Saturday, February 18, 2017

Ancients: Plans and Cave Painting

We finally started our study of Ancient History!   We are using History Odyssey Level 2, with some modifications/additions, including using both the Kingfisher History Encyclopedia and the Usborne Internet Linked Encyclopedia of World History.  I've had the Usborne for years but bought the Kingfisher because it was supposed to be at a higher level.  Honestly, so far I'm not seeing it.  The reading level seems similar between the two, in fact some entries in the Kingfisher seem to be a lower level.    The main difference is that the Kingfisher starts with Early Humans, while the Usborne covers Prehistory.

We will also be looking for relevant entries in our Art: Over 2500 Works from Cave to Contemporary book.  This book is full of wonderful pictures and tons of information on art.  Since I'm teaching art as a accompaniment to our history studies, this book is perfect.

History Odyssey includes assignments to complete dictation sentences, definitions, fact cards, and/or summaries drawn from the Kingfisher Encyclopedia.  Each unit I'm going to write up my own dictation sentences (or definitions, summaries, fact cards) from the Usborne Encyclopedia and one kid will do the Kingfisher and one will do the Usborne.   All this information will then be put in our Timeline book.  

Our Timeline book is old but mostly empty. It has entries for the family birthdays and events from when we were discussing what is history.   I made it way back when we first started homeschooling.  I don't remember why I set it up the way I did.  I'm sure I read it somewhere, but basically what we are looking at is:
We start at 5 million years ago. 
1 million years ago. 
200,000 years ago
100,000 years ago 
50,000 BC to 5100 BC
5000BC to 4200BC 
4200 BC to 500BC - 100 years per page
500 BC to 1000 AD - 50 years per page
1000AD to 1800 AD - 20 years per page
1800 AD to the present - 10 years per page.

We also have the History Odyssey wall timeline and stickers that we will update as we go along as well.   I like the idea of having both.  The book will allow us to put more detail in each entry, the wall timeline will show the progress of history better.

Before the Holiday craziness, we finished up our Evolution/Prehistory study by learning about early man. We started with studying various Creation Myths using In The Beginning: Creation Stories from Around the World since it seemed like a good transition from evolution.

We then revisited the tail end of our evolution study by reviewing the early man sections in the Kingfisher and Usborne.  History Odyssey begins with the first civilizations but I wanted more of a transition between prehistory and history.

I wrote up some simple dictation sentences for the kids to complete while reading from the encyclopedias.   There were some minor differences in the times given between the Usborne and Kingfisher.  Exact dates are not available when you go that far back. 

I can see already that I may need to use smaller index cards or add extra page flaps.

In addition to the encyclopedias, the kids completed the Ice Age activities from Kids Discover.   We used to receive the print magazines but they don't seem to offer them anymore so I purchased a subscription to the website.  In addition to articles with pictures, diagrams and videos, they offer Teacher's Guides that include quizzes and activities to extend the learning.

and they read a few stories about the time period.

We also took a virtual tour of the cave paintings at Lascaux from this website.

We finished up by doing some cave painting of our own.  I was going to set up a fake cave and have the kids paint the walls inside but we were all getting over various colds/flu (that hit again a week later) so I went simpler.  I use brown paper bags (leaf bags from Walmart), tore off sections and crumbled them up to give them some texture.  Instead of making our own paints from charcoal and oil, I let them use some of our paints.  But only colors that would be possible to find in nature.  I originally gave them only brown, yellow and white to match the colors in the cave paintings we viewed, but they managed to talk me into red, green, and orange.   I allowed them to use their fingers or a stick as a brush.  George did one simple drawing with a stick (a squid of course)....

while Vicki jumped right in with her hands and did an entire sunset scene.

As soon as everyone gets over the latest round of colds/flu, we will continue Ancients by starting History Odyssey with First Civilizations and Monuments.


  1. Terrific one, Dottie! Definitely sharing on SHS Twitter account today.

  2. Thank you! And thank you for stopping by.