Project: Middle Ages History & Fashion

Blog, She Wrote: Project- Middle Ages History & Fashion

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This year our 8th grader, Rebecca, has been working through history with an emphasis on fashion. She researches the history of fashion during that time period and then designs her own garments. During her study of the Middle Ages, Rebecca worked on two separate fashions- one from the early Middle Ages and another from later in the same period.

Blog, She Wrote: Project- Middle Ages History & Fashion

Research on Middle Ages History & Fashion

I’ve had fun looking for resources on the fashion of different time periods of history. Rebecca loves to explore and construct the most authentic garments.

Blog, She Wrote: Project- Middle Ages History & Fashion

The Pattern Drafting Process

How does she go about making a dress from an idea?

  • Using her research, Rebecca comes up with an overall vision for a garment.
  • She sketches the dress starting with the basic shape and adding details.
  • As she chooses her design, she considers construction techniques and does more research and/or watches tutorials
  • Then it’s time to measure the doll and begin drawing the patterns.

Need help on learning to draft patterns? I shared our resources in Rebecca’s Steampunk Project post.

Blog, She Wrote: Project- Middle Ages History & Fashion

Constructing the Garment

I admire her bravery! Her skills are confident and she’ll try something new with no hesitation.

  • Use authentic fabric if possible- though I have to say she did not enjoy working with the wool.
  • Use a serger- If you have a serger, you can use it to finish the seams before putting the pieces together. If not, then be sure to finish the seams carefully.
  • Frequently read tutorials- Rebecca spends a lot of time learning by reading sewing blogger tutorials. It’s free and it’s a great way to learn on your own! Her Kindle Fire is usually by her side when she is working on something so she can refer back to the tutorial easily.

Blog, She Wrote: Project- Middle Ages History & Fashion

Facts on Middle Ages Fashion

Rebecca uncovered some interesting details in her research of Middle Ages Fashion. Here are a few:

  • During the 13th century tunics were the base of all outfits.
  • Cloaks were a staple of the Middle Ages and worn over the tunic.
  • Children wore the same basic style in smaller sizes.
  • The longer your garments and cloaks, the more money you had. Peasants wore short length garments.
  • During the 14th century waist lines rose and women’s clothing became more fitted – some sleeves were so tight they had to be stitched together once on!
  • The 15th century showed the empire waist being popular.
  • Men’s garment length was shortening while lady’s lengths were increasing.

Rebecca chose to make a gown in keeping with 15th century fashion. The collar is made of “fur” and forms a V that goes to the waist and it has a thick belt which was popular at the time.

Blog, She Wrote: Project- Middle Ages History & Fashion

Reading List for the Middle Ages

Along with her research in fashion, she spent time immersed in both fiction and non-fiction titles about the same time period. A brief list of the titles she’s read include:

Some of these titles chronicle the end of the Roman Empire and the Dark Ages that followed.

Studying fashion and learning how these garments were made and put together is a great way to focus on one aspect of history. Rebecca has had a very focused year and it’s been great for building her sewing project portfolio. She’s learned a lot of techniques which are useful for full sized fashions.

I’m looking forward to sharing two of her latest projects with you soon. She has a fashion due this week for a local contest. Rebecca is hoping to do well enough to make it into the fashion show. Stay tuned!

Geography Quest: St. Patrick Edition

Blog, She Wrote: Geography Quest- St. Patrick Edition

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I couldn’t let this day go by without a look at the patron saint of Ireland. Enjoy this Geography Quest which takes us to Ireland and the British Isles.

Who Was St. Patrick?

If your family celebrates St. Patrick’s Day, then you probably know all about this patron Saint of Ireland. If not, take some time to explore the legends and culture around the holiday.

  • Where is St. Patrick from?
  • What was his life’s mission?
  • Was he successful in his mission?
  • What is a patron Saint and how did Patrick become one?

Follow the Life of St. Patrick on The Map

You’ll need a map of Great Britain and Europe to complete this portion of the assignment.

  • Map Patrick’s birthplace
  • Map his first appearance in Ireland- do you know how he ended up there?
  • Locate the place he went to be educated (for his mission).

Patrick returned to Ireland prepared to convert the Irish to Christianity. Can you find how many churches he established there?

Learn More about Ireland

Visit Time for Kids Around the World website and enjoy a tour of Ireland & Great Britain.

  • Fact Page- Lists some statistics for Ireland and has pictures
  • Sight Seeing Guide- Lets you click around the map to see pictures of the locations and hear more facts
  • History Timeline- You can click on the timeline to see when Patrick arrived in Ireland and other events in the country’s history.
  • Challenge- Quizzes your student on what they’ve explored
  • Day in the Life- Introduces a young person from the country and takes you through their day

St. Patrick’s Day Art

There’s still time to pull out your chalks and paint some shamrocks. Tricia at Hodgepodge has a new spring chalk pastel book out and I’m pleased to share our results with you.

Blog, She Wrote: Geography Quest- St. Patrick Edition

St. Patrick used the shamrock as an illustration of the Trinity as he ministered to the people of Ireland. It’s easy to explain that there are three distinct parts to one compound leaf.

Celebrate Spring with Art for All Ages!If you’ve never used Hodgepodge chalk painting tutorials before, you are in for a treat! I use them with all of our kids for art lessons and I let my artsy daughter try out the lessons that appeal to her the most on her own. Either way, they are a delight to behold when they are complete.

Unit Study: The Life of Ben Carson

Blog, She Wrote: Unit Study- The Life of Ben Carson

I have partnered with Great Homeschool Conventions to bring you announcements during this convention year. Ben Carson will be speaking at two GHC locations this season- Cincinnati & Greenville.

Read about Ben Carson

Reading biographies of extraordinary people can be encouraging and open a window to their character. There are several great choices for Ben Carson.

Explore Careers in Medicine

Ben loved to read and enjoyed science from a young age. Eventually, he decided to pursue a career in medicine. Have you ever talked about this vocation with your kids? Now is a great time. Dr. Carson is a retired pediatric neurosurgeon. Help your kids to understand medicine and what it takes to be a doctor.

Study The Brain & Nervous System

Dr. Carson specializes in pediatric neurosurgery which is brain surgery on kids! Take some time to learn about our fascinating brains and nervous system. Here are a few resources on the topic.

Ben Carson has had an amazing journey from a troubled beginning to becoming a world renowned surgeon. He places his success on his faith and his love of reading which was something his mom insisted upon. Just think of the potential we all have if we are faithful, disciplined people who love to read!

We invite you to enjoy the unit study and what better way to follow it up than to see Mr. Carson speak in person at one of two GHC locations this season. I’m excited to see where his retirement career will lead him next.

Visit other iHomeschool Network bloggers who are mentioning Dr. Carson today. I’ve enjoyed reading about this real life hero.

Blog, She Wrote: Great Homeschool Conventions

Homeschooling Middle & High School History

Blog, She Wrote: Homeschooling Middle & High School History

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It’s day 4 of iHomeschool Network’s Winter Hopscotch and today’s focus is on homeschooling middle & high school history. I’ll be sharing strategies and curriculum.

Strategies for Homeschooling Middle & High School History

As you might imagine after yesterday’s science post, we do a lot of unit study work for history. Here a few of the ways we’ve incorporated history into our homeschool at the middle and high school level.

  • Unit Studies- On a specific time period in history. Currently, my middle schoolers have started a unit on the Middle Ages. My 8th grader is just finishing a unit on Jules Verne and Steampunk.
  • Project Based Homeschooling- My students have engaged in many projects over the years which have been thought up and finished by them as the student with me as a mentor in the process. My 6th grader is an expert on all things flight and rocketry.
  • Biographies- Whenever we are studying an era in history, my kids will be reading biographies. This is a non-negotiable. It’s gold.
  • Audios- From Little House books to Jim Weisse audios, there is a lot out there in the way of stories and history to listen to as part of a history study.
  • Projects- These work best when my kids choose what they will work on and the drive the project. When my 10th grader was in 8th grade, he made a wonderful game about the Early Church which is one of his favorite time periods. It’s called Conversion and took a blue at the NY State Fair!
  • Custom Coursework- I will often put together my own curriculum for my kids not just a unit study but an entire course. For 9th grade, my oldest had a course I named Foundations of American Democracy for his US Government class. This year he is taking Ancient Studies (with our own scope and sequence based on resources we own) and his project is a blog which is the whole package- content relating to his studies along with appearance and site design. He’s just getting it going, but today he posted an interview he conducted with a graduate student in archeology.

Within their unit studies and projects, I love for my students to study people. Biographies are such a great way to learn about a time and place. It touches all disciplines.

 “Let him, on the contrary, linger pleasantly over the history of a single man, a short period, until he thinks the thoughts of that man, is at home in the ways of that period. Though he is reading and thinking of the lifetime of a single man, he is really getting intimately acquainted with the history of a whole nation for a whole age.” – Charlotte Mason

Blog, She Wrote: Homeschooling Middle & High School History

Our Favorite Middle & High School Homeschool History Curriculum

We have a wonderful collection of resources and curriculum we have used for history. I also put together our own studies because I rarely like all of any curriculum.

Blog, She Wrote: Homeschooling Middle & High School History

  • Beyond Five in a Row- Literature based unit studies with choices from various periods in history. Betsy Ross, Marie Curie, and Thomas Edison are among our favorite studies.
  • Above & Beyond Five in a Row- Just one unit in this series and it’s written to the student to study Hitty The First Hundred Years
  • WinterPromise- We have only done The Quest for the Middle Ages, but this a great transition between all unit studies and more traditional teaching patterns.
  • Mystery of History- I love the Biblical history intertwined with the secular history. Puts all our Bible stories into a context with the other pieces of history we’ve learned. MOH is a great resource for history studies even for older students.
  • Story of the World- I really love the activity books as a starting place for projects for older kids.
  • Time Travelers Series- from Homeschool in the Woods. If you like to do projects with your kids these are a fun tool to have on hand. Our sixth grader especially loves them.
  • Amanda Bennett Unit Studies- Something for everyone here, but we have enjoyed her four week studies in middle and high school.
  • Unit Studies Made Easy- I love this book to talk about what elements are necessary for a unit study and how to keep them simple. Ms. Bendt encourages you in how to go about making a study for all ages and abilities.

Blog, She Wrote: Homeschooling Middle & High School History

Join other bloggers from the iHN as they write about how they teach history in their homeschools.


Autumn Book & a Big Idea: The Pumpkin Book

Blog, She Wrote: Autumn & a Big Idea The Pumpkin Book

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Today I’m joining the iHomeschool Network in a new blog hop on autumn themed books with some big ideas. I’ve chosen one of my favorite autumn books, The Pumpkin Book by Gail Gibbons.

Autumn & Pumpkin Resources

  • Autumn Book List- from a past post a great book list for elementary aged kids on fall and pumpkins.
  • Mini Fall Unit: Leaves & Pumpkins- this is a post from my first year of blogging in 2007. What a fun find as I chose content for this post! You’ll find an autumn book list along with a list of activities we did that year. Pardon the old time formatting that goes with a blog post from 6 years ago.
  • Pumpkin Unit- with the book Pumpkin Jack. I loved this unit from Homeschool Share. I especially love the science of measuring and weighing the pumpkins.

Blog, She Wrote: Autumn & a Big Idea The Pumpkin Book

The Pumpkin Book as a Resource to Learn about Pumpkins

  • Shares the story of a pumpkin from seed to pumpkin
  • Shows different varieties of pumpkins – all shapes and sizes
  • Tells the story of where Jack-o-Lanterns came from
  • Reviews the history of pumpkins and how the Native Americans used them- particularly in agriculture.
  • Detailed illustrations to enjoy as you read the book

Autumn Art Ideas with Pumpkins

all chalk pastelsEnjoy your own set of tutorials, including videos on chalk pastels. In addition to the fall projects, Hodgepodge has released the new Christmas chalk pastels ebook. I can hardly wait to share these projects with you. You can purchase your own fall chalk pastels for $3.95 or the Christmas book for $4.99. The seasonal bundle is only $12.99.