Books We Are Using This Year
  • The Story of the World: Ancient Times (Vol. 1)
    The Story of the World: Ancient Times (Vol. 1)
    by Jeff West,S. Wise Bauer,Jeff (ILT) West, Susan Wise Bauer
  • Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding: A Science Curriculum for K-2
    Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding: A Science Curriculum for K-2
    by Bernard J Nebel PhD
  • Math-U-See Epsilon Student Kit (Complete Kit)
    Math-U-See Epsilon Student Kit (Complete Kit)
    by Steven P. Demme
  • First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind: Level 4 Instructor Guide (First Language Lessons) By Jessie Wise, Sara Buffington
    First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind: Level 4 Instructor Guide (First Language Lessons) By Jessie Wise, Sara Buffington
    by -Author-
  • Drawing With Children: A Creative Method for Adult Beginners, Too
    Drawing With Children: A Creative Method for Adult Beginners, Too
    by Mona Brookes
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Entries in mythology (2)


Comparing myths (and SOTW ch. 14, The Israelites)

Last week we were having so much fun with Egypt that we spent an extra week there. Part of that time was spent getting a better feel for the pharaohs who ruled throughout the dynastic period, and linking the dates and eras to things going on in other parts of the world at the time, like the Hyksos, the Nubians, the tribes of people to the northeast, and the mysterious Sea Peoples.

We also spent some time looking at chapter 14 of The Story of the World, which, titled The Israelites, deals with the purported slavery of those people in, and their exodus led by Moses out of the Kingdom of Egypt. We read a few versions of this story and found it hauntingly familiar. The story of Moses as a baby, after all, is the exact same story told in Uruk, 1,000 years earlier, about Sargon. This started us on a journey of myth comparison. The parallels between the stories of Abraham (once Abram) and Akhenaten (once Amenhotep IV) are also eerily similar. And of course we compared the creation myths of a variety of cultures as well.

We did not really read the chapter in SOTW on the exodus from Egypt. Instead we read myths from a variety of cultures, including a children's Bible, the Enuma Elish, excerpts from The Epic of Gilgamesh, excerpts from the Iliad, and a variety of other myth stories.

These are some of the resources we used:

The Big Myth is a paid subscription website that offers animated renderings of creation myths from around the world. The art and sound are rich, contrasty, and pretty Art Deco, which would not be my first choice, but it allows for all traditions to be given the same treatment and credence. We've watched them all together, and Calvin will also sit by himself and click through the links, watching the videos over and over. He finds them fascinating. We paid for the subscription, and I'm pleased, but a few of their works are available for free.

The Enuma Elish (the Babylonian creation myth), available for reading online.

Egyptian Myths, by Jacqueline Morley, combines beautiful illustrations with short tellings of the major Egyptian myths of creation. A lovely book, easy to enjoy.

The Epic of Gilgamesh is one of the oldest and most intriguing epics of all time, but much of the original is questionable reading material for young children. In Gilgamesh the Hero, McCaughrean retains enough of the original's clipped style to make it sound like what it is, but adds enough vibrant tone to make it friendly reading for an older child, and the illustrations enliven without detracting. We both loved this book.

In Puffin's version of the epic story, The Mahabharata is broken down into managably sized tales with readable text and interesting illustrations.


Saturday's Artist—The Book of the Dead

We are finishing our exploration of Africa with a stop in Egypt, and though we started in modern Egypt curiosity has taken us back in time to the ancients. I think it will be a short stay for us right now—my concerns over timing on the death issue (as I mentioned here and a little here) will probably return us to the modern in a day or two—but we've done much just the same. I love exploring myth cultures so while building the pyramids we also read about the beliefs of their creators and inhabitants. Calvin finds the myth stories fascinating, and why wouldn't he? They are the building blocks of culture and society, and they read like fairy tales. The only down side is the prevalence of violence, but it's not like the brothers Grimm did any better.

Back to the art. To go with our pyramids this week Calvin decided it was important to create a copy of the Book of the Dead. I suggested a paper bag for the paper, to give it an older feel and look, and Calvin decided on colored pencils for his medium.

A few weeks ago, at the Border's closing sale, we luckily picked up a set of hieroglyphics stamps that came in handy here.

He used a book to copy pictures of Osiris, Isis, Horus, and the scales that weigh one's heart against a feather for admittance to the Field of Reeds.

He originally intended to create three copies of the scroll, one for each pyramid as it was the custom to bury (rich) people each with their own, but so far he has finished just this one over a two day period. I left everything out for him so we'll see if he goes back and creates more, or if we will leave the dead behind and return to the living, and camels, and sand. This morning I found him reading a book on archeology, so maybe he's actually finding that important link between the two worlds.

Come join, or at least visit, the parade of art linked to Saturday's Artist at Ordinary Life Magic.