It’s been a minute since my last post but I couldn’t wait any longer to share five unforgettable ways to study the ancients!
If you’ve been trekking with us through our studies all school year, you’ll see that we have spent our time in the ancient world. I did an IG live this week in which I shared some background on our approach to how we study history. Here’s the link if you’d like to tune in!
In case you don’t have the time to watch the live, no worries!
I’ll briefly share how we go about learning history. We focus on a specific time period for the entire school year. This allows us to dive deeply and explore the many different facets of that period. If you begin this model when your child is in 1st grade, and go through the major time periods in history over the course of four years, by graduation, you’ll have covered each of the major time periods three times!
It would look like this:
Year 1: Ancients ending with the Fall of Rome
Year 2: Fall of Rome and ends around 1650
Year 3: 1650-1850
Year 4: 1850 to the present
There’s also the stretched out approach of studying six years’ worth of history over two cycles by the time of graduation. This is how you’d do it:
Year 1: Ancient World History
Year 2: Middle Ages around the world
Year 3: Renaissance and Reformation
Year 4: Colonization
Year 5: American History
Year 6: Modern History
I do a mix of both of these in all honesty. I actually combined the content of Year 3 & 4 when we got to them, because there was so much overlap! Throughout any year, we also focus on other parts of the world, not just Europe. I highly reject the Eurocentric way in which history is taught by the majority culture. It is another form of White Supremacy that has seeped into our society’s approach to history. For the purposes of this article, I’m simply using these headings as place holders to merely describe the major world events at the time. Please believe me, we spend LOTS of time looking at the entire world during those years, not just what was going on in Europe.
This year, as we worked through the ancients, I discovered five ways to make our time unforgettable. Please check them out below, and as an added bonus, I’ll also share some of the coveted texts that have enhanced our studies! Here we go!
- Read an epic or two or three!
Let’s face it, the writers of the ancient world were BEASTS!
When you think about the epic of Gilgamesh, the world’s oldest epic tale, Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey, and Virgil’s Aeneid, you will have plenty of material to read through for your school year! We’ve also enjoyed reading Aesop’s Fables. Aesop was born in 620 BC, and was a Greek storyteller. His fables and stories have lived on in modern times. Grab a book of his fables and have at it!
2. Do mini research papers.
I’m talking no more than one page each! On any given Monday, give your child a series of questions they can research throughout the week — Monday-Friday only. Feel free to snag a poster board at your local dollar store and allow them to spruce it up with pictures they find related to the topic. On Friday, they will present their findings to your family or to friends/loved ones over Zoom. Here’s a sampling of the questions I had my own kiddos research when we studied Carthage (modern-day Tunisia in North Africa). I simply switched out the people group and gave the assignment each week.
- Where is modern-day Carthage? What countries border it on the North? South? East? West?
- What is the closest body of water? Are they to the north, south, east, or west?
- Who founded Carthage?
- What is Carthage best known for?
- Who did they trade with?
- Were they warlike? If so, who did they fight with?
3. Find ways to incorporate science and mathematics.
Are you studying Ancient Greece? No problem! Have fun learning about Archimedes, Aristotle, and Pythagoras, to name a few! Recreate their experiments. Make their famous inventions. Watch a fun video on Amazon Prime or YouTube. Test your own hypotheses based on their theories! Check out the Archimedes Screw we made! Here’s the directions if you’d like to try as well!
4. Color and draw your way through the ancients. We did by using Draw & Write Through History, which is a pretty cool series that teaches kids how to literally draw various people and scenes from history. It provides copy work as well. We love it! We also have loved these free fun coloring pages!
5. Lastly, learn with friends!
I get it, by now, your kiddos (even you) might be a bit “Zoomed out”. However, getting your kids excited about the ancients with the amazing game plan I’ve laid out in this post will only make tackling ancient times that much more fun! Why not invite a handful of your children’s friends to come along for the ride! It doesn’t have to be super intense or in-depth either. The whole point is to make learning fun! Take the pressure off. Meet once a week for no more than an hour over Zoom. Share your projects, do an experiment together, make a dish the ancients would have enjoyed, honestly, the sky is the limit!
My kiddies have been doing just that all year via Zoom with my Able to Teach Homeschool Collective. Its a virtual co-op for homeschooled kids looking to learn and have fun! We made really cool catapults as we studied ancient Roman warfare. Check my little love bug out! Didn’t she do great?
Here’s my “Meet the Ancients Book List”:
Please note: These are affiliate links. This means, that if you click on the links and purchase them, I receive a small commission at no cost to you. Don’t worry, I wouldn’t list anything I myself wouldn’t use. In fact, I have purchased each of these books and love them! 🙂
The Mystery of History Volume I by Linda Lacour Hobar
Little Sphinx: No Time for the Sillies by Rachelle Jones Smith
The Story of Clocks and Calendars by Betsy Maestro
The Story of Ancient Weapons by Will Fowler
Science in the Ancient World by Dr. Jay L. Wile
Black Ships Before Troy by Rosemary Sutcliff
The Wanderings of Odysesus by Rosemary Sutcliff
Unveiling the Kings of Israel by David Down
If you’d like assistance with creating lesson plans to enhance your family’s studies, it would be my pleasure! Please send me a message! I’ll also be creating more curriculum in the coming months for purchase, so be on the lookout for that. Lastly, in July, I’ll be hosting two week long virtual summer enrichment camps for kiddos eager to have fun learning. If you’d like to be notified once registration opens, or if you’d like to collaborate on planning out your lessons for the rest of the school year or get ready for next school year, please shoot me a message on this post or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
If you end up using any of these ideas, please share it. Post pics on your social media, tag me, and spread the word!
Thanks for reading!