Thursday, August 20, 2015

Ancient Egypt: Mummies, Tomb Paintings, and Mud Bricks {Tapestry of Grace}

We have continued our journey through the book of Exodus this week as well as our amazing assortment of history books.  The kids learned all about Ancient Egyptian pharaohs who were treated as gods. They have learned about pyramids. The Egyptians believed in the afterlife so they filled pyramids with food and treasures so they would be available to the person if needed. They learned about the embalming process and how mummies were made. The kids have been fascinated by it all!

For co-op this week, they made their own mummies! They started with action figures and dolls from the dollar store. They covered them in oils, spices, and natron (a type of salt), all of which were used in the mummification process.



Then they wrapped them in bandages! 


They did neglect one important step of the Egyptian mummy process.  They did not remove the brain from their noses or put their other organs in canopic jars!  But they were quite pleased with the mummies anyway.


They even painted sarcophaguses for their mummies.



It's fun doing school projects with our friends!


Next we gave the kids plaques made from Plaster of Paris for them to etch and paint tomb paintings on like they might find in an ancient pyramid.  I made these by simply pouring the Plaster of Paris in a styrofoam tray like the kind you might get deli meat or sliced fruit in at the grocery store.


They first etched their drawing with some clay tools that I have.


Then they painted their plaques. Nicholas put a map of the Nile River on his tomb painting.


The kids have learned about how the Israelite slaves had to make mud bricks for the Egyptians. It was hard and messy work. But our kids loved trying it out for themselves.

I found an small inflatable pool which is hard to do in the fall when stores are no longer selling summer items. We broke up about 2 pounds of clay and let it soak in water over night. I may have made a mistake in letting Rachel add the water to the clay because it seemed to be a little heavy on the water.

The kids got in the pool and squished the clay into smaller pieces and mixed it all up with their bare feet. Eww!



Next they added the straw.  The straw was an important ingredient to help hold the bricks together.  This week the kids read about how pharaoh would punish the Israelites by not providing them with the straw they needed and forced them to harvest their own straw and still make the same amount of bricks that they had before.


Some of the kids were less enthusiastic about the messy project than others.


Water, clay, and straw...all mixed up.  And a few messy kids in the batch too!


They added the final ingredient, sand, and continued mixing it all up. As we were planning this project, I knew we would need some way to mold the mixture into bricks. I thought the rectangular boxes that butter comes in would be perfect. So I stocked up! Fortunately butter freezes well and we won't need to buy anymore for the rest of the year!


The butter boxes turned out to be a great size and the kids worked together to hold the boxes while another one filled it with the slurry.


Eventually the boys moved on the light saber battles but the girls got even dirtier as they sat down in the mixture and continued to make the mud bricks!  That is the totally opposite way I had expected this to go!


We finished filling all of the butter boxes that we had and sprayed the kids off with the garden hose.  What a fun way for the kids to immerse themselves in what it was like to be an Israelite slave in Ancient Egypt.


It took several days for the mud bricks to dry but eventually we got to unmold them.


They were a bit rough looking but the definitely could be used to build something in the desert.


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Ancient Egypt: Papyrus Paper and Clay Pottery {Tapestry of Grace}

This was our first week of using our new curriculum, Tapestry of Grace. It has well-planned out lesson plans which help busy homeschool moms prepare for the week. The lessons cover history, literature, worldview, arts, geography, and vocabulary. We are starting with Year 1, Unit 1 with the Ancient Egyptians and the Israelites.

We have started studying the book of Exodus. We've read about Egypt in the time that Moses was born and how he ended up living with the Pharoah, even though he was born from a family of Israelite slaves. It is fascinating to study the Bible and the corresponding history and cultures that existed during that time.

We have read many great books on Egypt. Here Nicholas is reading Pharaohs and Pyramids (Time Traveler Series) (*affiliate link*) to Rachel.



They have also read from a long list of other great books on Egypt. They are not reading these books completely. The Tapestry of Grace lesson plans tells us which pages in each book covers the topics we are studying this week. 

Tapestry of Grace is a Classical curriculum in that it teaches to different levels (Lower Grammar, Upper Grammar, Dialectic, and Rhetoric) based on the typical learning style of children of those ages.  Therefore Rachel reads books from the Lower Grammar level while Nicholas reads books from the Upper Grammar and Dialectic levels.  The whole history timeline is covered in a four year period then it starts over again with the child moving up to the next more challenging level.

The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child: Volume 1: Ancient Times: From the Earliest Nomads to the Last Roman Emperor, Revised Edition (*affiliate link*)



The Nile River (Rookie Read-About Geography) (*affiliate link*)



DK Revealed: Ancient Egypt (DK Revealed) (*affiliate link*)



The Usborne Encyclopedia of the Ancient World: Internet Linked (History Encyclopedias) (*affiliate link*)



These two books include some great hands-on crafts and activities to make learning fun!

Old Testament Days: An Activity Guide (Hands-On History) (*affiliate link*)



Ancient Egypt (Make It Work! History) (*affiliate link*)



Nicholas is at the Upper Grammar level and he has independent reading time.  He will be reading Peeps At Many Lands: Ancient Egypt (*affiliate link*) over the next three weeks.  So far he says it is "ok but kind of boring".

We have read aloud time where I read to both of them.  I usually do this as they are eating lunch or maybe working on an Egyptian coloring page or craft project.   For the next few weeks we will be working our way through 

A Cry From Egypt (The Promised Land) (Volume 1) (*affiliate link*)



They are LOVING this book and beg me to keep reading it to them!

They have learned about how the Egyptians created one of the first forms of writing by using heiroglyphics.  They also created their own paper from papyrus reeds.  The paper was called papyrus paper.

The Ancient Egyptians would use the insides of the papyrus stalks and cross them over each other.  They would press the material together and the natural gum from the plant served as a type of glue to hold it together.  Once the papyrus had dried they could use it like paper.  

We do not have any papyrus reeds here in Texas so we used strips of brown paper bags.


The kids dunked the strips of paper into a mixture of white glue and water and wiped off any drippy excess glue.


The started by laying the strips of paper side by side with a slight overlap to allow them to stick together.


It was a fun and messy time in the kitchen!


Once they had a layer of strips glued together they began placing another layer on top going in the opposite direction.


They seemed to have fun just running their hands around in the glue!



Once the glue was dry, they used their "papyrus" as paper and wrote hieroglyphics on it.


They used a Hieroglyphic Chart of the alphabet from The Story of the World Activity pages to figure out how to draw their messages.


The kids loved writing in hieroglyphics because it was like writing in their own special code language!


We will get together once a week for co-op time with another homeschooling family who is studying on the same Tapestry of Grace schedule as we are.  It is fun because they live just across the street from us and our kids are already friends with each other.

For co-op this week, the kids made clay artifacts that could have been from Ancient Egyptian times.


Nicholas made a decorative bowl.


An Egyptian eye and eagle.


Note: This post contains affiliate links to the books on Amazon.  If you purchase one of these books through these links then I will receive a small percentage that goes back into paying for this blog.  It does not affect the price you pay for the book in any way.