A Unit Study Inspired by “Roman Diary: The Journal of Iliona”

We love well written historical fiction.  Last quarter, Raya read,”Roman Diary: The Journal of Iliona, Young Slave of Mytilini, Captured and Sold as a Slave in Rome – AD 107” by Richard Platt. It was amazingly illustrated by David Parkins.

Iliona, the tween girl, was captured by pirates, orphaned, sold as a slave and separated from her brother.  Her day to day life and adventures are told in a fashion that takes back the reader 1900 years ago.


To put things into perspective, we had to look at maps, research online and check our reference books.


The Roman army was also full of Mathematical terms. Legion, centuries, cohorts all make up their army for defense.  Raya also learned the different percentages of the social classes of the people: slaves, freedmen, citizens and senators. So, I created some Math problems involving these.

Try to find parts of the story where you can introduce or extend Math lessons.
Try to find parts of the story where you can introduce or extend Math lessons.


To summarize how life was like for a slave girl, confined to her “master’s home”, Raya decided to create a “Roman Villa’.  As she worked on it using cardboard, cutter, brushes and acrylic paint, I continue talking about the Roman way of life (It was a lecture in disguise, actually.)


RomanVilla06 RomanVilla07

She insisted on putting the tiles on piece at a time.
She insisted on putting the tiles one piece at a time.


Oh no, the pool has a fish! Raya used her crafting skills to create this water-like finish:) 


Top view


Raya loves to paint and create details,  I give her scrap material which she can use like this burlap packaging used for a gift we received.   She even put red beads inside one sack saying these were apples.  Most homes had their down domestic animals and vegetable garden.

Front, Roman Villa


Back of villa with the domestic animals and vegetable garden
Back of villa with the domestic animals and vegetable garden


Without planning to be, this turned out to be a Unit Study.  Check this out why Unit Studies are good Benefits of Unit Studies from www.homeschool-your-boys.com!

I was so blessed with Raya’s determination and patience in putting this together. ( She loved making it so much that she ended up doing it during her free time.) Like mentioned in a previous article about Fun in HomesCooling,  a child learns more  when she is having fun. If she likes what she is doing, the more likely she will do an excellent job. This project was a testament to that!

Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.

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