Eclectic Homeschool OnlineVisit EHO Lite
An easy to navigate site for those just
starting out
or planning for the next school year.

EHO Advertiser.
Eclectic Homeschool Curriculum Fair
Find homeschool resources by all the top publishers.
Subscribe to the
EHO Newsletters

EcleticHS Discussion List
Eclectic Homeschool Newsletter
Support Group Leaders
Feel free to post any part or all of our EHO Newsletter to your email or snailmail lists.
Our information sheet is available for handing out to your members.
To submit your resources for review, please read our review guidelines.
Make a Donation to EHO
Summer Reading - books for all ages.
Featured Resource
Shop Amazon - Help Fund EHO
Homeschool News
Our Staff Blogs
Search the Web from EHO
Join the Campaign

Roman History (Christopherus Unit Studies: Main Lessons for Homeschoolers - Number 1)
Reviews Index

Roman History (Christopherus Unit Studies: Main Lessons for Homeschoolers - Number 1)

Printer Friendly Version

Publisher: Christopherus Homeschool Resources
Author: Donna Simmons

List Price: $14.50

Ages: 12-14 Years

Reviewed By: Robin McDonald

Want to know more about Romulus and Remus? Okay, Trekkers and Trekkies, they aren't just planets in Star Trek, but twins (well, one of them) who eventually founded Rome, at least in ancient Roman mythology. Donna Simmons of Christopherus Homeschool Resources offers us a unit study on Roman History. This is the first in a series of many books to come, interweaving history, math, science, language arts, and art.

Simmons uses a Waldorf-inspired approach in her lessons, so some terminology is interchangeable with more traditional terms. For example, unit studies are also called main lessons, the mainstay in Waldorf education. Main lesson books are basically books into which drawings, writings, and artwork for the unit study are created by the student. There isn't a great deal of discussion about Waldorf education, just enough to give you a feel for how a teacher would use this unit study in a classroom. It's really a one-size-fits-all type of unit study, and very well organized.

Simmons, as always, has a practical approach that is refreshing to read and use. In her introduction, Simmons notes that "Main Lessons are a wonderful way to approach learning, as they give the teacher - or parent-educator - a comfortable arena in which to creatively work with subject material." The lessons can cater to different learning styles and age groups, thereby taking a lot of stress off the parent who wants to teach multiple aged children. She also notes that "other topics, perhaps not obviously relevant to the Main Lesson, can be woven in. For instance, during the Third Grade farming block one can also work with measurement: how many pecks in a bushel? how many quarts of oats do the horses eat?"

This 38-page booklet, hole-punched in a small presentation folder, is full of useful material for anyone who is studying Roman history during the year. The table of contents includes subjects such as:

Why Study Roman History?
How to Use This Unit Study
Working with Teens
Key Elements in Roman History
Important Dates in Roman History
Summaries, which can be copied into a main lesson book or used as dictation Drawings and Maps
Instructions for Two Art Projects, along with pep talks by Simmons
Quotes - passages from historical figures to be copied into main lesson books or used to spark discussion
Poems, which can be copied into main lesson books or memorized
Study Guides for The Bronze Bow (students 12 and up) and Ancient Rome: How It Affects You Today (10th Grade and up), to provoke thought and discussion and give direction to essays
Examples of Student Work

The introduction explains a bit about Waldorf education and how to use the unit study. The key elements include the mythical beginnings of Rome, the Punic Wars, the Roman Republic, Roman Empire, Pax Romana, East and West empires, the rise of Christianity, the rise and fall of the Roman Empire, and Byzantium. Simmons has included some drawing instructions for main lesson books, maps, and some crafts instructions, too.

Simmons makes practical suggestions for the homeschool that has multiple children and, in her pragmatic and creative style, suggests ideas for enrichment, and gives a plethora of reading and web site suggestions. While I was reading this book, I felt like she was sitting beside me, talking to me in a casual, conversational style.

A personal and hands-on teacher, Simmons has a background in education. She has been involved with Waldorf education since she was four years old, when she was sent to a Waldorf kindergarten and continued this education through graduation. She later studied child development and taught at two Waldorf Schools in England. She eventually became a youth worker, drawing on her rich childhood experiences to find creative ways to work with some very challenging inner city youth. Donna's perspective on Waldorf education is largely colored by this work and the fact that she is a pragmatic homeschooling mom. She is eager to find "what works" in different situations. Children come out occasionally to the hobby farm in Wisconsin where she and her husband, Paul Newton, a homeopath, live and learn with their two sons, 12-year-old Daniel and 10-year-old Gabriel.

To get on-the-spot information from Simmons, one simply needs to join her Yahoo!Group, entitled Waldorf_at_Home.

Donna and Paul recently set up Christopherus Homeschool Resources with the aim to help homeschooling parents find a relationship with Waldorf education at home, one which will vary according to each family's situation. Christopherus provides a telephone consultation service with Donna, a correspondence course in writing, an informative and ever-expanding website, and a series of curriculum materials written by Donna. Parents are encouraged to sign up for Christopherus' free monthly e-mail newsletter, "The Homeschool Journey".

Please note that some people involved in Waldorf education study a philosophy known as Anthroposophy, based on the writings and lectures of Rudolf Steiner. There are concepts in Anthroposophy that are based on Christian beliefs, so there are references to Christianity in Waldorf education. For example, school festivals often follow the Liturgical Christian calendar, and children learn about saints in the second grade and Old Testament stories in the third grade.

On the other hand, not all of Steiner's esoteric ideas are accepted in, and some run counter to, traditional Christian theology. Consequently, there are problematic areas that cause some Christians to shy away from Waldorf education as a whole.

As a Christian and an eclectic homeschooler, I have not found the practical Waldorf teaching methods to be incongruent with my Christian walk. The introduction of art, music, and movement in a curriculum based on a child's development brings richness to its delivery. The use of physical activity with recitation helps my son's ability to process information. Hence, I am comfortable taking what I want, leaving the rest, and adding my own Christian beliefs to the spiritual aspects of Waldorf education.

Some people, especially those who are new to Christianity, may not be comfortable doing this. It is always wise to prayerfully use discernment when reading any Waldorf-based materials, in order to separate the wheat from the chaff.
More Information
Available From: Christopherus Homeschool Resources
Address: P.O. Box 231, Viroqua, WI 54665
Phone: 608.637.8031
Other Notes:

Add Your Own Review

Robin McDonald
Robin McDonald is a mom who actually does Windows, since she used to work at Microsoft! Robin resigned from her full-time writing job to homeschool her children. She freelances, and teaches art and writing classes.
Copyright © 2004 Eclectic Homeschool Association


New Homeschool Resources - Visit the Eclectic Homeschool Resource Center for more discounted resources.

About EHO | Masthead | Financial Info | Contact Us | Writing for EHO | Get Your Product Reviewed
Linking to this site | Advertise| Submit a Site | Reprinting Articles | Reviewing for EHO | Privacy | Search

This website is Copyright ©1997-2010 Eclectic Homeschool Association, All rights reserved.
This site was authored by Beverly S. Krueger. All contents belong to the Eclectic Homeschool Association or the original authors. Reproduction of this World Wide Web Site in whole or in part is prohibited without permission. All rights reserved. Trademarks may not be used without permission of the trademark owner. Details about our reprint policies are available.

Publishers: Tammy Cardwell, Jean Hall, and Beverly Krueger are the only persons authorized to make product requests on behalf of the Eclectic Homeschool Online. If you receive requests from any other individuals in our name, please do not comply.

The staff at EHO try very hard to answer all our mail. We have had many of our responses to email returned as undeliverable. We also delete unread a great deal of spam. If your email message header sounds like it is spam, it will be deleted. "You Should See This!" or "Have I got something great for you" are examples of subject lines that would be deleted unread. If you use 'EHO' in the subject line it will not be deleted unread. If you have not received an answer to your question, please resend your email. We usually have a delay of 1 to 2 weeks in answering email because of the number of requests we get. Those wishing to request links to our site should read our linking page before writing us. All our resources are posted online. We do not mail information to postal addresses.

This Site Uses the Following for Website Services:

OpenCube CSS Menu

XIGLA - Absolute Banner Manager

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Thank your for vising the Eclectic Homeschool Online, we hope you found the resources to make your homeschooling journey easier.

homeschool information