Homeschooling and Historical Wargaming

My wife and I have always been a big proponents of public schools, but we are also very focused on ensuring that our kids have the best education that we can give them. So when schools began to close in March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic and the uncertainty of virtual learning programs that school districts were scrambling to ramp up, we decided to take the plunge and formally homeschool.

We are now almost 9 months into that journey and the experience has been equal parts thrilling and terrifying. We have gone into this process together with each of us being responsible for teaching certain subjects. My subjects are history and science, two topics that I absolutely love. History in particular has been a thrilling journey and I will be working on formalizing a separate post with the lesson plan and resources that I’m using. One item in particular that I wanted to focus on today was how I am integrating historical wargaming into our history lesson plan.

As a quick background, I have always been fascinated by historical wargaming, but I struggled to find a group of likeminded enthusiasts to share that passion with. My first real taste of getting miniatures on the table was with Flames of War and I’ve been very fortunate that my oldest has joined me in gaming as well. I’ve always had a soft spot for large blocks of infantry and cavalry (stemming from my passion for Warhammer Fantasy Battles), so it made sense to move into Hail Caesar and SPQR as our rules systems of choice for ancients battles.

Part of our history lesson plan is to cover pivotal battles and the technologies employed by various peoples. This is where wargaming will add a hands on element to supplement the primary reading. My goal is to work with the kids to build out the forces needed to re-enact select battles from history using Hail Caesar as our guideline. The first such forces we are working on are Greek and Achaemenid units commonly used during the Greco-Persian wars. This will allow us to revisit the battles at Marathon and Thermopylae, pitting Greek hoplites against Persian Immortals and sparabara armed infantry.

Greek and Persian Miniatures

For the miniatures I am using a mixture of Warlord Games and Wargames Atlantic. Bases are 40mm x 40mm and movement trays trays are 200mm x 80 mm, both from Ironheart Artisans.

Persian Sparabara Infantry

Persian Immortals Infantry

Greek Hoplite Infantry

So far I’ve completed a large unit of Persian sparabara infantry and a standard unit of Persian Immortals. I will have an additional unit of Persian levy infantry as well as a mounted commander to round out our starting Persian force.

For the Greeks it’s all about the hoplites. I have one large unit partially completed and have the models for two more large units along with a commander on foot to complete the starting Greek force.

As we continue to work our way through our history lessons, these forces will grow and change. The Greek and Persian armies will shift to reflect changes in technology and tactics as we move towards Alexander the Great and his wars. Next will come Republican Rome and Carthage as we cover the Punic Wars followed by Caesarian Roman legions and the tribes of Gaul.

I look forward to completing the assembly on our Greek and Persian forces and will share a post of how our battles go.

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