History is one of those subjects that many feel is difficult not only to learn, but to teach. Textbooks can be dry, bland and boring. This is why when I come across a really amazing live and in person way to teach history, I am instantly excited! This is how I came to meet the Sword Casting Guy. If you haven’t heard of him, his name is Greg Wenderski. He’s a former school teacher turned sword casting instructor. I heard about him on one of my mom boards. The minute I heard he was coming to town to teach a sword casting class for a few days, I literally booked it as fast as I could. Boy, am I glad I did! Every class was sold out in a few hours.
The class was taught outside which was great for many reasons. He first starts by teaching you the history of the swords you are going to cast. So you get a mini history lesson at the beginning. We were personally studying Babylon in our homeschool lessons and he had an Egyptian Khopesh sword which was eventually used by the Babylonians for us to choose from. So clearly, that was the sword we had to make. But he had other options. Some of these were Greek, Egyptian, Japanese and more! Depending on the lesson you are teaching, he has a sword to go with it. If he doesn’t have a sword from the history lesson you are teaching, you can request to make your own. He will send you the dimensions and you can design it yourself.
Making The Sword
Once your mini history lesson is over, your child gets to make a sand casting of their chosen design. Gary handles all the hot metal used to cast the swords. So, don’t worry that your child will do that. He also made sure that everyone was a safe distance away and gave very good safety instructions before he began. Once that’s done, he removes the swords while your child watches. If you think your going to be bored watching someone pour hot molten metal, think again! I had as much fun watching as the children.
After the metal cools, parents get to help by sanding the swords and grinding them down to a shiny finish. I’m not gonna lie, this was a serious arm workout for me. But again, don’t worry that these swords are going to be sharp. The swords won’t have a blade put on them. Make sure you teach good safety with these because while they are not bladed, they aren’t childproof. I’m not going to say your kids couldn’t smack someone with these pretty good, because they could. But they are about as safe as you can make a handcrafted sword.
Once these are ground and polished, your child will get to put a leather bound strap on them for additional hand safety and authenticity. One of the things I appreciated most is that all of his materials are made from recycled materials. He uses old couches for the leather and recycled scrap metal for the swords. It’s a brilliant use of upcycling.
When You’re Finished
When you’re all done, your child gets this beautifully designed work of art to put up and show all their friends. There’s not a lot of kids who wouldn’t think that’s cool. We ordered a sword mount to put it up on the wall. If you need one, you can purchase it HERE. But even better than the sword, they have a memory that will last a lifetime.
Who Can Take The Class
The nice thing about this class is that children of all ages can take it. I saw very young kids (around the age of 5) all the way to high schoolers in the same class. It brought together kids of all ages in a way that you don’t often see. I also noticed that it had the effect of teaching independence in the younger kids. I saw a younger child struggling with his sand casting and so I offered to help. He said, “No thank you, I’ve got it.” This is something I think children pick up simply from being in groups of multi-aged children. They want to be successful like the big kids are.
One of the most amazing things about this class is the cost. The Sword Casting Guy only charged $100 for this all day experience. We spent at least 8 hours in this class. I honestly think for an experience that the entire family could go to and enjoy, it was way beyond my expectations. Most small workshops charge more than this for an hour or two. After spending the day with him, it’s very clear why he does this. He is extremely passionate about what he does. He clearly loves history, swords and working with children. Even after the class was over and everyone else had left, he took the time to teach us and answer more of our questions.
Where to Book
If your looking for a way to make history fun, exciting and engaging… this is it! There is no better way to make history come to life, than a hands on experience. To find out how to take his classes near you go to www.swordcastingguy.com. If he isn’t having a class near you, you can request a class HERE. Make sure to book quickly.
When making history come to life for your children, remember that there is no better way than a hands on experience. Even if they don’t remember all the names, dates and places you discuss…they will always remember the moments. Don’t forget to share the ways you make your homeschool experience come to life in the comments below. Happy Homeschooling!
Don’t forget to check out the rest of this three part series:
Making History Come to Life Part 1: How to do it!
Making History Come to Life Part 3: Historical Re-Enactments