During the covid lockdown, like many parents, I tried to find educational, non-screen sources of entertainment for my children. In all honesty, I also wanted to find something low effort on my part. A Google search led me to a podcast on Greek mythology. We listened to an episode together one afternoon while eating dinner and the children were instantly hooked. If you’ve read my post on why we started home educating you’ll know that part of the reason was how interested my children were in a variety of topics, including Greek mythology. I decided that for our first home ed topic we would look at Ancient Greece, pulling in mythology, society, culture and home life to capture their interest while broadening their understanding of this era in history. I’d like to share some of the resources we used and the activities we carried out, highlighting the things that worked and the things that didn’t.
Ancient Greek Resources
These are resources that we included in our Ancient Greece Morning Basket and would also pull from as required during any topic learning.
Ancient Greeks – Part of the Usborne History set
See Inside Ancient Greece – a super lift the flap book.
The Usborne Internet Linked Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece – comes with internet links for more research.
Myth Match – a beautiful book where you flip the pages to create new mythological creatures.
Zeus on the Loose – a Greek Mythology themed maths game.
Who Let the Gods Out? – novel series by Maz Evans. We read these during Morning time.
Echo Echo – a beautiful reverso poetry book, based on Greek Myths.
The Percy Jackson Series – we didn’t actually read this at the time of our topic, I thought the children might be too scared. They were since gifted them and Dexter is enjoying them.
Greeking Out – the podcast that started it all!
Kid’s Animated History with Pipo – I struggled to find good TV programs on the topic. This Amazon prime series has a couple of episodes on classical Greece.
Ancient Greek Home Ed Activities
Thanks to Greeking Out, the children already had a fantastic starting knowledge on Ancient Greek Heros and Monsters. During our weekly writing lesson time, the children wrote their own Greek Myths. First, they each created and drew their own Greek Mythology style hero and monster. We were working on using adjectives and adverbs in writing at the time, so they were next tasked with describing their character in a descriptive passage. Next, they drew and described an appropriate setting for their characters. I provided them with Story Mountains so they could plot out the events in their myth. Finally, they wrote chapters containing their descriptive passages, along with action and speech. This took us several weeks, dipping in and out. By the end of the project, each child had written their own illustrated Greek Myth.
For Eliza, two interests collided here. She loves a crafty project and often drafts and follows patterns to sew her own simple toys. She loved using her wee machine to make her own Greek clothing. We used an old white sheet and sewed down the sides, then tied at the waist to create a chiton. Dexter made a shorter one and then they worked together to make one for little sister.
Vase Designing and Making
We designed our own vases on paper but also worked on creating clay vases on a little pottery wheel. This was harder than it looked!
Ancient Greek Model Home
This project never really got off the ground, hence I have no photos. I tasked the children with working together to make a model of an ancient Greek home. The See Inside and Encyclopedia books above contain lovely illustrations of homes in ancient Greece to reference. The children began with enthusiasm but for some reason, interest petered out. They would work on their house when I suggested it but the spark never ignited and the project dragged on and on. At school, there would have been incentives or sanctions if they didn’t complete. Honestly, I struggled with what I should do here. What lesson would it teach if they started things but didn’t finish?! If I spoke to them about houses in ancient Greece, they would happily describe their features. I reminded myself this was about learning and pursuing their interests. They had learned about ancient Greek homes but the enthusiasm wasn’t there to take it further. I decided not to press it and we moved on.
A Greek Feast
Towards the end of the topic, we held a mini Greek feast. We sampled olives and stuffed vine leaves, made homemade tzatziki and my husband made us souvlaki. Delicious!
A Visit to Ancient Greece!
We were lucky enough to travel to Sicily in the early Spring of 2022. Sicily was part of the ancient Greek empire and is home to many historic landmarks of the time. I will share what we did in a later post, but needless to say, this added a beautiful real life experience to our learning on Ancient Greece.