Home School Life Journal From Preschool to High School

Home School Life Journal ........... Ceramics by Katie Bergenholtz
"Let us strive to make each moment beautiful."
Saint Francis DeSales

Early Middle Ages: The Byzantine Empire (476-1453)


Justinian has been named the last Roman and the first Byzantine emperor. His reign was significant as a turning point between the old and new regimes.

Lesson Plan: 

  • Read a history spine, such as Kingfisher History Encyclopedia p. 100-101Make notes of key words as you read. Write a few sentences about what you have learned in your history notebook. Another option is to use the Medieval History Portfolio, Homeschool Journey.
  • Color and label an appropriate map such as the one from History Odyssey, Pandia Press, Level 2 (5th-8th grade).
  • Mark significant dates on your timeline.
  • Optional: Make a mosaic. Some ideas for projects can be found at Glittering ShardsMosaic Hanging Decorations...Artful DiscoveriesDick Blick, Byzantine Medallions

Quentin's map, age 10
On Map 1 from the free sample at History Odyssey, Level one, “The Byzantine Empire,”  they colored the area of the Byzantine Empire at the start of Justinian’s reign and the lands won by Justinian and completed the map key. We looked at this in comparison to the area the Goths had their kingdom.
Older students can label the major bodies of water (Mediterranean Sea, Black Sea, and the Atlantic Ocean) and countries (Spain, Greece, and Italy) or even the major land-forms such as mountains, deserts and plateaus.
Byzantine Mosaics2010
We looked at why Justinian wanted to drive the Ostrogoths out of Italy. 
We compared and contrasted the Code of Justinian from the Roman laws.
Justinian is known in history as Justinian the Great. We talked about why this was so and whether he deserves the title. 
We looked at Byzantine art.

The wealthy Byzantine Empire had a huge

influence on personal ornamentation. There

were many gold mines within its borders, and

the location of its capital, Constantinople,

was perfect for trade between East and

West. Characterized by extensive
iconography, Byzantine jewelry was
often an outward symbol of faith.
Badges, pendants and medallions were
widely produced to denote a person’s
office or rank.-Dick Blick 
We made mosaics using mosaic tiles, tile adhesive and a old CD case.

sources and resources:
  • The Usborne Internet-Linked Encyclopedia of World History, pages 202-203.
  • A Child’s History of the World by V.M. Hillyer, Chapter 42: New Places – New Heroes.
  • Story of the World, Volume 2: The Middle Ages by Susan Wise Bauer, Chapter 4: The Byzantine Empire.
  • The Kingfisher History Encyclopedia
  • History Odyssey, Pandia Press, Level 1 (1-4th grade), Level 2 (5th-8th grade or Level 3 (9th-12th grade): Map 1, “The Byzantine Empire,”
  • Medieval History Portfolio, Homeschool Journey
  • Glittering Shards: Mosaic Hanging Decorations...
  • Artful Discoveries
  • Dick Blick, Byzantine Medallions

similar posts:


  1. I really like the CD case mosaics - you could make those into Christmas gifts!

  2. I agree with Leah, great Christmas presents - coaster or hot plate maybe?


Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. It means so much.