Yesterday was a pretty awful day in the annals of homeschooling. (We are going through some family stresses right now which are not, shall we say, resulting in optimal parent-child relations.) Today went much better. It’s nice to know that I can’t ruin her quite as quickly as all that.
First, some ongoing projects:
Yesterday, Alex finished the leaves for her Olympian Family Tree. We decided to make a tree trunk out of butcher paper and mount the tree on her bedroom wall. She really likes her leaves, so I want to keep them in a format that allows easy viewing.
I made Alex a chiton out of a white pillowcase, and she’s been wearing it for part of the time every day. (We’ve also experimented with a peplos, made by wrapping and pinning a large square of cloth, but that’s much less comfortable for active play.) She spends a lot of time playing Ancient Greece games in her chiton, wielding her sword. Much of the time she’s pretending to be a half-blood.
After the wreck that was yesterday, today I planned some peaceful online lessons about Athens and Sparta. One of the things we did get done yesterday was reading the Story of the World chapter contrasting the two cities. Today we went through an excellent lesson on the British Museum’s Ancient Greece site, exploring the details of daily life in Athens and Sparta. I particularly liked the “parallel lives” section, which allows you to compare the life trajectories of Athenian and Spartan men and women. We walked through the life stories of the two women (from infancy onward) and then the two men. We both agreed that life was much better in Sparta for women, and much better in Athens for men. The online activity was a nice supplement to the SOTW chapter, which takes a bit too rosy a view of the freedoms of Athenian democracy. (I did also do some on-the-fly editing when I read the chapter aloud.)
We watched some animated Greek myths on an Australian Broadcasting Company site and then asked questions of the Delphic Oracle. Alex asked the oracle how long it would be until she had sushi again, and was told that it would be the day after she presented a sacrifice to Hera. She immediately decided that she wanted to sacrifice a stuffed animal to Hera, and spent some time acting out the capture and penning of an animal for future sacrifice. Hmm. Maybe we don’t want to take our Greek experience quite that far.
Finally, we talked about the Acropolis of Athens and looked at some modern pictures of the ruins. Then we watched a fascinating YouTube video following the Parthenon through time. You see the bare Acropolis, then the Parthenon in its glory days with brightly-painted friezes, and then the long series of invasions and desecrations as the Parthenon is burned, defaced, bombed, and finally robbed by Lord Elgin. Amazing stuff.
When I got home from work today, I discovered that Alex had built a Greek temple in the playroom with her blocks. Apparently our discussion of the Parthenon really sank in.
This particular temple is devoted to Aphrodite. The goddess is hanging out in there with Ares, hiding from her husband Haphaestus.
So, yeah. Things may be hard, but Ancient Greece is definitely weaving its magic and catching Alex up. It’s a lot of fun to watch.