Tuesday, July 23, 2019

A Huge Booklist for Ancient Civilizations

I'm having a great time planning my August summer camp, the topic of which is Ancient Civilizations.

The last time I taught this camp was over a decade ago, and I used my favorite childhood book, A Child's History of the World by V.M. Hillyer (copyright 1951).

That camp, like this one, was two weeks long. We did the first forty chapters of Hillyer's book (yes, they are short chapters) and over the course of ten days that puts you at four chapters a day. There are 84 chapters in all; we did from the beginning of time to the fall of Rome and the Dark Ages:

  • How Things Started
  • Umfa-Umfa and Itchy-Scratchy
  • Fire! Fire!! Fire!!!
  • From an Airplane
  • Real History Begins
  • The Puzzle-Writers
  • The Tomb-Builders
  • A Rich Land Where There Was No Money
  • The Wandering Jews
  • Fairy-Tale Gods
  • A Fairy-Tale War
  • The Kings of the Jews
  • The People Who Made Our A B C's
  • Hard as Nails
  • The Crown of Leaves
  • A Bad Beginning
  • Kings with Corkscrew Curls
  • A City of Wonder and Wickedness
  • A Surprise Party
  • The Other Side of the World
  • Rich Man, Poor Man
  • Rome Kicks Out Her Kings
  • Greece vs. Persia
  • Fighting Mad
  • One against a Thousand
  • The Golden Age
  • When Greek Meets Greek
  • Wise Men and Otherwise
  • A Boy King
  • Picking a Fight
  • The Boot Kicks and Stamps
  • The New Champion of the World
  • The Noblest Roman of Them All
  • An Emperor Who Was Made a God!
  • "Thine Is the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory"
  • Blood and Thunder
  • A Good Emperor and a Bad Son
  • I- H-- S---- V-----
  • Our Tough Ancestors
  • White Toughs and Yellow Toughs Meet the Champions of the World

Although I absolutely love his style of writing, I wanted to choose a different text this time around. Hillyer's book only briefly touches on Mythology, and I wanted that to be a big part of what we explored in this camp. In Waldorf education, the development of these civilizations is supposed to mirror the internal development of the child, so they are done in a particular order and children gradually transition from Fairy Tales to Fables & Legends to Mythology to true History.

This year I chose Stories of the Ancient Peoples: A Primary History by Henry Smith Chapman (copyright 1929) because it also takes us on the path from mythology into true history. It took me a bit to get used to it but now I like the way the book unfolds. We will begin by making a timeline and adding to it throughout the two weeks (and he also has a timeline at the start of his book on page viii). He also has comprehension questions and suggested activities and further background reading for the teacher at the end of each chapter, so it's a nice little volume for the homeschooling family.

The table of contents for Stories of the Ancient Peoples is as follows (we will read the whole book, with the exception of Norse Mythology where I will substitute the India and Persian mythology from Kovacs):

  • The Greek Myths
  • The Great Gods
  • The Greek Heroes
  • The Trojan War
  • The Wandering of Ulysses
  • The Norse Myths
  • How Men Got Fire, Food, and Clothing
  • Men Build Houses and Learn to Write
  • Man Learns How to Live in Groups
  • The Story of Egypt
  • The Story of Egypt (continued)
  • The Land of the Two Rivers
  • Hebrews and Phoenicians
  • The Story of Greece
  • What Life in Greece Was Like
  • Rome, Mistress of the World
  • What We Owe to Rome

So, here I am working on figuring out exactly what our activities will be each morning and afternoon. Of course I will share all of my notes as to what we actually do! I have an enormous pile of Ancient Civilizations related stuff which I've been dragging around with me as we travel for the past month so that I can lesson plan. In a Waldorf classroom, these civilizations would be covered in much more depth over the course of several years, so there's a lot of possible content and thus a lot of possible books. But, you know, I didn't want to leave any at home! Here are the books I have for this topic:

General Resources - Multiple Civilizations

Historical Fiction Read Alouds

Ancient Mesopotamia

Ancient Egypt

Ancient Greece

Ancient Rome

If you have some favorites to recommend, please share them and I'd be happy to update this list! Of course there are other places in the world that had Ancient Civilizations; these are the ones most commonly done in Waldorf schools but I'd love to have resources for other parts of the world as well.

I would also strongly suggest checking out the Sonlight booklists for this (or any other) period of time. Their mail order catalogues are wonderful reads and a great place for inspiration!

This post contains affiliate links to materials I truly use for homeschooling. Qualifying purchases provide me with revenue. Thank you for your support!