To think we nearly skipped right over Nebuchadnezzar and onto the Persians – the fun we would have missed!
The Bits In Between Ancient Egypt and Ancient Greece
Since we finished Egypt, the last few lessons in our history curriculum have been about some of the less well-known ancient peoples who lived and fought in the Middle East, like the Philistines, Phoenicians, Assyrians and Babylonians. A homeschooling friend who’s using the same curriculum admitted she leapfrogged right over this bunch and got stuck into Ancient Greece. Her confession prompted my inner headteacher to grant me permission to do the same, but instead of skipping the units completely, I decided to consider whether to do them on a week by week basis.
My kids will happily listen to stories all day (especially when the play dough’s out) and our history spines – The Story Of The World and A Child’s History Of The World – are such entertaining reads that we’ve actually ended up enjoying all the “in between” people.
History Odyssey also suggests as a spine the Usborne Encyclopedia of World History. We find it a bit textbookish so don’t bother much with reading it, but the illustrations are wonderful, so I lay it out on the table with the relevant pages open while I read from the other two books.
Each week there have been some extra fun or learning titbits:
- Canaanites and Philistines – gave us an opportunity to read the bible stories of Samson, and David and Goliath. (Bible study is not a regular part of our curriculum but the bible does contain some great stories that are an important part of our culture so I incorporate them whenever I can.)
- Phoenicians – “the people who invented our ABCs”, without whom we might still be writing in cuneiform. Here we went down a fascinating bunny trail about glass-making. We enjoyed a few YouTube videos about heating sand to make glass (the clip we watched is no longer available, but I’m sure there are others), glass-blowing and colouring glass. And J got a new favourite insult – “You stink like a man from Tyre!” – ensuring that the knowledge of how the Phoenicians crushed snails to make purple dye in a very smelly process will remain with him for a long time!
- Assyrians – a pugnacious lot, but also invented the first libraries.
…and finally, today’s joy …
- The Return of Babylon – where Babylon gets its own back on Assyria. What study of ancient history would be complete with a rendition of Boney M’s By The Rivers Of Babylon? Which caused much hilarity in our house and led to an afternoon of dancing and guffawing to all Boney M’s 70s hits. This version of “Daddy Cool” was our overall favourite. It gets rather raunchy at the end but C and J were too busy admiring the male dancer’s Afro, and his ability to incorporate nearly falling off the tiny stage into his dance routine, to notice. 😀