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

Ancient HIstory: The Barbarians (1-450)

Previous history post: The Celts

James' (age 13) and Quentin's (age 10) notebook pages
As we go into the Dark Ages or the Early Middle Ages, we needed to review the fact that the Barbarians (as the Romans called them) had been interacting with the Romans and with each other, sometimes trading and sometimes invading. As Rome collapsed, barbarians began to settle in the various areas of Europe. The Huns had been pushed out of Mongolia by the Chinese and settled in Hungary, and begin to take over Gaul and Northern Italy.
We read from The Kingfisher History Encyclopedia. This is our spine, sort of like a glorified timeline.

Quentin's map from History Odyssey

They mapped the migrations of the barbarians: the Goths (Ostrogoths, Visigoths), Vandals, Huns, Angles and Saxons, Franks and the Arabs.
They listened Story of the Middle Ages by Samuel B Harding and Heroes of the Middle Ages by Eva March Tappan We read selections from Write from Medieval History Level 2 by Kimberly Garcia on Alaric the Visigoth and Attila the Hun.
They completed narration sentences from what they had learned and copywork sentences in their history journals. They wrote in their history notebooks about the Visigoths, the Huns, the Vandals and thr Ostrogoths, answering questions such as this:
Tell about the relationships between Valens, Alaric and Honorius.
Describe Attila. Would you call him a wise man?  Why or why not?
How did Genseric end up in Africa? What did he hope to accomplish there?
Genseric was a successful leader. What kind of man do you think he was?
Tell about Theodoric's conquest of Italy.
In the evening, as our read-alouds, we are reading Favorite Norse Myths by Mary Pope Osborne and Beowulf by Michael Morpurgo.

Beowulf is the first great heroic Old English poem. It is a literary epic which recounts the deeds and adventures of a sixth-century hero, and from it you can see the values of the Anglo-Saxon society. It is believed the poem originated with the Scandinavian Geats and was transported during the migrations. We looked at the elements of an epic.

Sources and Resources
  • Story of the Middle Ages by Samuel B Harding and Heroes of the Middle Ages by Eva March Tappan (both free on Librivox.) 
  • Write from Medieval History Level 2 by Kimberly Garcia. 
  • Favorite Norse Myths by Mary Pope Osborne 
  • Beowulf by Michael Morpurgo. 
  • The Usborne Internet-Linked Encyclopedia of World History 
  • A Child’s History of the World by V.M. Hillyer 
  • Story of the World, Volume 2: The Middle Ages by Susan Wise Bauer 
  • The Kingfisher History Encyclopedia, pgs. 82 - 83 
  • History Odyssey, Pandia Press, Level 1 (1-4th grade), Level 2 (5th-8th grade or Level 3 (9th-12th grade), Map #1 “Barbarian Invasion 
  • Medieval History Portfolio, Homeschool Journey
  • The Greenleaf Guide to Famous Men of the Middle Ages, Cyndy Shearer

Next Medieval History post: The Byzantine Empire 476-1453


  1. My daughter love the story Beowulf. She still remembers it and we learned it several years ago;). We lived in England when we studied this period and it was wonderful:). Ypu asked what j Bizz was on my blog a week ago it is a middle school kids economic class. Here is the link as there might be one near you http://www.jasandiego.org/programs/ja-biztown.html

  2. I didn't read Beowulf until I was in college...tricky reading...but an interesting story!

  3. I can't remember if I commented yet or just read it and then got distracted. I have mixed feelings on Beouwulf because my English teacher had us read it AND Grendel at the same time, and Grendel is...... icky, that's a good way to phrase it.


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