We are still working our way through The World in Ancient Times series by Oxford Press. Having finished Early Human World, we have moved to The Ancient Near Eastern World. The study of Mesopotamians as they begin to communicate through writing with their clay tokens and envelops, progressing to pictograms, and cuneiform is fascinating. We are using Sculpey for our recreations since it is much less messy than our natural clay. The clay tablet above has Pink Panther's monogram in cuneiform. Write like a Babylonian is a website that will convert your name and initials into a cuneiform monogram. The children then copied their monogram into clay and baked (and since our clay was sculpey, painted). The children found out that the seemingly simple cuneiform is more difficult to produce than it looks, and erasing on clay is easy but not precise.
I've learned many things too. First, I owe Henry Cate an apology. When he responded, in one of my planning entries, that he and his children started reading the Old Testament last year and were now in Kings, I thought (thank goodness I didn't open my big mouth) "They must be piddling around, only 10 books in a year." After two months, we are just finishing Genesis. I am sorry, Henry. I have learned that The Old Testament is dense and if we make it to Kings by next year we will be accomplishing something remarkable.
I have also learned that ancient literature is not devoid of the sexually explicit language and images that we so lament in television and advertisements of today. All literature, including The Old Testament (even if you have read it and think you know it) should be previewed to prepare you for edits or the questions that arise. The Old Testament is replete with incest, giving of slaves for pleasure or reproduction, murder, and surprising intrigue. The unabridged Gilgamesh, which I chose as a audio book for our ballet trips, has at least one "Oops!" section in which I was frantically looking for the mute button. Both of these books, I had read as an adult but not as a parent/educator of young children. There is a difference.
All in all, though we have not gotten to the more popular Ancient Greeks, Romans, Chinese, and Egyptians we are having a great time in history.