that our ancestors came to America to be free from that kind of control.


We explored some other videos that were more suitable for younger kids, and easier to understand.  My kids are elementary and middle school aged.  There are several other really good videos on castles, and some great ones with virtual tours of the Biltmore Castle in Asheville, NC.  We used to live close by the Biltmore, and we would see the castle nearly every day as we drove past it on the highway.  But now it would be an 8 hour drive to get there, so we were not able to travel to see it during this review.

We loved creating our own castles, both model castles and virtual castles.  We watched videos to increase our knowledge of how to make them.   This short 1 minute video was another really easy one for the kids to understand, and helped them create their own castles.  We made physical castles and virtual castles on their favorite online game called Minecraft. This was a really good learning exercise for them.

We also explored some web sites about specific castles and a really good one with lots of information about castles in many countries was called Great Castles.  On this site, the kids learned about castles in Ireland, England, Wales, Germany, and many other countries and also could choose coloring pages of the famous castles to print and color.


We took a field trip to Loveland, Ohio to see the LaRoche Castle.  It was a rainy spring day with a chill in the air, and kind of fitting to go see a castle on a day like this.  You can read more about our field trip and what we learned on this excursion in a seperate story.

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All of the kids colored their own castles.  We searched famous castles online, and they picked out their own castles to color.  The younger kids had easier castles to work with and the older kids had very complicated and detailed realistic castle drawings to work with.

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The kids also designed castles with Legos, paper, boxes, and other building materials. My oldest son also made 3D models from paper and a popup castle too.

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They also played chess at home, chess at the LaRoche Castle field trip, and they played several historic games from the Middle Ages at the LaRoche Castle too.

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My kids love Minecraft.  Building a virtual castle was a lot of fun.  After learning about blueprints and building with architecture drawings, we found a wonderful Minecraft castle tutorial online to expand the learning even more.  The kids practiced math and spatial skills, building to scale, and had a great time creating their virtual castels.


Week 2: Kings and Queens

We read about King Arthur and the Knights of the round table.  Some of this chapter’s learning took place before the Middle Ages, such as studying King Solomon, the greatest king that ever lived.  We had fun learning about the life of kings and queens and nobility.  We read the book of Esther in the bible and studied Queen Esther’s life and heroism.  We also read about King Solomon, King David, and King Josiah.  I found coloring pages online for each of these Kings and Queens and the kids had fun coloring them and then put them into their lapbook folders.


We watched several movies including: One Night With the King (Queen Esther and King Xerses), AD TV series, The Final Inquiry (Roman soldier who investigates the story of Christ’s death and resurrection for the Emperer of Rome just before Rome fell and the middle ages began).


My oldest son loves oragami and researched making some paper art pieces.  He made pop up castles, and he also made a crown.


The kids learned about how letters were written in all capital letters and had no spaces between words until a scholar from Charlamaine’s Court invented lower case letters, spaces, and punctuation.  Letters were very hard to read before.   We also learned about a style of calligraphy writing called Versal Manuscript, and the kids made their own personalized bookmarks.


Week 3: Knights

This week the kids learned about Knights in shining armor and weaponry.  They learned about body armor, swords, archery with bows and arrows, and catapults.  They learned about great nights like the Three Musketeers and Ivanhoe and learned about coat of arms, and having a code of honor, a list of virtues one pledges to live by.

As Christians, our code of honor is the standard of the bible, no more, no less.  They decorated their own coat of arms and wrote out their own code of honor.


We have built catapults in the past, and they are a lot of fun.  We have several sitting on display on shelves in our house.  We also made them in the past for our Lego and Robotics club and had teams shoot them into a wooden castle.  We have bows and arrows and the kids have had a lot of practice shooting them too.  Two of our sons have been out hunting deer with them in the fall of the year too.   But this time learning about weapons of the Middle Ages, we wanted to make a sword.  We had seen some wooden swords for $20+ each at the castle we visited, but did not want to pay the high price for them by the time we bought one for each child.  We also checked on buying them online, but by the time you paid for shipping, wooden swords were going to cost around $20-$25 a piece.  If we bought a sword for each child (we have six kids) it was going to cost us at least $120 or more.   Instead we we decided we could make them ourselves.  We were able to purchase 1″ x 4″ x 8′ boards which costs less than $5 a board.  Each board produced 3 wooden swords that were 32″ long each. This made the cost of each sword less than $2 a sword for the materials.

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Week 4: Life in a Manor

This week was just as much fun as the previous weeks.  We learned about life in a manor, midevil games and story telling.  We made up a fictional historical story and drew out the story in a series of pictures.  We learned to juggle.  We looked up the history of various last names (surnames) and how they relate to a person’s occupation during this time in history.

My kids love to bake, and we decided to learn more about the history of baking during middle ages.  One fun food we enjoy today that was invented then was the pretzel . My kids love pretzels!  Wikipedia has a lot of information about the history of the pretzel.

We loved this adorable read aloud book about Walter the Baker and making pretzles.

We live on a homestead, and our kids have a lot of experience with farm animals, growing food, caring for the land, etc. They also learn carpentry skills with their daddy who has been in construction for over 27 years and is a very skilled craftsman. I hope as we head into summer we can find some additional hands on activities to do like blacksmithing and metal working, masonry, etc. I am hoping my big boys will help me cast some garden projects with cement and stones too. It is fun to learn about different kinds of skilled trades and broaden our experience as we learn new skills.

We watched some rennissance festivals and movies on Youtube.  The kids really enjoyed learning about Robin Hood who became a hero because he gave money that he took from the rich to the poor peasants in the villages.  We don’t believe in stealing, and story this opened the door for many more discussions, and just because someone becomes a hero to one group who has been mistreated or discriminated against by those in power, they can still be a terrorist to other groups, which we still see in the world today.  Later the kids had fun climbing trees, playing tag, practicing their fencing skills with their wooden swords, and acting like Robin Hood.



We have not completed the feast of the study yet.  We plan to host a feast as soon as we can. I’m not positive what we have decided for our theme, we are kind of leaning toward calling it Dinner with the King.  Dad will serve as King.  But we may call it something different and focus on peasant life, or skilled trades, etc.   We are looking forward to having fun with this.

We have watched several videos about food and read web sites about food from the Middle Ages time period.   One resource is History For Kids – Medieval Food.   We plan to host a feast soon, and set the table with fancy table settings and enjoy a meal as if we were in the castle eating with the King.

We have planned our dinner menu, we just need to set a date.
Rotisseri Chicken
Hunter’s stew (deer meat, carrots, onions, served on plates or bowls made of bread).
Tray of nuts, fruit, and cheese.
Peasant Bread / Barley Pancakes / Crepes / Pretzels   we might make all four varieties or just one.   (can be made from any oats, millet, buckwheat, rye, barley)
Pouridge (made from any oats, millet, buckwheat, rye, barley), not sure exactly how I plan to do this, but the Native Americans made theirs with berries, grain (like corn), and maple syrup, so I think I can find a similar recipe from Europe using these other grains from the time period.  If not, this dish may turn into a cobbler or something similar.
Custard Pie (we plan to make dad’s favorite Sugar Cream Pie)

Ideas suggested in the unit study for entertainment will be: a mime game called Charades; also Chess; and each child will prepare a joke to share.

There are so many wonderful things to study about the Middle Ages that we have decided that we are not done.  We want to learn more.   We are going to continue learning more through out our summer and take this time in history much slower and study even deeper than we did during this 4 week unit study. I think planning to spend a whole semester or even two semesters doing unit studies about this time in world history and church history would make an awesome school year for middle and highschool kids.   This unit study was a good and quick opportunity to get our feet wet.  Now we want to take our time and learn even more.

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