The two younger children and I have been experiencing some hands-on history.
The first stop was at Fishbourne Roman Palace in West Sussex. Now, I must say that we've had mixed experiences taking children to Roman sites. I remember several years ago having some very disappointed children after a visit to a large villa. The children had expected something like a castle that they could go inside not just some half ruined mosaic floor. Since then, I've been very careful to manage expectations before going to see bits of floor. Thankfully, Fishbourne didn't disappoint-it is an enormous complex with a fair few mosaics but in addition, this week, is their Roman soldier week.
The Roman soldier week was fantastic for the children. First, they had to visit the recruiting officer and be enrolled in the Roman army using the Roman version of their name. They were then given a sheet with six tasks that had to be completed in order to obtain their pay for the day-a denarius.
They had to go to receive the Roman army tatoo which thankfully came off in the bath later.
Then there was drill practice-in Latin. Both children now know that "sin/dex" is Latin (OK shortened) for "left/right".
Soldiers had to be able to throw stones at wild boar.
Then there was spear practice, medicine making and food tasting. I don't think that my children got beyond the spelt bread but there were other Roman goodies-not dormice.
Of course, there was plenty else to see. The Roman gardens
including the amazing box hedges laid out on what are thought to be the original pattern, in the original spot
and even the gardener to tell us how much more difficult it is to garden here than home in Italy.
This was a great day. We don't plan to study the Romans properly until later in the year but this was a taster that has left the children really enthusiastic.