Roman Feast

We have now come to the end of our topic on Romans in Monday’s English club. We’ve been doing this since September, and have done some amazing things and had great fun!

Today it ended with the preparing, cooking and eating of a three course Roman meal – which they also served to other members of my family – which was followed by the fun of their gladiator fight – something they’ve really been looking forward to.

First course : Lettuce, cottage cheese, boiled eggs, asparagus, melon, olives, foccacio bread and dressing.

Second course : Ham, a sweet sauce containing raisins, coleslaw, apple sauce.

Third course : Assorted fruits (dates, figs, pears, pomegranate, grapes) with a vanilla sauce and a ginger biscuit.


Making Catapults

Last night I had my Monday english group. Three boys, between 12 and 14, and they are just loving the topic of ancient Rome!

So far, we have made roman villas from lego, designed mosaics using beans and seeds, made our own shields, helmets and swords, designed and experimented with making aqueducts and arches, made gladiator areas from sugar cubes, watching a documentary on Pompei, and so on.

Last night, after playing the roman game of ‘trigon’, we talked about the Punic War between Rome and Carthage, and what was used in this 100 year war, which was esentially three battles. As catapults were used, it seemed only fun to engineer a catapult, using lolly pop sticks, and elastic bands.

We had a lot of fun – and they worked well!


Roman Pots!

After seeing some roman pots at the amphitheatre…

We bought some terracotta clay and, using an example we found in the house…

…decided to make our own.

We read that roman pots had been very simple (unlike the ancient greek pots which had a lot of decoration), and noticed that the ones in the museum mostly had tall ‘necks’ for pouring.

We knew this might be tricky, but tried our best…


Maya and I decided to do our pots first outside while the boys were swimming. We attempted to make ours with ‘necks’, but realised it was very difficult!

The above one is mine. Had I had more clay I would have attempted a longer neck, but didn’t want to make it too thin, so left it as that. I like it anyway. 😊

Maya was braver. Her first attempt was this…

…but wanted to make the neck longer, and as she too was afraid of making it too thin, she made an ‘extra’ neck, in to a kind of double layer….

Certainly the most ‘roman like’ ! 😊

Ted joined us ; enjoyed the experience of just mushing the clay, feeling it squash between his fingers and spreading it over the paper. He said, with glee, that he was “just making a mess!”



Alfie decided to make his pot inside. A “breakfast bowl” he said…..

He was actually remarkably skilled and produced this beautiful bowl very quickly.

Leon, who doesn’t like ‘sticky’ things was convinced in to having a go, and also produced a beautiful bowl. It was much easier than he had expected – and he enjoyed it too!

I think they all look lovely together drying in the sun, like true roman pots!


King’s Cake (Plus Recipe)

Last year we made our first ‘King’s cake’ , and the kids thought it was so fun they wanted to do it again this year.

What do you need?

250g self-raising flour
250g sugar
250g butter
4 eggs
100g crushed nuts
100g chopped glacier cherries
Rind from 1 lemon (grated)
Pinch of cinnamon
1 dried bean or pea
Honey (for top)


We actually didn’t have a lemon, or glacier cherries on their own – so instead added a small 100g box of chopped dried fruits (which included both glacial cherries and lemons), and it worked just fine.

1) Cream the butter and sugar together
2) Add the well beaten eggs and stir
3) Fold in the flour
4) Add the cinnamon
5) Add the glacier cherries, nuts and lemon rind and of course the bean/pea!

6) Pour in to well greased cake tin

7) Set in oven at 160C for about an hour (the recipe actually said 11/2 to 2 hours, but that would have been way too much for our oven!)
8) When ready, spread top with honey when cake is still warm, so that it melts in to cake.
9) Don’t forget to add the King’s crown!


When it’s time to eat the cake, gather everyone round and cut a big slice for each person. The person who gets the bean/pea in their slice gets to be ‘King’ for the rest of the day, and decides what everyone should do, bossing people around and generally behaving ‘Kingly’!

As we ate our cake in the evening, I told the kids that s/he who got to be King could be King until 2pm the next day. I did, of course tell them the historical tale behind King’s day, when the three wise kings finally reached the baby Jesus by following the star (which I reminded them was the reason we had the star as a decoration in our window)….

Last year, Leon was ‘King’. This year, however, Alfie is ‘King’ – so who knows what he will come up with – as he himself said, “I don’t care about the crown, I just like deciding over everybody!” Hmmm… 😉🍰

Lanterns At English Club

We were supposed to make these lanterns last week to celebrate martinmas, but due to unforseen circumstances, english club had to be cancelled – however we used the lesson to talk about November, and its darkness, and all the festivals of light which happen to occur doing this time.
We started off by reading this poem…

…before discussing it, and the lack of life in November. We then talked about the jack-o-lanterns used at Halloween, originally made to ward off evil spirits, and we talked about the historical reason behind Bonfire Night in England, the meaning of Diwali, and finally the story of Martinmas.
Then, using this diagram….

…which came from this lovely book….

..,we measured, cut and designed…






….our lanterns…..







Leon, whose school schedule has unfortunately changed, so he arrives a little late to english club, is still working on his – and he has put so much work in to his mathematical design so far – I must make sure he finishes it! 🙂

Building Stonehenge

We continued our third english lesson with a quick check up on stone age vocabulary, with the use of Playmobil…


…before going on to look at images of ‘stone henge’ . We talked about why we thought stone henge was built, whether it was a gathering place or a place of spiritual connection, or perhaps a place where people could see the movement of the moon or the sun, and we looked at different types of stone ‘circles’.
We then tried to create our own ‘stone henge’ using clay – and exploring english words to describe the feel of the clay at the same time…





Here are the completed works of art – I just love them!






…and we won’t forget the mammoth and the horse that were also made…


The book ‘Noune – Child Of Prehistory’, has proved an excellent book to read to my own children (though the english may be too difficult for the other kids…)..

…and we rounded off our family film night, with a showing of ‘The Croods’ – not exactly an ‘authentic’ stone age film (!), but fun just the same! 😉

A Little Bit Of Stone Age History

I’m sneakily trying to pop in a little of everything in to our english lessons – perhaps this is my secret home education ploy? 😉

We started with cups of tea, and talked about the importance of communication through language – pointing out, of course, that learning to speak and understand another language, particularly english, was also important in this case. In order to put this in to practise, we played a simple game of charades – each child was given 3 minutes to draw something that s/he was thinking – while the other children had to guess. Of course, the child drawing was not allowed to use language at all – and all the guessing had to be done in english…


This was a lot of fun – and there was a lot of laughter!
I likened this lack of language to when there were cave men – how did they communicate? And of course, they partly communicated by the pictures carved and painted in their caves..
I wanted them to ‘imagine’ how it would be to draw in a cave, so we taped paper under the table and drew our ‘rock paintings’ looking upwards…


Using our fingers we then mixed some special powdered paint, made to look as if it were various colours of elements from the ground…

…and using various postcards for inspiration…

…we (finger) painted our pictures….





Our last part of the lesson was for the kids to go out and make tools, which may have been used in stone age times….






The boys got on to this straight away, but interestingly, the girls fixed up a transport system with baskets to carry sticks for tools….although the tools never actually got made! 😉

Of course, I insisted that there was english being spoken the entire time…. 🙂