Friday, June 28, 2013

India, Hinduism and Buddhism

Our studies on Ancient India were fascinating, and so colorful!

 We learned all about Hinduism,
a religion with over 300 million deities!

Lu takes graphic notes as we read,

and then combines them into a final poster.

As we learned about the Mauryan Empire and Asoka,
we  also learned about Buddhism.

We watched BBC's 6-part The Story of India,
and we did a jump in time and researched the life of Gandhi.

Finally, Lu created a timeline of one thousand years,
through the collapse of the Gupta Empire.

Lu was quite taken with the story of Prince Siddhartha and the idea of enlightenment. One evening, he took the yoga mat into his room, lit a candle and an incense stick, and proceeded to meditate in the cross-legged with elaborate hand position of the Buddha, whose google image he was sitting in front of on his i-pad. It was cute, and weird, and funny all at the same time.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Ancient African Civilizations

We recently completed our studies on Ancient African Civilizations. 

We read about Nubia and the Kingdom of Kush, 

the Axums, the Nok People, the Bantu People, 

and the Kingdoms of Ghana and Mali.

We also watched documentaries from the BBC series
Kingdoms of Africa.

Lu is loving the African folklore.

I even found some in Spanish.
(that's history and bilingual language arts wrapped up in one, score!)

After reading, Lu retells the story to me, 
which is a highlight of my day :)

Here, he is retelling a story from Zambia:

After telling me the story,
 we come up with a synopsis together.

In this story, the synopsis was: 

"A boy saves his sister from being eaten
by her man-lion husband." 

Putting a whole story into one sentence 
is not as easy as it might seem. 

*   *   *   *   *   *

And here's Lu's final timeline for Ancient Africa.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

On Sunny Days

We let our hair hang loose

 and snorkeling becomes

underwater science,

with algae exploration,

and biology can be

chatting with Mr. Tadpole.

On sunny days, there's more time to really look around,

and Lu's been taking some awesome photos of what he's seeing.

Here are a couple he took this week:

playing with reflections on the glass of a window


looking at the sun through sunglasses.

 And then I'm looking at them, thinking:
Wow! Transparency and filters.
 Discovered completely on his own.
We need more sunny days!

On sunny days we go outside,

  and sit on the beach and compare our feet.

Had I mentioned that Lu's been wearing my sneakers?

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Ancient Rome

Having spent two months on Ancient Rome, we are moving on to Ancient African Civilizations. But, as I have done with our other big history projects, I want to share an outline of what we covered. So, here's a summary of our journey through the fascinating history that took us from seven villages on some hills to the birth of the Republic, then through the emperors and on to the collapse of the great Roman Empire.

One of our main resources was this book on Ancient Rome from our collection of Dorling Kindersley's Eyewitness Books.

I got a bunch of these books on different civilizations, and so far Lu's read the ones on Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, and now Rome. The bite-sized chunks of information don't go into great depth, but Lu enjoys reading them. They're packed with beautiful pictures, and definitely help us imagine what life was like then.

This Site: Kids' is our central history resource.
It has many grammatical errors, and some dates were off, but on the whole, it's a very easy-to-read, straightforward world history paper. So, I edited the whole thing - from prehistoric humans to the Industrial Revolution (yes, I'm slightly OCD) - and turned it into a document formatted to our liking (picture size, font size, etc.) so that we wouldn't be dependent on internet signal (which is unreliable here), and to avoid having to look at the ads on the website.

We usually read 4 or 5 picture-full pages, discuss, and write. We're doing so much writing in history that I've decided to skip grammar as a separate class, and just include it in our history sessions. 

The writing consists of formulating questions and answers to what we just read. After coming up with a question, we focus on composing the answer. 

So, we'll usually read a couple paragraphs, discuss, write, continue reading, discuss, write some more, and so forth... 

 We use Wikipedia and other websites, like this one, 
to read more and to cross-reference.

We also do a timeline at the end of almost every lesson.

Here, Lu's making a comparative timeline
between Greece and Rome.

Documentaries, as always, played a huge part in our learning:

History Channel's Engineering an Empire
the Rome and Carthage episodes

Nat Geo's Julius Caesar, The Roman Empire

BBC's The Rise and Fall of Hannibal 


Nat Geo's Jesus, The Man  
(which was accompanied by our studies on Christianity)

Lu created a Word document as his final project.

 Apart from a few minor suggestions,
Lu did this all by himself!