August 7, 2013

Ancient Egypt Wrap - Up

We're on to Sumeria and Babylon now and I wanted to give a quick glance at what we covered for Ancient Egypt for those of you who find yourselves there in your homeschooling studies.  This is just an overview of the resources we used over a 3 week period of time for my kiddos who currently span the stages between lower grammar and dialect in their social studies levels.

There are lots of free resources online for Egypt, so I didn't have to make up too much of my own.  So far, ancient Mesopotamia isn't proving to be as rich in free resources and I'm making a lot more.  You can get a free download of my 3 home made Egypt activities over in my TPT store.  There's the scarab beetle sheet with both the traceable cursive notes and the one with blank lines for students' own notes.  There's also a pretty generic sheet that we used each day as a sort of narration with illustration.  Each morning I read aloud from a book of Egyptian Mythology and the kids used this sheet to draw a god or goddess from the story and write a little summary of their character.  And the final activity sheet is a Venn diagram comparing and contrasting the Egyptian creation story with the Biblical creation story.  I used an unlined version for older kiddos and made a lined version for the littles.  So, you can get your free copy of those printable here.

We managed one deliberate field trip and one happy accident to view some typical Egyptian structures.  We left a little early for a Shriner's trip so that we could stop at the Masonic Temple in Salt Lake City.  They have two Sphinx Statues out front that were worth stopping and having a photo shoot with.  Apparently you can schedule a tour an inside the lodge and they have rooms that are decorated in the typical styles of several different time periods.  That makes the Masonic Temple a stop for homeschoolers no matter what time period they're studying.  You can take a virtual tour of the building here to see if it's worth your time to make it an official field trip destination.  Eventually I'll probably try and throw together an actual homeschool field trip with some friends and sign up for a tour. Maybe a culture club field trip?  But for now, clicking some pics with the Sphinx (what's the plural of Sphinx?) was quite enough.  The boys and I also happened upon an obelisk on a mini golf course near Provo after dropped Hannah Jane off at Girl Scout camp.  Yes, it was technically the Washington Monument, but everyone knows we stole that from the Egyptians, so I'm counting it!

Okay.  On to books that we used!

Non-Fiction Book Selection:

This book is perfect for my little Hunter (age 7).  He prefers to learn through picture captions over large blocks of text.  The pages in this book are arranged with large pictures surrounded by huge amounts of captions.  While it looks overwhelming to me, to him, it looks less overwhelming than if the text were all in one big block.  Very visually stimulating.

This is my favorite Egypt book.  Between the richly illustrated pages, there are illustrated transparencies as well.  You can see a temple, and then lift the transparency and see inside, giving it a 3D feel.

This book is laid out like a giant newspaper.  Of course, there were no such modern papers in ancient Egypt, but the quippy, short ads and articles make it very readable and funny for young ones.  Lots of random factoids, presented in a memorable format.

My nine year old, Hannah Jane, loves this one.  It covers the Egyptian sciences of building, astronomy, math and medicine.  Every few pages, Hannah Jane interrupted me to tell me how she assumed they did things and how they really did things, based on this book.

This book has a combination of photos and illustrations, and presents the information from the standpoint of an archaeologist or museum curator.

This is a very simple and easy to follow summary of why and how mummies were made.  Clear illustrations and captions.  Beautifully simplistic (and a Reading Rainbow book, if you're old enough to appreciate that!)

This is a very thorough and wordy description of a pyramid's planning, and construction.  Filled with pen sketches and lots of text, I'd say that this is for reading aloud or for upper elementary ages.  By the end, you just might be able to build your own pyramid.

Historical Fiction Selections:

Early Grammar:  This is my selection for the tiniest reader in the family.  It's long enough to feel rigorous, but not a full out chapter book, that tells a popular Egyptian myth.  Great pictures!

Upper Grammar:  This is my selection for kiddos who can read early chapter books.  I like that it is simple and has short chapters.  I did realize, though, that even though my son read all of the words, he was having difficulty connecting the dots.  This has become our bedtime chapter book and we discuss each chapter before we move on.

Dialect:  This is Hannah Jane's dialect level fiction.  It centers on an orphaned goldsmith in ancient Egypt who gets caught up in his half-brother's criminal mischief.  Hannah Jane enjoys the story line, but finds the chapters a bit long for her taste.

We also watched a several History Channel style movies and shows about ancient Egypt.  We had a few sick days at the tail end, so rather than spend a full week of school rehashing Bible stories that we are very familiar with already, we lounged around and watched any old movies about Bible characters interacting with Egyptian rule.  YouTube is loaded with History Channel shows!  Preview, though.  Many of them are focused on the debauchery of the ancient world and your kids will get an eye full of dancing girls rather than a look at their politics and homes.  We're saving Cleopatra's story until we reach Rome so that we can tie the two together with a little love story.

And just for the sake of having it all in one place, the hands on activities that we did can be seen in slide shows here and here.

Well, that's ll folks!  Egypt was a blast and now we're on to the cradle of civilization!

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