We are homeschooling this summer for the first time, you can read more about our reasons and curriculum choices here. For our social studies we are using Sonlight Core A: Intro to World Cultures. This week’s lessons (Week 2) focused on ancient Egypt. (Are you using Sonlight too? Here is my list of great dinosaur activities and books for Week 1.
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Egyptians and Ancient Civilization
My kid is fascinated by mummies, Pharaohs, and pyramids. (I’m guessing that’s pretty typical). Using our library, I put out a variety of books on the topics that we study in a special homeschooling basket. We don’t sit and read every book in our basket as part of our homeschool week. But, I’ll grab a book from the basket if we have extra time or if I want to cover a topic in more depth. The kids explore the books plenty on their own and often will ask me to read their favorites to them before bedtime.
6 Great Books about Ancient Egypt
This picture book is a gorgeous color rendition of Egyptian myths. The stories are retold in a graphic novel style that combines ancient Egyptian art with modern comics. The book is fully in color and even has page fold spreads. My kid liked this book so much that he insisted on taking it to a friend’s house to show it off.
(By the way, Marcia Williams also has written and illustrated several other great books that introduce classic myth or literature to children. We have read her retelling’s of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Bravo, Mr. Shakespeare and The Iliad and the Odyssey in the past. All stood out as favorites, though I actually never connected the dots that they were written by the same author until today.)
Top 10 Worst Things about Ancient Egypt: You Wouldn’t Want to Know by Victoria England
This book gives a pretty comprehensive view of Ancient Egyptian life while keeping kids entertained with gross facts and humorous illustrations. My only complaint would be many of the 10 things weren’t that extreme, and I thought the title was a little misleading.
My kid likes to draw, so Ralph Masiello’s step-by-step directions for drawing Ancient Egyptian symbols was a perfect fit for my child. The book includes projects for a variety of skill levels.
Judith Crosher’s See through History: Ancient Egypt
This book was rather long, so we didn’t read the whole book. I was impressed by the amount of detail in the text and illustrations, and I think it would make an excellent resource for families wanting a more in-depth approach.
This book is short and provides a great overview of a Pharaoh’s life.
This book is another humorous, cartoon retelling of Egyptian life, but it focuses on King Tut and the “curse” of his tomb. The book provided an interesting glimpse into the history of King Tut’s tomb and the resulting rumors that circulated during the 1920s about a curse.
Ancient Egyptians and Civilizations Activities
We also enjoyed the following resources and activities about Ancient Egyptian and other Ancient Civilizations. My kids really enjoy activities, so I save them as a treat after the more difficult work is finished.
My kid watched this excellent video explaining the process of how mummies were made several times (he begged me to watch it over and over.)
We learned quite a bit about Egyptian tombs from this simple online game. (Note: It does require independent reading, so I had to play with my child.)
We made a coracle (ancient boat) using the directions from Living Long Ago (part of our Sonlight Core A). Basically, you just twist together two pipe-cleaners to make a circle. Then, you use two more pipe cleaners to form a circular frame for the bottom of the boat. We cut apart a plastic shopping bag and taped it to the frame. Then, we floated the coracle in a bowl of water until my kids sunk the boats in a sea battle.
We also created “Egyptian” necklaces by cutting a paper plate in half (we previously had painted color wheels on our paper plates, so they already were painted) and then cutting a neck hole shape. We then glued “jewels” (ie sequins) on the plates. I then punched holes on each side and attached string to make a necklace. I’m pretty sure that Egyptians’ necklaces looked quite a bit more sophisticated than our paper plate necklaces, but it did keep the kids busy while I cooked dinner.
So, that’s our social studies for Week 2 of Sonlight Core A. Do you have any other ideas for studying ancient Egypt?
Bethany is a South Carolina mom who enjoys learning with her kid. She is a weekly columnist for the Greenville News eGreenville, BHG.com pinner pro, and also runs Greenville’s top family website Kidding Around Greenville.
You are most likely to find her at the library, exploring a park, or in the middle of some sort of massive mess-making adventure with her kids.