This was another rough week for school, though I'm proud to say that we did accomplish many of my plans. Last weekend I made the rather unorthodox decision to jump ahead to the Greeks, because I was getting concerned about how much time we've taken thus far (also, everything has been review for my eldest who was studying the Ancients in public school this year). We finished "Tirzah" over the weekend, thus ending our study of Ancient Egypt, albeit rather abruptly! If time allows, we'll revisit India and China this summer, after we cover Ancient Rome. Late last week I received several new TruthQuest History Guides and was pleased to discover that they use the Exodus as a stopping point for Egypt, so this helped to cement the decision.

We also took a slightly different approach this week - trying to integrate as many subjects as possible into our study of the Minoan civilization. This was somewhat successful, somewhat not since our Science, in particular, doesn't align 100%. I think if I'd had more time to plan, it could've been better, but we'll try again next week with the Mycenaean civilization.

Monday: As an introduction, we read the first four chapters of H.A. Guerber's The Story of the Greeks, we also read about "The First Greeks" from The Usborne Encyclopedia of the Ancient World. We learned about the geography of Greece and completed our mapwork. For Science, we read about "Ancient Lightning Rods," in particular, the spear-shaped masts on Minoan temples that archaeologists believe were used to attract lightning. Incidentally the masts are the same shape that Benjamin Franklin later recommended for lightning conducters after his famous kite experiment in 1752. In The Story of Science, we read about "Myths of Creation" and then concluded by reading from D'Aulaires Book of Greek Mythology. While I read, the kids colored pictures of Zeus and other Greek gods and goddesses from a Dover coloring book.

Monday evening we had an impromptu art and anthropology lesson. We watched The True Meaning of Pictures: Shelby Lee Adams' Appalachia about documentary photographer Shelby Lee Adams. A fantastic discussion ensued! The kids were both disturbed and intrigued by his images (in truth, I believe it was the poverty they found most disturbing), while I was simply fascinated because Appalachian culture has always been of interest to me. While I can understand how Shelby's work is controversial, I find myself quite drawn to his images. A terrific interview, which led to even further discussion, can be found here. The kids especially enjoyed the segment on the Pentecostal snake handlers (though again, they were equally horrified), as we'd seen mention of these sects in another documentary.

Elon and I also watched Peter Adair's 1967 documentary [on YouTube] entitled Holy Ghost People. The film was shot at a Pentecostal service in Scrabble Creek, West Virginia. Needless to say, I cannot wait until we study U.S. History and can delve into Appalachian culture (oh, and Folk Art!) in more detail. Sadly though, that's years away...

Tuesday: On Tuesday we covered Lesson 12 about the Minoans in The Mystery of History. We read about Sir Arthur Evans in Oxford First Ancient History, and several pages from
The Usborne Encyclopedia of the Ancient World. For Science, we read about ancient calendars and the boys created a sundial in our backyard. We read more from D'Aulaires and then somehow got into a discussion of brain surgery in ancient times. I believe this was related to reading about the discovery of a complete medical kit from the Minoan civilization, found in a tomb at Nauplion, on Crete. The kids were fascinated by the idea of brain surgery 4,000 years ago and downright shocked by the high survival rates. We also learned a little about Freshwater Leeches, thanks to several that Elon discovered in a local creek (ew!).

Wednesday: On Wednesday we started by reading part of SOTW Chapter 18 and then read about the Minoan palaces, the Palace at Knossos in particular, and daily life on ancient Crete. We took a Virtual Tour of the Palace at Knossos, examined close-up photographs of the palace on Flickr, and read about Minoan architecture (here and here). We discussed fresco painting and examined several Minoan frescoes in detail, comparing notes on our observations. We were supposed to make a fresco of our own, but that project got bumped to Friday. We finished up by reading from D'Aulaires.

Thursday: Thursday we began by reading the second half of SOTW Chapter 18 and then read about Minoan religion and bull jumping. The kids colored this page on Theseus and the Minotaur while we listened to Greathall Productions' "Heroes in Mythology: Theseus and the Minotaur" (a longer version of the story read in SOTW), then we discussed the labyrinth in history, Medieval churches in particular, and learned the significance of the Old English word clew. We did some research online about the archaeological evidence (or lack thereof) of the Minotaur's labyrinth and learned how to draw a classical labyrinth (an online tool can be found here). Initially I'd planned to assemble the labyrinth with river rocks, much like this, but we ran out of rocks! The boys and I were quickly frustrated trying to draw one, but Maddie figured it out immediately.

Friday: Friday ended up an especially light day since one of the kids had an appointment and I wasn't feeling well, so I did school from the couch. We read about the Greek gods in our TruthQuest History and SOTW Chapter 23, we learned about the Phaistros Disk, Linear A and B, and Michael Ventris. We also read Atlantis: The Lost City and of course, D'Aulaires Book of Greek Mythology. Our fresco project has been delayed until later this evening or this weekend because the kids are currently holding a boat building competition (using popsicle sticks). I guess that works since the Minoans were excellent ship builders and developed the first Navy!

The dolphin fresco in the Queen's Megaron at the Palace of Knossos is going to be our inspiration for the frescoes:

We'll be using this set of instructions. I'm a bit stressed that we've already put it off and are now postponing it again, especially because I really want to do it! I guess we'll have to see what's realistic though, we've already got a Renaissance Faire to attend this weekend and the kids are so insanely excited about that, I don't dare change our plans (even though I have no idea how I'll manage it!).

I should mention that in addition to the above work, we managed to get through daily Math lessons and a single CLE Reading lesson, but that is all (and yes, I'm hanging my head in shame). I'm still trying to figure out a way to make Language Arts easier on myself until I am feeling better, because right now there's simply way too much and I can't handle it. Also, I received semi-official confirmation today that one of my boys is dyslexic, so I need to seriously re-think some of my teaching methods. The doctor wants me to enroll in an intensive course that will teach me how to teach reading, writing, spelling, and speaking using a multi-sensory approach but it is insanely expensive. Tremendously valuable though, I'm sure. However, until my brain is a little less "scattered," I'm not sure I'd be able to get through the graduate-level work right now, ugh. To add to my frustrations, my neurologist added another new prescription to my repertoire today - one that is known for causing memory loss and confusion, just what I needed (not!)! Oh well, we'll see what next week brings - hopefully it will go more smoothly!

1 Comment:

  1. Fresco said...
    Thank you for creating a fresco project!

    Let us know how we can help.

    iLia Anossov (fresco) -

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