Around this time of summer, I start getting excited about planning for the upcoming school year. Last Friday we went ahead and ordered all of our curriculum, that I had already underlined and circled months ago in the homeschool catalogs. The books and supplies should be arriving here within the next two weeks!
We’ll be continuing with our study of world history, picking up where we left off with the fall of Rome. The last stop from this past year on our tour of ancient civilizations was the Roman Empire, which honestly, I wasn’t jazzed about at first. There is so much brutality and corruption that went on during this time in history, that I worried about studying it at any length with my 1st grader.
However, it ended up being the favorite history unit for both of us! It was so fascinating to go back to the time period during which Christ walked on the earth and the New Testament was written. Studying the key figures, events, and political atmosphere of the time really helped us to have a greater understanding of the birth of Christianity, and how it survived and grew even under intense persecution by the Roman government.
As with our study on Ancient Greece, we created a lapbook so my seven-year-old could wrap his head around the flow of history during this period. My son decided for the most part which events and people he wanted to include.
He really enjoys using his creative skills to display what he has learned on just about any topic, and I’ve found that he also retains the information he puts together in the lapbooks. He likes to refer back to them later, too. We’ve sort of created our own reference library from them, and in this way the lapbooks become both keepsakes and educational tools!
The cover, with a timeline of important events:
- City of Rome Established, 753 BC
- Rome Becomes a Republic, 509 BC
- Rome Defeats Carthage and Becomes a World Superpower, 206 BC
- Murder of Julius Caesar, 44 BC
- Octavian (Caesar Augustus) Becomes First Emperor of Rome, 27 BC
- Roman Army Puts Down Jewish Revolt By Destroying Jerusalem & The Temple, 70 AD (a water droplet smudged the drawing of the city)
- Hadrian Builds Wall In Britain to Keep Out Barbarians, 117 AD
- Empire Split Into Western and Eastern Halves, 284 AD
- Christianity Becomes Official Religion of Roman Empire, 320 AD
- Barbarians Invade and Destroy Rome, 410 AD
- Fall of Roman Empire When German Ruler Takes The Throne, 476 AD
The upper left mini book is his picture of the chariot races at the Circus Maximus, a popular form of entertainment for Roman Citizens. Below, what happened at Pompeii when Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD. The highlight of this study was reading about a cake that had been preserved under several layers of volcanic ash and excavated, along with the entire city, thousands of years later!
Above is a drawing of the gladiator fights at the Colosseum, complete with special seating for the Emperor. An interesting fact we learned is that gladiators could win their freedom from slavery if they found favor with the Emperor by fighting valiantly. “Win the crowd, and you’ll win your freedom.” (Maximus, The Gladiator)
Below, he colored and labeled a map of the Roman Empire, using The Usborne Time Traveler as a guide. All the parts in green are inside the Empire, while the parts in yellow are outside. The stick figures are supposed to represent the Barbarians (what Romans called foreigners).
Inventions, or things we have gained from the Romans, such as our republican form of government, mosaics, aquadects, and many of our modern laws was illustrated using what he learned in The Usborne Book of World History and by watching Kid’s Animated History. Below that are pictures he colored of the Nicene Creed, which determined the Roman Catholic Church’s set of beliefs, and the poet Virgil, who influenced a great deal of literature during that time. Both of these drawings are actually stickers that come with Sonlight’s Timeline Book, which has a blank timeline from 5,000 BC to the present.
Above is a drawing of the Roman Army in battle, using a catapult to weaken an enemy’s fortress.
The conclusion of our Ancient Rome unit was about the growing tensions between the Barbarians and the Romans. I attempted to trace a map of Barbarian lands, and he numbered where each group lived. This was important since the Goths eventually invaded and attacked the city of Rome, weakening the Western half of the Empire’s capital. From there, other Barbarians conquered more parts until the Vandals captured Rome and finally put their own king on the throne. The Fall of Rome is considered the event that marks the end of Ancient History.
Another influence on the design of the lapbook was Drive Thru History: Rome If You Want To. This video series by Dave Stotts takes an amazing look at the real locations where historical events took place, and combines historical facts with people and events recorded in Scripture. While geared for teens, it was still very informative and entertaining for my elementary aged kid. There were many things that went right over his head, of course, but overall it was the perfect compliment to our study!
Linked up with The Homeschool Nook