Story of the World, Vol. 2, Chapter 17 – Knights & Samurai

If you click on the pictures, they’ll enlarge and you’ll see more details in the shields and helmet.

We had so much fun with with Chapter 17 – Knights & Samurai – from our History textbook, Story of the World, Vol. 2!  It has actually been the most enjoyable chapter we’ve done so far.  We did crafts, watched movies, completed a word search, read and really absorbed the learning while having fun.  The SOTW activity book has not provided us with many activities to date.  B does color the map page for every chapter (although he is not interested in any of the other coloring pages), but the activities we’ve done have been few and far between.  There are lots of suggested activities, however most use supplies we don’t have on hand and would involve going to the craft store each week for several supplies.  That cost adds up.  Especially on weeks when an activity requires yards of fabric to be purchased.  I can get creative somewhat and we substitute with what we have on hand, where we can, but on the whole we don’t do them.  This chapter, however, provided activities we could do:

  • B did a word search that included Arthur and the names of the 12 Knights of the Round Table.
  • He used the knight’s shield template to make a shield for himself (the one on the left in the picture) and one for our cats, Yin & Yang (the one on the right – our two cats actually drawn in the Yin Yang position!).  Since he was making shields, he decided to make a Captain America one, as well, and a sword.  All three shields are glued onto cardboard and B’s and the Captain America ones have handles on the back.  The handled shields and the sword have been well loved and used during play with his neighborhood friends.  :o)
  • B made an origami samurai helmet out of wrapping paper – the only paper I had that was big enough to give us a 22″x 22″ square.  The directions for the helmet in the SOTW Activity Book were confusing to us but, thankfully, we found this great tutorial on YouTube.  B was not happy that I asked him to give me a “fierce” look for the pictures here of him in his helmet.  He said, “Mom, I am incapable of making an angry face in pictures. You just can’t take me seriously.”
We watched First Knight with Sean Connery and Richard Gere, Disney’s The Sword in the Stone and The Last Samurai with Tom Cruise and Ken Watanabe.  I was worried about the violence in The Last Samurai, and was planning to skip any battle scenes if they were too much, but I didn’t.  The Die Hard movies had more graphic violence in them than The Last Samurai, IMO.  That movie was very well done and did a great job explaining the POV of the samurai – their traditions, service, loyalty and honor – and showed the Japanese reserved way of not always saying what they mean.  Even the emperor didn’t speak his mind!  We also read a good, short, library book, Samurai by Caroline Leavitt.  The photos and illustrations are beautiful and it suplimented the SOTW chapter with more details.  And, of course, B did his lapbook exercise (he calls it his chapter craft) for this chapter.
Here’s to more fun and activity-filled learning in our next chapters!

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