Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Homeschool Unit Study - The Mysterious Ancient Egypt

Dumpling chanced upon some information on Ancient Egypt and mummies a few weeks ago and being the inquisitive person that she is, she bombarded me with tons of questions over a period of a few days. So, that marked the start of our most intensive unit study ever - Ancient Egypt.

What I naively thought was supposed to last over perhaps a period of 2 weeks stretched into about 6 weeks. We read loads (we must have read around 40+ books!!), spanning from reading on introduction into the mysterious world of Ancient Egypt to understanding more about 'Mummies', to the building of Pyramids to the mystery of King Tut before we finished off with Cleopatra, the last Pharaoh.

These are just a fraction of the titles we read through as I had unfortunately deleted away some photos of the other titles we read..

In particular, I found the Nat Geo title below as well as one which is written by Aliki - Mummies Made in Egypt informative and well presented. This is a heavy topic and certainly left many areas for discussion.

I had the opportunity to extend into a bit of drawing and creative writing...

We also extended to some spatial awareness activities

With God's grace, one of the homelearning forum mummies who knew that I was doing this unit saw this Project pack being sold and helped me get it (Thank you Harn Ing!) 

It was a great topic. From understanding the Egyptians' culture, way of life and their superstitions, we also extended to biblical focus on the entire Exodus chapter (and where I had just, over the weekend, managed to get my hands on apparently the only copy of Prince of Egypt DVD from the Library Board!)

Then, we had a chance to visit the Mummy Exhibition on my birthday earlier in the week! Dumpling was so excited (she has been bugging me for weeks to bring her there) and we arrived so early that the museum was not yet opened.

(Taking pic outside while waiting for the museum to open doors)

As always, we brought along our homeschool share Ancient Egypt lapbook. For this unit, I downloaded the free resource from HomeschoolShare and I also added on elements of our own as well as some other random resources from the internet.  

Which Dumpling was more than happy to share her knowledge with one of the staff manning the booth for the Quest activity packs (whoever says that homeschoolers are unsocialised??!?!?)

These Quest bags consist of 4 activities for 3 different age groups and here's a peek at how the Preschooler bag looks like. They were meant to let the children learn a bit more about some 'sacred' animals - Cobra, Falcon, etc. The activities are offered FOC but are not for the child to keep; they are to be returned after the session. Personally, I feel that it would have been great if there's some sort of an activity book to be given out to the children where they get to keep it after the exhibition. 

Now, what goes on in the 'show'?

Before entering into the exhibit hall, there's a screening of a 20min 3D film which looks into the life of one of the most well traveled mummy bought by the British Museum - Nesperennub. Who was he? What did he do and how did he die? The show is not scary but definitely graphic as it uses computer graphics to explain and examine the various parts of his body as well as explain his profession with the hieroglyphs on his cartonnage. 

The show is recommended for 6YOs and above but because we have been homeschooling on this topic for the past weeks, Dumpling has seen some Nat Geo clips and was basically quite prepared. Nonetheless, I gave her a shawl to cover her face with in case it got graphic. 

(Tip: you may want to bring along some pins to secure the sides of the glasses down as they were definitely too big / loose for the little ones)

For Dumpling, seeing these exhibits in life is no longer just a 'fancy' event but instead, it was something which she could relate too - what these small figurines are, what were they use for and why were they buried?

Dumpling also enjoyed seeing the actual Papyrus as we had read up on the making of it as 'paper' and she got to see a close up scroll in the show. The details on that scroll was just amazing. 

And of course, the star of the show: the cartonnage of Nesperennub. 

Cartonnage case of Nesperennub

Here's a close up of the Hieroglyphs on the cartonnage

Here's a Hieroglyphics chart for your reference!

It was a lovely lovely unit study and field trip. I learnt just as much as Dumpling along the way and the topic provided us with many hours of discussion and bonding over reading. If you are visiting the Art Science Museum for this exhibition, I would recommend you to read up together with the kiddos to have some background knowledge so that they are able to understand and enjoy the exhibits better. :) Here's a parting shot from us! 

Till the next homeschool post! 
Mama Sue 

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  1. Wow. I chanced upon your blog and this is very impressive. As a FTWM, how much time do you spend to plan all these? Planning done daily or by week?

    1. Hi Ronni

      Thanks for popping by. I am not entirely sure how much time I spend on preparing because I sorta do it along the way - during lunch time, when the kiddo is asleep, place reservation for some books at the local library over the weekend, etc. It is not so much by weekly rather, by theme.

      The quickest way is to google and then look for either free printables available or just purchase them at some online stores / popular homeschooling sites in the states. :) Because we are doing on a thematic / literature based manner, the books will usually come first then the materials. :) HTH

    2. Wow... I can only say well done. I am still struggling to play catch up with school as I realized they don't teach him the concepts well enough. Definitely hoping to explore more than academic stuff.

      Thanks for the tips!

    3. How old is your kiddo Ronni? Since he is already attending school, I think you can do more hands on stuff with him to cement his experience - experiments, field trips, etc. :)

  2. He's in K1 now.. I think one year younger than Dumpling?
    Problem is I don't think he is understanding or grasping fully what he is learning in school. So I am kind of playing catch up to solidify those foundations. I still can't believe that they are learning hanyu pinyin now. I used to do that only in Primary 4! And this CC is not even a branded one.

    1. Tell me about it Ronni! Our kids are being accelerated so much that it is not funny. I think language is important - e.g. being able to read simple words. This is because once they are in P school, everything revolves around being able to read including Math. So it is good that you are to cement those foundation.


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