October 27, 2012

The Symposium that Didn't Happen

I keep fearing that you charming homeschoolers will give up on me and this blog.  I really am doing school and periodically I do come up with good ideas.  Unfortunately, the follow-through has been lacking the past few weeks.  I would tell you the whole sob story of the wracking cough that kept me up at night followed by the flu that got bad enough I called my husband to come home from work.  I didn't want to freak out the children by passing out on them.  I was pretty dehydrated.  

But, school must go on!  So, when my hubby came home from work he read the following books to our children: 

 What's Your Angle, Pythagoras? by Julie Ellis.  It is listed as a math adventure so don't be surprised that the author takes some liberties with the story of Pythagoras.  She was more interested in the math than the history.  However, I still think it is a great introduction to one of the amazing thinkers that ancient Greece produced.
 Wise Guy: The Life and Philosophy of Socrates by M.D. Usher is a great introduction to philosophy and Socrates.  My kids were pretty outraged that Socrates was killed at the end, but that led to some pretty interesting discussion.  We really enjoyed this one.
The Librarian Who Measured the Earth by Kevin Hawkes is about Eratosthenes.  He was a scientist/mathematician/geographer/brilliant person back in ancient Greece.  He served as a tutor to the princes of Egypt and was a curator of the museum at Alexandria.  The book is interesting because the man is interesting.  

Now, here is the sad part.  My hubby read the books (not Socrates, I'd read that one the day before) and then that was it.  I had planned this great activity where I wrapped the kids in bedsheets for quick and easy togas, gave them a handful of grapes, and had them lounge around on the floor while we talked about big ideas.  I was hoping for a Greek symposium type of feel.  It didn't happen for us, but it should happen for someone!  Someone please use this idea and tell me if your kids liked it.

Here are some other great ideas for Greece that I didn't use:

1) Read The Hero Schliemann.  The book talks about how Schliemann was a compulsive liar and a skinflint but he did discover the remains of Troy.  We read some of it but it was too long for my youngest kids.  Miriam finished it on her own.  I was going to have the kids create a picture of a hero and describe what makes a real hero.

2) Read 300 Heroes: The Battle of Thermopylae by Terri Dougherty (one of our very favorite books about Greece) and The First Marathon: The Legend of Pheidippides by Susan Reynolds then go to the park and run races.  The winners would, of course, be presented with a wreath.  Instead, we read the books and watched synchronized swimming on youtube because my children had never heard of some of the less well known Olympic events.

3)  Read The Librarian Who Measured the Earth and take a thank you gift to your charming librarians.  We love our library and our librarians.  This one won't happen now, but I'm going to make it a priority to take them a Christmas treat. 

Sorry our Greece unit flopped.  My children loved all the books and we did make a cool parthenon, so it wasn't a complete waste.  I just love ancient Greece more than any other ancient civilization and I wish I hadn't been sick for so much of the unit!  Onwards and upwards, I suppose.  Next week we are resuming our weather unit for the last time.  I had to create an actual agenda for Harmony and I am determined to follow it so we can get to rocks in the spring.  I'm not motivated so much by Harmony but by the rocks unit.  We bought a rock tumbler and everything.  My kids and hubby are so excited.  

I hope your homeschooling is progressing without any sick breaks!

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