Wednesday, 20 January 2016

American War of Independence and Afternoon Tea in High Society

We summarised our work on George I and George II and moved on to life under the reign of George III...

...commencing with a brief look at the American War of Independence

"By the 1770s, many people in Britain's American colonies had become resentful of British rule. King George II's government enforced strict controls on trade to and from the colonies, and imposed increasingly heavy taxes on them, too. The colonist s felt this was unfair. As they didn't have any representatives in Parliament in London, they though they should only pay taxes approved by their own governing assemblies. 

"One of the most infamous anti-tax protests took place in 1773, after the British refused to remove import tax on tea. Disguised as Native Americans, a party of men stormed a ship bringing tea into Boston port and threw its cargo overboard. This protest became known as the Boston Tea Party." (Usborne History of Britain, The Georgians, p.42)

On July 4th 1776, thirteen colonies, signed the Declaration of Independence, stating that the colonies were now an independent country -USA, and free from British rule.

The War against Britain lasted for seven years.

The Great Seal

Liberty Bell

Meanwhile, in high society Georgian Britain, everybody was drinking tea. The Duchess of Bedford invited guests for afternoon tea to stop 'that sinking feeling' between lunch and dinner and a new craze swept the nation. The lower classes copied and tea became the main meal instead of dinner.

I read extracts from Pride and Prejudice while the children poured tea.

Incredibly 4/5 of the nations' tea was most likely smuggled into the country to avoid revenue taxes. For a bit of memorable fun, the children attempted to smuggle bits and pieces in from the garage without big sister, Ballet Girl (studying for her Diploma in another room), realising what they were up to. The was much hilarity when she emerged from the living room and bumped into Monkey Girl carrying a wheelbarrow.

Sunday, 17 January 2016

The Georgians (The Hanoverian Dynasty)

We are kick-starting 2016 with a unit on The Georgians.

After Queen Anne died and none of her 18 children survived, Parliament requested George of Hanover to become King of England. He was Anne's nearest Protestant relative. James II, Anne's father, was deposed by his other daughter Mary and her husband, William of Orange, because of his Catholic leanings. His son, James, was thought of by many as the true heir to the throne, and the Jacobite Rebellion began. 

Bonnie Prince Charlie, James' son and the last of the Stuart dynasty attempted to reclaim the throne. The Boy drew this smashing picture of Bonnie Prince Charlie, Flora MacDonald and an angry King George I.

The Rebellion ended in the disastrous Battle of Culloden. George I banned the remaining supporting clans from wearing their tartan and playing bagpipes.

Charles Edward Stuart escaped to Skye and then to Europe where he died of alcohol related problems. A sad end to a sorry tale.

However, we can still dress up. Star Wars kid here is Bonnie Prince Charlie escaping to Skye dressed as Flora MacDonald's Irish maid.

Panda Girl's story

Monkey Girl's story

Recreating the Highlands of Scotlands

Ben Nevis

Research questions on the geography of Scotland and on the Jacobite Rebellion

Making Nessie

We learnt that Loch Ness is 23 miles in length and runs into the Moray Firth

Designing tartan, acrostic poems and Scottish landmark worksheets while watching a documentary on Scotland.

These two spent the morning making a brilliant Jacobite Rebellion Powerpoint presentation.

Back in London, the government were having national debt issues.

They attempted to resolve this with the creation of The South Sea Trading Company, the profits of which would pay off the national debt.

Many people put their money into shares in the company.

The shares became worth more and more.

Trading increased, share prices increased, but there was no business behind the company. Eventually the bubble burst.

Many people lost their money, including the King, ministers and wealthy landowners.

Sir Robert Walpole seized a sneaky opportunity to 'fix' the crisis. He became the top minister in Britain and is now known as Britain's first prime minister.

The Boy especially enjoyed learning about stocks and shares. A good basis for further learning.

George II, now in power, gave 10 Downing Street to Sir Robert Walpole to live and work in, and it has been residence to Britain's prime ministers ever since.

Sir Robert Walpole used his fortune to build Houghton Hall in Norfolk. The famous landscape architect, Capability Brown, designed the grounds there.

We looked at some of Brown's work and the children designed their own stately home grounds, including fashionable:

haha walls
fake ruins
sweeping lawns
classical statues

We've also started back with all our weekly activities, helped Nanny move house, baked bread, panda biscuits and cookies, worked on maths, English, Spanish, mapwork, nature study, science and faith work. 

Ballet Girl continues to study for her American High School Diploma and is currently writing her second book.

Here's to a great and productive year!