Back from Romania, at the beginning of May, it was time to catch up on our much-neglected history studies. A New Kind of King or Chapter 19 was a great one to pick back up because it dealt with Robin Hood. Well, first it dealt with Richard the Lionhearted, then with his brother, John Lackland and Robin Hood.
The kids love Robin Hood. We have read some books about this character and so they already knew who he was and what he did.
Besides the map and the coloring page, we chose to do a craft for this chapter. Well, I did. We made our own Magna Carta – one for each of their bedroom doors. It seemed the easiest craft to tackle.
I have decided that I am too much of a classical educator to spend ample amounts on time on crafts. I prefer to deal with words, words, words and read, read, read than to glue and cut and measure. But my children are still small and doing something concrete really helps.
So we dyed the construction paper with black tea – great use for some black tea somebody gave me without knowing I do not drink black tea. (It contains caffeine and I do not react well to this stimulant.) I noticed that the paper did not change color much, but it smells lovely now.
After the papers dried up, I wrote what they dictated to me. We did not really abide by the rules, not even for one day. But it was a great exercise and I know they got the point now about how democracy got started.
And, what’s more, my son used the words Magna Carta a week later, when he complained that we do not close the door to his bedroom when we leave and he is in there. “I even posted it on the door!” he complained. Which he had, a long time ago. Thinking for a bit, he said, “I think I will have to write it on my Magna Carta!”
I smiled inwardly and agreed with him outwardly. It is so good to see that our children are picking up new vocabulary and concepts and use them in their daily life. This is why we bother with history in the early grades.
Oh, and I told them the complete name of the document was Magna Carta Libertatum. We say “libertate” in Romanian and, of course, “liberty” in English, so I pointed out the Latin roots in both words. That’s how I do my kind of unit studies, mixing vocabulary and spelling and history.