As part of our curriculum purchases this year we bought the book Castle, by David Macaulay. Published back in the seventies, it earned a Caldecott Honor for it's wonderful pen and ink drawings. The reader gets an inside view of the lifespan of a castle, from the initial plans, through its construction, daily life, and ultimate abandonment. It's a fascinating read that begs to be explored again and again.
Although my children are at different ages and grade levels, they each are able to learn from this book. History is brought to life in its pages, both in the storyline and in the minute, details of the illustrations. It's a purchase that I'm very glad that we made.
On a recent morning, D-boy was not settling down well to his schoolwork. Since he's a five year old boy, this wasn't too abnormal. Not wanting him to entirely disrupt my work with his older siblings, I decided to pull out something fun, but educational for him. I looked around on the toy shelves and found the castle blocks that he had received at Christmas.
One of D-boy's strengths is that he is very detail-oriented and will study directions to make sure he is doing a project correctly. I challenged him to build the castle, and left him to his work.
D-boy successfully constructed his fortress, and proudly showed me the results. We sat down to reread Castle together, making note of the similarities and differences with his block castle.
When clean up time came we decided to try for some authenticity. D-boy used a toy catapult to attack the castle. With its sturdy construction and clever design, the fortress did not fall easily to the enemy. However, like in days of old, it was eventually overcome.
D-boy's morning whim turned into a great, hands on history lesson.
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