Home Education: Bindlestick Theatre Company

Here in Kent

We are incredibly lucky

To have a large and active home education community

Lots of parents invested in their children’s learning

Organising meetings, workshops, field trips and visits

We are also lucky to have companies

Who support us

And are willing to work with us

To provide exciting learning opportunities for our children

Last year we were introduced to Bindlestick Theatre Company

Through a local home ed group


Esther and William LOVED the drama sessions

Through the immersive theatre style

We learned history, geography and lots of storytelling

This year I have asked Bindlesticks to do some workshops for us

Specific to the history topics that I want Esther, William and Bea to learn

My hope is that the drama lesson will kickstart our learning of each topic

With a bang


The theatre sessions are high energy

They are language rich

They encourage children to work with alone, with partners

As well as in small and large groups


Our first session was an introduction to history

And what used to be AT1 in the history curriculum

History skills

bindlestick 3

Thinking about chronology

Key time vocabulary

What history is

And how we find out about people, events and things from the past

bindlestick 4

In hindsight

It was a pretty tall order to ask Katie

The Bindlesticks leader

To explore all of this through 100 minutes of drama

But she gave it a really good fabulously creative go

bindlestick 5

And not only that

She also spent time

Building a bond with the children

bindlestick 6

Setting some ground rules for how the workshops will work

bindlestick 7

Using games to share her expectations

And get to know the children

bindlestick 7

Esther and William loved the first session

And Bea, only just 4, joined in for a good chunk of the activities

bindlestick 8

The workshop took the children travelling through time

They were dinosaurs


They built famous landmarks

They visited the Stone Age and Ancient Egypt


Before exploring their own memories

And those of their grown ups

2018-09-06 12.01.49-1

It was a fleeting flight through history

Setting us up for an exciting year of exploration

That will take us back to The Great Plague

The Great Fire of London

The World Wars

That will see us meet

Explorers, scientists, musicians and more

I am very excited for all the learning that lies ahead

group work

After our dramatic hook into history

The children all had lunch and a play

In the afternoon

I led some more history activities

With our older children

2018-09-06 13.00.43

We began by thinking about what history is

And how we find out about it

2018-09-06 14.58.15

When studying history we are thinking about time

Things that have happened at some point in time

There are lots of time words that we need to know

Our first activity was ordering time words

I gave the children some of these time words

To read and to place in order

From the shortest amount of time to the longest

2018-09-06 13.40.10-1

The children worked in small groups

I asked them to

Read the words together, so everyone can read them

Order them and then read them again together

We then came back together

And ordered the words together

From second to minute

Century to millennium

I then asked children to match

Time words to the correct description

For example one week is 7 days

2018-09-06 13.52.04

We were looking at how time is divided up

This activity got the children really thinking

And talking to each other

Sharing their understanding of different periods of time

2018-09-06 15.18.49

After this I had planned to talk about BC and AD

But most of the children were very tired from the drama workshop

And ALL the play

I did talk to my own children about AD and BC

And I got William to complete the ordering challenge

Which he really enjoyed

2018-09-06 15.20.12

Historians often talk about years as being BC or AD

This is another way of dividing time

This is a way of making large amounts of time easier to think about when learning History

On the floor we placed Year 0 in the centre of the room

Then to the left we placed BC and AD to the right

Whilst explaining

The year Jesus is born is called 0.

AD means Anno Domini (Latin and means – the year of our Lord)

AD years move forward in time from 0 until you reach today.

BC means Before Christ, and it refers to any year before the birth of Jesus.

BC years move backward in time from 0

William then placed a range of times in the right places along the line

2018-09-06 14.59.43

One activity that I planned that we did not do

I am going to do with my own children this week

And that is looking at how centuries are named

We are living in the 21st century

Though the year is 2018

This is because it is the 21st century after Jesus was born in year 0

This is because . . .

The year 0 to 99AD were the First Century

The years 100AD to 199AD were the Second Century

This means that . . .

The year 175AD is in the Second Century

The year 369AD is in the Fourth Century

I have made a set of cards

So that the children can join up the year to the correct century

2018-09-06 15.00.19

As historians we have to sequence events

Put things in order

We have to use special sequencing words

Time connectives

These are used to help us put things into order and to show that time has passed

2018-09-06 15.05.21

I created some fun sheets for the children to practise their vocabulary

We did not do them in this first session

As the children were tired

And actually some of the children were not completely confident

Ordering days and months and other periods of time

So I think more work needs to be done there first

2018-09-06 15.05.17

We moved from vocabulary work

To creating our own personal timelines

In history we use lots of timelines

To put things into chronological order

We sequence events according to the time they happened

We practised our sequencing skills

By creating a timeline of our own

To show the events of our lives

2018-09-06 17.27.41

We cannot show everything

But we can show key things

This would be my timeline

1976 I was born

1979 My sister was born

1981 I started school

1982 I moved to Cyprus

1986 I moved to Germany

1987 I started secondary school

1995 I left school and worked for the British Army

2002 I went to university

2005 I got my first teaching job

2007 I met David

2010 Esther and William were born

2011 I got married

2014 Bea was born

2017 Edie was born

My timeline is long as I am old

I shared an imaginary child’s timeline

To give the children ideas for what they might include in theirs

I encouraged the children to use lots of creativity

And colour on their timelines

2018-09-06 17.27.31

This was a lovely way to end our

History Skills Day

2 thoughts on “Home Education: Bindlestick Theatre Company

  1. Wow, what an amazing way to get them genuinely interested in learning about history. The Bindlestick Theatre Company sounds incredible and it also sounds like you’ve really made the most of your time with them to lead on to other learning opportunities.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>