Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Knights Theme

Isaiah has been really into all things involving fighting and weapons lately, which is a huge challenge for me having grown up (and really still at heart am) a pacifist.  He liked some things about knights when we had read in his current favorite series Magic Treehouse books by Mary Pope Osborne.  We got the "Fact Tracker" she wrote about Knights and Castles, and I decided that might be a good theme to grab his attention and try to connect up what I think is, at the root, a good boy trait to want to fight for what is right and noble.  Anyway, it also turned out to be a lot of fun! :)
Our main story for the theme was In the Castle by Anna Milborne, which the international school library that we had just joined actually had!
In the Castle (Picture Books)

Both boys really liked the book, and we found a knight unit at Homeschool Creations that was based around this book.  We used the vocabulary cards in the unit to do a variety of activities.  Isaiah loves to find hidden things around the room, so I would hide one set and have him match them on our tabletop chart to the other set.  Zeke jumped in on the action and kept wanting to stick the cards somewhere on the chart, though he didn't really get the matching part.
We also used the cards to play "Memory" and "Go Fish."
The unit also had some prewriting sheets, which are good for Isaiah because writing is not his favorite, but these seem fun to him, especially if we put them in our wipe-off sheets I brought with us and use wet-erase markers.  As usual, Zeke wants to have the same thing brother has, and he went to town with the markers!

I really wanted to incorporate the "armor of God" from Ephesians 6 into the unit.  I found this great coloring set of the armor pieces.  There were little figures to cut out to put the pieces on, but I thought it would be fun to take pictures of the boys and put the pieces on their pictures.  We talked about 2 pieces each day, colored them, cut them out, and glued them on.  
I wasn't precise at all about measurements, so I wasn't sure if it would work out, but I have to say these turned out to be one of my favorite things they boys have made because I just think they look so fun and super cute!

Of course, we had to make some "real" armor for the boys to wear and play in, so I cut up some fabric bags we get here for their "belts of truth" and "breastplates of righteousness."  
They enjoyed playing with their swords and shields.  To be honest, Isaiah did very little of the work on his, and it turned out to be more of a project I made for him.  Ezekiel drew his artwork, though, and really wanted to help fasten on the foil.

We also read a book we bought for the kindle called Will, God's Mighty Warrior.
Will, God's Mighty Warrior
Isaiah seemed to enjoy it, and the whole "armor of God" theme sparked some really great conversations and a lot of challenging questions from him!

Of course, making some other medieval weapons was a favorite!  We found these great little bow and arrows at The Brooding Hen, and they actually work to shoot quite far!
It was a little fine motor skill work for Isaiah to clip the heads off the cotton swabs with nail clippers.
We did make a rule that there would be no shooting at other people!

We made some goblets to use for our feast.  I decided, at the last minute, to pull out my glue dots since Isaiah doesn't like to get his fingers sticky, and it turned out to be a really great fine motor activity for him to put the dots on the sequins and then put them on the cup.  I was surprised at how incredibly focused he stayed for quite awhile doing this!

Isaiah also really enjoyed the castle-themed playdough mats I printed and laminated.  That site has a ton of great mats for other themes as well, and I've saved several for future use!

As is often the case, life took some unexpected turns for us, including several days in the hospital for Zeke, so we didn't finish many of the activities we had planned, including building a castle and that I had promised Isaiah we would end the unit with a family night medieval feast--a chance to use our goblets!  So, even though we've moved on, I hope we'll get the chance to finish our castle, and I know we'll need to plan our "feast"!

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