Ideas: RTR favorite extras

Including getting a later start using "English From The Roots Up" or "God & the History of Art"
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Ideas: RTR favorite extras

Unread post by 4Truth » Thu Mar 15, 2007 2:50 pm

sandi wrote:Hello everyone!
We will finish up CTG this spring and I am trying to look ahead to next year and do some planning. Next year we will use RTR. I need some ideas!

Kellybell and Julie I know that you guys are using this right now. SOOO, what were some of the neat things you did or did you find any books, tapes, movies that you just really loved that are worth getting? Okay you guys , I always love your ideas so please share!

One of the first things we did that got the girls excited was to have a Roman style lunch on our first day of RTR. We spread a blanket on the LR floor and ate with our fingers. We had chicken, cheese, grapes, and Italian style bread which we broke off the loaf with our fingers. But we didn't throw our chicken bones on the floor like the ancient Romans did! We don't have servants to clean it up! LOL!

We drank water rather than juice or wine because of a house rule about drinks in the LR (and obviously I'm not going to give my girls wine!), but we did drink from fancy glasses. ;o)

There is a "Royal Theater" class that I could've enrolled the girls in, during which they'd learn courtly dance, but we have a transportation problem.

And Kansas City always holds a Renaissance Festival over Labor Day weekend, so we do plan to attend that this year.
Donna, with two MFW graduates and the "baby" in 11th grade! %| Using MFW since 2004.

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Unread post by kellybell » Thu Mar 15, 2007 11:49 pm

Oh Donna, that courtly dancing sounds like so much fun. Oh I wish we had that here.

Okay, we're on about week 21 or so. What's worked for us:

1. We ordered gyros on our first day of school from a local place (overpriced, but it was a one-time deal) and had fun eating those. We had them delivered and the delivery guy was a bit embarrassed to see us answer the door in our togas (yes, we had clothes underneath).

2. I did the Roman tutor suggestion for Day 1. Lots of fun.

3. We did a Roman feast in our basement "triclinium" with some homeschooling friends as we finished up Rome. We did the "peacock" and threw the bones on the floor (we put out a big old blanket). Before the feast I went to the thrift store on half-price day and bought a bunch of solid color twin flat sheets so that our company could have togas too. We invited them to help entertain after the speech (sing a song, "air juggle," do a speech, etc.). I don't think that Romans had place cards, but we made some for our feast and had a blast coming up with Roman names based on our given names. I (Kelly) was Kelligula. Not real flattering. When we do school-themed meals, I strive for EASY so we don't get stressed. We used the crockpot for the chicken and made nothing from scratch. We just enjoyed the experience. And, it's always more fun if you can invite another family. They don't have to be studying the same time period, just be willing to come have fun.

That got us started for the first part of the year.

We recently had a Viking week where we ate, drank, etc. like Vikings. We wrote our name in runes, and read the Norse Myth book (in the RTR TM appendix). We added a Viking meal (fish, barley stew, juice in "horns" which were paper cups colored to look like drinking horns). Right now we are doing a middle ages week. We are reading lots of book basket books, cooking, making shields, online jousting, etc.

Right now, we've got this cool cardboard castle (toilet paper tubes, shoe boxes) in the basement. My kids love these hands-on activities. MFW has lots of activities, but we occasionally really go all out. We cannot continue this pace all year, but to take a fun week now and then does recharge us. So, we do about two or three of these a year. And, yes, we are usually two or three weeks behind schedule at the end of the school year.

Regardless of what time period we're studying, I like to look on the internet for online educational games ( has some) and I check the History Channel for shows. Some of them require previewing so I'll tape it and watch it and decide if it is okay for the kids.

I don't know if I really answered your question. But this post is too long so I'll quit now!
Kelly, wife to Jim since 1988, mom to Jamie (a girl, 1994), Mary (1996), Brian (1998) and Stephanie (2001).

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Unread post by LSH in MS » Fri Mar 16, 2007 5:41 pm

We joined Netflix as our library didn't have many Ancient Rome videos.

Some we really liked:

The Robe
Pompeii the Last Day. Deals with death in a respectful way, doesn't show it onscreen (it was in 2 parts, 1st on Pompeii and 2nd was on a gladiator)
A.D we borrowed these from my sister the 9 hour version
The Magic School Bus Series on the Human Body
The Storykeepers Vol 1-3 and Easter Storykeepers Wonderful animated stories during Nero's time
Animated Passion
Roman City by David Macaulay (FF the part about Druids) Very interesting for children has and animated story included with documentary
Several other DVDs by David Macaulay

Our favorites (suggested by kellybell) were the Drive Thru History DVDs on Ancient Civilizations. All 4 are good. I purchased these from LibraryAndEd dot com. They are from a Christian perspective. The one about Paul was perfect for the Acts study.

wife to Clifford, mother to ds (17), ds (16), ds (15, ds (13), ds (8), and ds (3)
MFW user for 10 years

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Unread post by MJP » Fri Mar 16, 2007 11:27 pm

We liked the Drive Thru History DVDs also.

We have also enjoyed the Henty books I purchased--The Young Carthagenian, For the Temple, and Beric the Briton.

We also enjoyed the Bethlehem books---Son of Charlemagne and Rolf and the Viking Bow. We are only on week 20. We have Dragon and the Raven, Wulf the Saxon, and Winning His Spurs left to go.

The Bethlehem books are easier than the Henty books in my opinion. You might want to start there. I am using the Henty and Bethlehem books for a 5th and 7th grader, ages 11 and 13. Both boys are on the old end of their grades and both are strong readers.

They only did one or two Henty books last year. I assign both the Henty and Bethlehem books for reading and the boys type reports on them. RTR lists some of them in the back resource section. You could easily use them for reading, book basket, or extra read alouds.

You can purchase them through Rainbow Resource. Bethlehem books might have their own website as I have a catalogue from them. They are also at my home school conference.
Wife of 1 for 18 yrs. Mom of 7--ages 1-15--1st, 2nd, 5th, 8th and 9th grades & (one on the way)
Psalm 16:8
Currently using--1850 to Modern Times
Previously--MFW K , 1st, CtoG, RTR, Exp. to 1850

Julie in MN
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Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:44 pm
Location: Minnesota

Unread post by Julie in MN » Sat Mar 17, 2007 12:11 pm

Hi Sandi,
Thanks for thinking of me :o) Yes, we are enjoying RTR this year, but I can only comment on the Rome section so far, as we are just at the end of that -- about week 13 (dh is very ill this year).

Here are some random memories of things we enjoyed:
* A picture book of Roman numerals, as well as the Math-U-See lessons on Roman numerals if you can borrow those from a friend at all (I think they were at the end of Delta?)

* Dh and I enjoyed "preparing" for the year last summer by watching some of the recommended video series, such as Christianity's first 2,000 years, which wasn't too expensive (at Amazon or eBay I think).

* As others have mentioned, ds (age 11) LOVES the Drive-Thru history videos. (Thanks, Kelly & Crystal!) When we read about something like the Colisseum, ds will say, "Oh, that's in Drive-Thru, can I show you?" And as Lori mentioned, they are much cheaper at Library-and-Ed.

* We always enjoy getting one of the recommended art books each year, and looking at a Biblical painting every week or so, similar to Come Look With Me. Ds also enjoyed the suggested Art Fraud Detective.

* We have been doing the anatomy portion of science & ds loves his skeleton but he also enjoyed having some related hands-on kits for his free afternoons, such as growing germs from between his toes.

* Favorite books in book basket are body books with plastic overlays or actual plastic body parts (which I found at Sam's Club). This may be because we have had such a medical year at our house! But they are good gift ideas.

* My particular ds does not like all his reading to be about history. He has LOVED the read-alouds in RTR and he LOVES the actual Bible, but that is enough history for him. I think he is somewhat bothered by the failures of mankind, which are always easier to see in hindsight. So we do not use many of the historical fiction suggestions in book basket. Isn't it interesting how each family is different?

Edited to add more:
* We read The Apprentice during the weeks after Bronze Bow, when no read-aloud was scheduled. It didn't match the time period exactly, but, interestingly, it matched the art studies exactly! The RTR art project the day we started was on drawing a circle -- exactly what the boy had to do in the first chapter. The next RTR art project was on mixing paints -- exactly what the boy's job was in the next chapter! (God is in the details :o)

* I really loved reading a nice copy of Marguerite Makes a Book (as opposed to a wrecked-up library copy). It is a lovely book, with "gold" illumination and everything. I felt it brought to life all of the history and art lessons on illumination.

* During another year, my son read A Single Shard and really enjoyed it (early Korea), so I'd add that one for a boy who likes to read.

* I also would add Kingdom Tales to RTR, if you haven't read it already. The MFW version is far cheaper than the hardcovers, and MFW adds nice discussion questions at the end of each chapter.

* Also check out this thread:

Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs

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