Thursday, 14 March 2013

The start of a new adventure

For the most part of this term and beyond, our learning will mostly be based on The Travels of Marco Polo.

When I did the planning for this topic, I found that this can be turned into a cross-curricula, theme-based learning -- much like a unit study -- since it covers so many different areas: history, geography, science, maths, art, craft, music, food, and literature.  Hence, I shall be posting about our learning adventures and resources as we follow Marco Polo's journey to the East and back.

As this unit is going to be heavy on geography, I had Tiger work through the Marvelous Map Activities for Young Learners and Fun-to-Solve Map Mysteries to gauge his understanding of basic physical geography knowledge.

Until now geography was not our focus, even though we have been incorporating map work consistently as part of our history lessons, so I feel it is important for me to have an idea of how much Tiger already knows (or not) to plan our lessons effectively.  He flew through the first two books, but needed some help with Great Map Mysteries, which covers topics such as grid map, map scale, and time zones.

With the basics out of the way, we started getting an overview of Marco Polo and his travels by reading generically about him:

We also found the following documentary very useful to prepare us to join Marco Polo on his adventures:

There seems to be various maps around that show slightly different locations of Marco Polo's journey.  We have tried to cross-reference the various maps to arrive at our own conclusion as to the present-day equivalent of where he would have been.

So far, we've figured that his outbound journey was as follows:
Venice (Italy) --> Jerusalem --> Lebanon --> Constantinople (Turkey) --> Armenia --> Baghdad (Iraq) --> Persia (Iran) --> Herat (Afghanistan) --> Kashgar (Central Asia) --> Tibet --> Mongolia --> Khanbaliq (Beijing in China)

When Marco Polo was at the service of Kublai Khan, he made the following journey:
Khanbaliq (China) --> Myanmar (Burma) --> Java (Indonesia) --> Eli (India) --> Khanbaliq (China)

His homeward journey was:
Zaitan (Xiamen in China) --> Vietnam --> Malaysia --> Singapore -->  Sumatra (Indonesia) --> Ceylon (Sri Lanka) --> India --> Persia (Iran) --> Caucasus (Azerbaijan, Georgia) --> Constantinople (Turkey) --> Venice

Therefore, we will be studying the cultural and physical geography of the following countries/cities as we travel along with Marco Polo:
  1. Italy
  2. Jerusalem
  3. Lebanon
  4. Turkey
  5. Armenia
  6. Iraq
  7. Iran
  8. Afghanistan
  9. Kashgar
  10. Tibet
  11. Mongolia
  12. China
  13. Burma
  14. Vietnam
  15. Malaysia
  16. Singapore
  17. Indonesia
  18. Sri Lanka
  19. India

This post is linked up to:
1) Creative Kids Cultural Blog Hop #1
2) Great Book Lists and Literacy Projects for Kids
3) Hearts for Home Blog Hop #8
4) History and Geography Meme #66
5) Homeschool Mother's Journal: March 15, 2013
6) Hobbies and Handicrafts - March 15
7) Collage Friday - Making Hard Life Choices
8) TGIF Linky Party #67
9) Homeschool Review - March 15
10) Creative Learning Link Up #6
11) Weekly Wrap-Up: The One Where I Got to Go On a Retreat
12) Share it Saturday - St. Patrick's Day Features
13) The Sunday Showcase - 3/16/13
14) Hip Homeschool Hop - 3/19/13
15) Look What We Did!


  1. We had a lot of fun when we studied Marco Polo, too! I am looking forward to this.

  2. Thank you, Phyllis. I've realised that Marco Polo can potentially take us a very long time to complete, juding by how we're going at the moment, but it looks like a lot of fun potentially.

    I tried to have a look at how you did your Marco Polo study but I can't access the page. I don't have this problem with the other pages on your blog, so I'm not sure what's causing the problem. Do you know why this is happening? I was hoping to borrow some ideas from you... :-)

  3. We couldn't be doing the same subject more differently, could we?! I'm slightly envious that you are spending so much wonderful time in each country. We'll be linking in quite a bit of map work also but probably not with the same depth. I will be very interested to see how this all unfolds...enjoy!

  4. Indeed, Claire! One of the beauties (possibly also a frustration for some people) of homeschooling is that there are so many different ways to approach a subject or topic. :-)

  5. What a cool unit study - I love how much you are able to incorporate! Thank you for linking this up to the Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop!

  6. I am looking forward to studying Marc Polo again in a few years. What a fun study you all had.
    Blessings, Dawn

  7. Marco Polo is a fun one to cover, we accidentally skipped over him in our last time through history.

  8. My son loves maps and you have lots of great resources here. Thanks for sharing at The Children's Bookshelf.

  9. Great post, I love that first pic so cute!

  10. Thank you for stopping by and leaving your comments, ladies. :-) I'm looking forward to learning alongside my son in this topic since it seems to cover so many subjects and countries.

  11. Hi! I'm a new follower of your blog. Sounds like a really awesome unit study! I look forward to reading more about it.

    Suburban Farm Girl

  12. Welcome, Lynn. Thank you for stopping by and leaving your comments. I hope you will find the posts here to be useful and/or interesting. :-)

  13. Looking forward to reading more about your Marco Polo study unit. Thank you for sharing at Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop #1!

  14. Hwee that video looks wonderful. Thanks for sharing and linking up to HammockTracks.

  15. I enjoyed reading about Marco Polo with my daughter last year, but found the map work difficult. Thank you for the list of locations. It will help when I read Marco Polo again with my younger two kids.

  16. You've been featured on the Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop! Be sure to grab our "Featured" button!

  17. Great Topic idea! We are always doing topic centered unit studies too. I just think they are more fun and the kids like doing them better. Btw, If you are looking to use the words that are in your study, as part of Spelling, then you should check out (This is what we use because its free). You can use whatever words you want and customize it. Thanks for sharing :)


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