A Second Look at Ancient Greece

With all these Animal Kingdom Book posts, you may have forgotten we are also studying the ancients for history this year. 

That’s ok, sometimes I forget, too.

Because I’ve put so much money into biology (pretty expensive curriculum, zoo pass, botanical garden pass, microscope and equipment, etc.), usually, if something’s gotta give in our “electives,” it’s history. At least this year.

And part of me is a little sad about that. But on the other hand, it’s not like we aren’t doing ANY history at all. And it’s not like we haven’t gone over this before, either.

Let’s just start with what we’ve done so far this time around:

We’re read LOTS of books. IMG_3402First we read ancient Greek myths. The favorite book by far (I did, indeed, have to confiscate it out of fear that it’s shabby binding would fall apart. I’m NOT paying for another library book! Even though I really wouldn’t mind owning this one) was the LEGO book, of course.IMG_3428

(Hey kids! See, you could recreate a Greek myth with your LEGOS and we could take pictures and you could make a comic book with them! Wouldn’t that be a cool Greek project? They didn’t think so.)

There is a series of books by Geraldine McCaughrean covering four major Greek heroes: Odysseus, Perseus, Hercules, and Theseus. Odysseus was checked out from the library, but because they were chapter books I had my 5th and 3rd grader read the others on their own. Technically my 3rd grader read one and said she didn’t like it so I didn’t make her read the others. I must be getting soft in my old age. 😉

Two of the larger books I used as a family time read-a-loud book. For us, this works better when the book has a few chapters and lots of pictures. So “The Adventures of Odysseus” and “Jason and the Argonauts” worked perfectly for us! Plus, the illustrations were really fun!

We read the rest of the books just a couple at a time during our regular “history” lesson. By the end, I felt we were fairly well versed in ancient Greek myths.

Lest you thought the first photo of “lots of books” didn’t look impressive enough, here is the other group of books I couldn’t fit into the first photo.IMG_3407After myths we moved into the non-fiction genre. Technically, we are still here, but I plan to move on pretty quickly. (Because I realized it took us 4 months to cover just 3 of the ancients!) So far we’ve gone over every day Greek life and the differences between Sparta and Athens. I’ve saved the biographies (Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Pericles, and Pythagorus) for last.

Additionally, because I kept reminding/pestering the kids that they would need to pick a project or two to show what they know about ancient Greece, or at least some cultural aspect of ancient Greece, they came up with a few projects to do on their own. I had a few other things in mind (and I do have a few fun projects prepared and ready to go for next week), but these turned out cute and were obviously done all by themselves!

Sometimes it’s just better if mom doesn’t get involved.


We’ve got the Parthenon… complete with a big gold statue of Athena and a little statue of Nike sitting in her hand… (materials: tape, straws, tape, cardboard, tape, construction paper, tape, and tape.)

and a “turtle shell” lyre… be careful. Those rubber bands break pretty easily… (materials: paper plates, rubber bands, hot glue, shish-kabob skewers.)

and a building for the ancient Greek assembly to meet in to debate and make laws… (materials: KEVA planks.) I can’t remember what that is called! Or maybe I never knew.  I asked my husband and he said hesitantly, “the Pantheon?” Uh. I know enough to know it was definitely NOT the Pantheon.IMG_3424But in the rare case your kids aren’t obsessed with tape or hot glue or KEVA planks, you can check out these fun project books for other ideas. Seeing this is the second time going over ancient Greece, I’m a little familiar with these books already. There are some really fun project ideas in here, two of which we’ll be making in the next two weeks, so stay tuned!IMG_3408