We got our Ancient Egypt unit off to a great start today. This is our third week of the History Odyssey: Ancients (level 1) curriculum and I feel ready to start adapting it a bit to best meet our family’s interests and learning styles.
C and J love secret codes so we leapt straight into hieroglyphics (which fit nicely with the curriculum). I pinned up a copy of the hieroglyph chart from Pepi and the Secret Names and without any prompting the children eagerly began writing their names on their whiteboards. They carried on writing for about an hour – everyone’s names, messages to friends who are following the same history curriculum, and messages to each other. J even wanted to play “consequences” in hieroglyphics! (I must admit I didn’t go with this one… we stuck to the English version!)
While they wrote, I read “The First Writing” chapter from The Story Of The World vol 1 and a section from Horrible Histories’ Awesome Egyptians. I like the way Awesome Egyptians talks about how hieroglyphs were deliberately complicated so that those who were able to read and write them were more important, and how scribes were trained in temples, so that when the last temple was destroyed, the ability to understand hieroglyphics was lost for many hundreds of years. This led nicely into finding out how the Rosetta Stone was the long-awaited key to cracking the secret hieroglyph code!
C and I finished up by watching the Ancient Egypt chapter of the DVD Time Life’s Lost Civilizations (from LoveFilm) – not the highest quality documentary in the world, but the visuals brought what we’d been learning about to life, and the commentary about early European plunderers fitted in nicely with our recent learnings about the key role archaeology plays in our understanding of history.
We’re looking forward to continuing our Egyptian unit soon.