In our slow, but steady move through history we have talked about nomads, ancient Egypt, ancient China, ancient Greece and Rome and then up into the Middle Ages. From here we’re going to turn to the Americas. Our next history unit study will be on Native Americans. I hope to incorporate some good literature books into our studies over the next few months (let me know if you have good suggestions for young listeners).
We started this week with the Ancient Mayan Civilization. I pulled a National Geographics map out (our library had old back copies of NG for 10 cents a piece a few months back). I also bought a book on the Mayans for 50 cents. It’s full of great photos not only of ruins, but of artist’s recreations of Mayan civilization.
When hubby and I were dating, we went on a trip down to Chichen-Itza and Uxmal. Chichen-Itza was one of the most important capitals of the ancient Mayan civilization. I brought out the old photos and shared them with the kids for the first time. Hubby and I weren’t married so we also have an over abundance of tourist nick-knacks.
The book we’re reading is called The Corn Grows Ripe (with Newberry Honors). Funny enough this dovetails nicely with our current enthusiasm for gardening. (LD is still doing a lot of work on his plant/garden unit, but more about that another time.) It’s about a modern Mayan boy who doesn’t work as hard as he could. When his father is injured while trying to fell a tree, the boy really steps up to help his father out — first by getting help and then by getting the field ready for planting. In the picture (above and below) the book I have actually show a modern Mayan using the same hooked tool described in the book to cut the brush. And there’s also a photo of the field being burned. We talked a lot about why that was done (to keep the soil healthy) and how hard it would be for us to cut down and burn the trees in our woods to clear out an area for a new garden. In the book, the boy spends a lot of time pondering the ancient ruins around him. When I asked the kids what they would think if they came across a skull carving like the ones in some of the photos I took, they looked at me blankly, shrugged their shoulders, and said they wouldn’t think it was that interesting. WHAT?! Guess they don’t (yet) have the anthropology/history intrigue that their Mom has!!
Hands-On Activities, Packets, Encouragement, and More!
Hi! I’m Liesl!
Do you believe education can be exciting, inspiring, and full of joy? We do too! I love the quote by William Butler Yeats, "Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire." It's about getting the kids involved, engaged, and fired up about learning (while juggling the rest of life too!)
A bit about me: I have my Master's from Brown University. I have more than 20 years of teaching experience. I was a high school teacher for many years both in the U.S. and internationally and also taught for the University of Maryland before leaving to homeschool my 3 wonderful kids. To read more about us CLICK HERE.
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Homeschool Den STORE
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how do I start homeschooling
This post has links to dozens of posts and resources both for new and veteran homeschoolers for everything from finding homeschool curriculum to general homeschool advice and encouragement.
Science Units and Packets
What science topics could I teach my 5-7 year old - Homeschool Science Curriculum
Click on the image above to see the Science Units we covered in our homeschool from elementary through middle school (and beyond!).
Below is just a small sample of the packets and resources we have available on our blog.
Earth Science Bundle
Click the image to check out our packets on Earth Science, Rocks and Minerals, the Atmosphere, Weather, Energy and More!
Units are also sold separately.
Earth Science Packet
This is one of our most popular units. It covers the Layers of the Earth, Plate Tectonics, Earthquakes, Volcanoes and More! It is included in the Earth Science Bundle (see the picture/link above).
Click the image to see our Biology Units on Animal and Plant Cells; the Biology Unit on Biomes, Food Chains, Symbiosis; Scientific Classification & Taxonomy (Domain/Kingdom/Phylum/Class, etc.); Botany - Plant Kingdom and Oceans and Oceanography.
Big Animal Bundle
Click on the image to see our Animal Bundle - including the Animal Unit, Life Cycles, the Rainforest, Winter (Polar Animals) & Hibernation, Chameleons, Wolves, Cicadas and more!
Human Body Systems Bundle
The Human Body Systems, Skeletal, Digestive, Circulatory, Muscular, Nervous, Endocrine Systems and More (with lots of hands-on activity ideas)! We usually study a different body system each year.
Digestive System Packet and Activities (100+ pages)
Click on the image to see our units on the States of matter, Properties of Matter, Electricity & Circuits, and the Chemistry Unit (Get to know the Periodic Table in a fun way!)
Free Science Checklist – Elementary and Middle School
This is a free checklist I put together of the various science units I hope to cover in the elementary and middle school years.
Civics & Government Unit
American Revolution Packet
World Facts Packet
Do your kids know the 4 largest countries? Which countries have the most people? The longest river? This packet covers basic world and U.S. facts and also covers geographic features and land forms.
Geographic Features & Landforms (also in the World Facts Packet)
Ancient Egypt Packet
Ancient Greek Gods and Goddesses
Middle Ages – Feudalism Packet
Slavery and the Civil War Packet
World War I Unit
Click on the image to check out our 100-page unit on World War I.
World War II Unit
Long A Sound Activities
ow-ou-oy-oi-aw-au Word Sort Activities
The spelling program we use:
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