This is the first three weeks of studying Ancient Rome in sixth grade. We actually starting preparing for this block about a week before our Mineralogy block ended by reading aloud the Aenid as chronicled in Penelope Lively’s book, “In Search of A Homeland: The Story of The Aenid.” We started by drawing a picture from this book on our first day, along with reading the synopsis of the Aenid by Dorothy Harrer in her book, “Roman Lives.”
We then started reading in Charles Kovacs’ “Ancient Rome” the story of Romulus and Remus. We painted the Seven Hills of Rome and talked about Horatius Keeps the Bridge (the historical event and the poem, “Horatius At The Bridge” by Lord Macaulay and also got the book with the complete poem in it to read), and also painted that scene as well. I found the Christopherus Roman History guide to be helpful with some of the summaries and map drawings at this point. Our daughter worked hard on a mosaic stepping stone for our garden during this week as well.
During the beginning of the second week of Rome, we drew a map of the Seven Hills of Rome. We read the book “City” by David Macauley together and just absorbed how a Roman city would grow and how the Romans built their buildings. We also talked extensively about the plebians and the patricians and Roman life. Many Roman customs were detailed well in this rather mainstream book:
We started reading chapters of “Our Little Roman Cousin of Long Ago” to end each main lesson.
At the beginning of the third week, we then moved into Marius and Sulla, and from there into Spartacus and Julius Caesar. Now, at the end of our third week of Rome, we are finishing up a summary about Julius Caesar and our daughter is working on a portrait of Julius Caesar.
The amount of writing I required in this block was quite extensive. My daughter is an excellent writer, and it is easy for her to compose summaries. Many children would not be ready for this, and I think depending upon where your child is, you could require less writing, more writing on their own with you then correcting, or even dictation for some smaller summaries.
The last thing we really picked up these past three weeks was to re-invigorate our study of Latin. At the tail end of fifth grade, our daughter had an opportunity to take a Latin class through a co-op. I couldn’t continue this fall for a variety of reasons, but she will be picking back up with her teacher in January so we started to review in preparation for that. We are using “Minimus”, which is geared to seven to ten year olds, but quite frankly, I think it is perfect for any age before high school. It ties the speaking of the Latin language into the Roman occupation in Britain, and details the life of a family living in Vindolanda, a real archeological site excavated in Britain. It is certainly not beautiful as by Waldorf standards, but I think what it does do well in is tying the Latin language into a living, vibrant culture.
The resources I found most indispensable for this block, including the books highlighted above with pictures, were
The Christopherus Roman History Unit Guide
Dorothy Harrer’s “ Roman Lives”
Charles Kovacs’ “Ancient Rome” – this is really important, because Kovacs ties in the consciousness of the Romans to how humanity was developing in the world and spends time comparing Ancient Rome to the Ancient Civilization studied in fifth grade.
More to come in Ancient Rome,