Fun With Ancient History

 Fun with Ancient History!

Fun with Ancient History!

We are on our 6th week with The Precious People and having so much fun. In all honesty, ancient history is not my favorite thing to teach. Many of the stories are so heavy, and it is so long ago that it can be hard for us modern families to find a connection point with ancient people. We’ve solved this problem in part by starting the year with a reading of The All Of A Kind Family, which ties the life of a 1900’s era Jewish family to stories from ancient history that relate to Jewish holy days and Ancient Egypt.

With the sweet stories and projects that I included in The Precious People, this time period is coming to life in new ways. We celebrated Rosh Hashanah with goal setting and sweet food, made mini sukkahs from graham crackers for our harvest themed celebration of Succoth, and then, for the first time in my 22 years of homeschooling, made sugar cube pyramids as we studied Ancient Egypt (I promptly threw the extra sugar cubes in a bird bath and watered them down so that children wouldn’t be tempted to eat them. I’m hoping sugar is good for birds and bees.)

I especially love the projects included in The Precious People. Projects are an amazing way to promote STEAM learning in our homes, and as we made small buckets from clay and set up a model of a shadduff, we were learning about simple machines, while being amazed at how hard it was for ancient people to irrigate a field.

Each parent guide from The Peaceful Press has a similar focus, and as we learn through great stories and projects, a much deeper intellect is formed in our children. When learning is literature based, hands on, and multi-sensory, skills are built that will enable your child to excel in many areas of life.

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A Few Favorite Stories For Getting Started With Ancient History

National Geographic Readers; Pyramids by Laura Marsh

Hands On History! Ancient Egypt by Philip Steele

The Egyptian Cinderella by Shirley Climo

All of a Kind Family by Sydney Taylor

On Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur by Cathy Goldberg Fishman

Galen and the Gateway to Medicine by Jeanne Bendick

The Golden Goblet by Eloise Jarvis McGraw

We will also be studying papyrus and making paper in the next few weeks, so we ordered this deckle to help with that project.

Economy Deckle

We will also be working on building this Roman Villa as we start studying Ancient Rome.

While studying the ancients might not be quite as engrossing as learning about American history with The Playful Pioneers last year, we are making the most of it with The Precious People.

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I hope you enjoy these resources as much as our family has!

-Jennifer Pepito

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Happy Birthday World-Rosh Hashanah Activities for Children

 Rosh Hashanah Activities for Children

Rosh Hashanah Activities for Children

Our newest curriculum, The Precious People, includes celebrations of several ancient feast days to bring what we are learning to life through food and fun. Enjoy this guest post about one of these festivals.

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Rosh HaShanah is the Jewish New Year. It is the first in a series of holidays that mark the fall feasts. Rosh HaShanah are Hebrew words that mean “beginning of the year”. It falls on the first day of the month Tishri in the lunar based Hebrew calendar.

The month before Rosh HaShanah, the month of Elul, is a time of preparation. The Jewish person looks deep inside his soul, at all the actions he has done over the past year; of all the words he has spoken. Were they loving and good? Where is there room for improvement? How has he behaved before G-d and before his fellow man? Has he or she been generous, patient, kind and forgiving? It is a time of repentance and cleansing or purification, not just internally, but externally. The home is made spic and span; new clothes are bought; special foods prepared for the feasts that lie ahead. Each day in the morning, the shofar, or ram's horn is blown. Its loud booming sound is supposed to wake up the sleeping soul. “Get ready! Get ready to stand before the Lord!!”

Rosh HaShanah begins the period known as the Ten Days of Awe or Days of Repentance between the New Year and the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur. Jewish people throughout the world celebrate Rosh HaShanah. In America, it is customary to send New Year cards to friends and family. The greetings read “L'Shannah tovah tickateyvu!” which means “May you be inscribed for a good year!” It is a family time; a time not only to attend synagogue, but to enjoy a big meal with family and friends. In Israel, it is a time of gift giving – usually something for the home, such as flowers or sweet foods.

Many families celebrate the holiday with a seder, a ritual meal with special foods, prayers and blessings to bring in the New Year. At the beginning of the meal, at sunset, the women of the home light two candles and say a blessing. It is a way of sanctifying, or making holy this time. A special prayer is recited by all, thanking G-d for preserving us and bringing us to this holy time. The father sings the blessing over the wine; the hands are washed with accompanying blessings, and then there is the blessing over the bread.

On the Sabbath day, there are two loves of freshly baked challah, a light and sweet egg bread that has been braided into three parts. On Rosh HaShanah, the challah is round in a crownlike spiral. This represents the cycle of the year as well as the fact that G-d is the King. At the meal, it is customary to eat sweet foods, most notably apples dipped in honey for a sweet year. The apples are raised up, and all present at the table say to each other; “May it be thy will, O Lord, to grant us a sweet and happy year.”

At Synagogue many prayers are said: prayers of repentance; prayers for forgiveness and mercy; prayers of thanks for the past year; and prayers for a good year. Besides the many prayers, the Torah (the first five books of the Scriptures) is chanted in Hebrew from a handwritten scroll. If the New Year does not fall on a Sabbath, the ram's horn, the shofar, is blown (blowing the shofar is extremely hard work, so if it is Shabbat or Sabbath, no work can be done). It reminds the Jewish people of the shofar blasts as Moses received the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai. In the afternoon, many Jews gather near a flowing body of water for the tashlikh, or “you will cast” service. Often crumbs are carried in the pockets, symbols of broken promises, sins, bad attitudes, which are thrown into the water as a symbol “to cast all sins into the depths of the sea.”

For the Jews of Israel most holidays only last one day, but outside of the land of Israel, holidays are celebrated for two days. Because Jewish time is marked from the beginning of the creation of the world, Rosh HaShanah, 2018 is actually the beginning of the year 5779.

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Rosh HaShanah Seder

Items needed:
2 white candles (or pure beeswax candles)
1 cup/glass red wine or grape juice
1 round challah bread
1 large round plate containing the following items

*a pomegranate

dates

apple slices

honey

(some seder customs add other foods and blessings as well)

Order (seder) of Blessings: (in English)

Blessing over candle lighting:
Blessed are You, O Lord, our G-d, King of the universe, who sanctifies us by His commandments and ordains us to light the Holy Day lights. Amen.

Thanks for the season:
Blessed are You, O Lord, our G-d,
king of the universe, who has kept us in life and sustained us and enabled us to reach this season. Amen.

Blessing over wine (or grape juice):
Blessed are You, O Lord, our G-d, King of the universe, who gives us the fruit of the vine. Amen.

Blessing before hand washing:
Blessed are You O Lord, our G-d, King of the universe who ordains us to wash . our hands... forgive me my sins and wash away my iniquities. Amen.

Blessing over bread:
Blessed are You, O Lord, our G-d, who brings forth bread from the earth. Amen.

Raise the pomegranate and say: May it be G-d's will that our lives may be as full of good deeds as the pomegranate is with seeds. All respond: AMEN!!! 

Raise the dates and say: May it be Your will, O Lord, that we would have a year of peace. All say: AMEN!!!

Dip the apple slices (or challah) into the honey. Distribute and say:
May you renew us for a good year, a happy year, a healthy hear, a holy year, and may we all be inscribed in the Book of Life. All say: Amen!!!

Say all together: Let the old year end with all its problems. Let the new year begin with all its blessings! AMEN!!!


Many learning activities can be inspired by the celebration.

Apple Activities:

Cut apples in half, dip in paint, and use as stamps on card stock.

Make the apple stamp cards into greeting cards for family and friends.

Apple Themed Picture Books

Apple Cider Making Days by Ann Purmell
The Apple Pie Tree by Zoe Hall
The Seasons of Arnold's Apple Tree by Gail Gibbons

Honeybees and Honey Projects:

A great way to start the school year is to study about bees and honey. It is customary in the Jewish religion to start the first day of a child's formal schooling with a spoonful of honey. This represents the sweetness of learning.

There are many books for children about the life cycle of the bee; the many products bees produce; and great crafts as well:

Make rolled beeswax candles

Buy honey-sticks in different flavors. Tie up a bunch with twisted yellow and black pipe-cleaners to give as New Year treats to family and friends.

Children's Books About Bees:

The Honey Makers by Gail Gibbons

The Beautiful Bee Book by Susan Unstead

Bees: A Honeyed History by Piotr Socha

To introduce young listeners to classical music, listen to The Flight of the Bumblebee by Rimsky-Korsakov.

One of my favorite bee resources is from Israel. Search for Dvorat HaTavor. Scroll down to the English setting and watch a great video on beekeeping from Biblical times to modern day. 

 Photo by Lisa Wilkinson

Photo by Lisa Wilkinson

Rosh HaShanah Books

Celebrate Rosh HaShannah by Deborah Heiligman  


The Days Between: Blessings, Poems and Directions of the Heart for the Jewish High Holiday Season by Marcia Falk  


Your Guide to the Jewish Holidays by Matt Axelrod 

Recipe for Rosh HaShanah 

APPLE HONEY CAKE (Vegetarian) 8 servings

I absolutely love this recipe for Rosh HaShannah and Shabbat! First of all, it tastes amazing and looks like it was topped with crème brulee. It looks so elegant and fancy, like you've been to Master Baker classes, but it's deceptively simple and quick. Also, if you adhere to the Jewish dietary laws of Kashrut, and cannot mix meat with dairy at the same meal, this is pareveh, or neutral, meaning it can be served at any meal. Lastly, because it's a tradition to use apples and honey as a symbol of a sweet new year, this is a perfect recipe. As an added bonus, it also uses four of the “seven species” grown naturally in Israel listed in Deuteronomy 8:8 – wheat, olive(oil), date(honey), and fig. I serve it all year long.

INGREDIENTS:

2 red apples, peeled and sliced
2 green apples, peeled and sliced
4 large eggs
2/3 cup pure honey or silan (date honey)
5 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1⁄4 tsp salt
5 Tbsp granulated sugar
5 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 fresh figs (Mission), quartered for optional decoration

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 (180C). Grease or line (I do both) an 8 inch (20cm) round nonstick baking pan with parchment/baking paper. Line the bottom of the pan with all of the apple slices to form concentric rings - there should be a lot of apples on the bottom, looking like a sunflower. In medium sized bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, olive oil and two of the eggs. Blend until just smooth (I do this by hand). Pour all of the batter over top of the apples. Bake for 20 minutes.

Take the pan out of the oven. Increase temperature to 400 (200C) degrees. In separate small bowl, whisk together the remaining 2 eggs and the honey (or silan). Pour the mixture over the cake and return to the oven for another 15-20 minutes, until the top looks golden brown like a crème brulee and toothpick comes out clean. Arrange fig slices in four clumps towards outer edges. Delicious eaten warm or cold.

Written by Tamar Dunbar Karmi’el, Galilee

Israel 2018/5778

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Enjoy our free parent guides, activities and books lists:

The Precious People Book List

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The Scope of The Precious People

Week 1-The Beginning of Recorded History

Creation by Cynthia Rylant

Who Eats What by Patricia Lauber

2-Ancient Holidays, Mesopotamia, Animal Classification

Celebrate Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur by Deborah Heiligman

The Story of Esther: A Purim Tale by Eric Kimmel

Let’s Classify Animals by Kelli Hicks

Week 3-Family Rules and Rhythms, Pyramids, Mammals

On Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur by Cathy Goldberg Fishman

National Geographic Readers: Pyramids (Level 1) by Laura Marsh

Week 4-Harvest Festival, First Farmers, World Geography

On Sukkot and Simchat Torah by Cathy Goldberg Fishman

Week 5-More Ancient Holidays, Ancient Egypt, Hemispheres, 

The Story of Hannukkah by David Adler

Week 6-Ancient Egypt, Pharaohs, Pyramids, Foods

Week 7-Ancient Egypt,The Exodus, Hieroglyphs

The Longest Night by Laurel Snyder and Catia Chien

The Egyptian Cinderella by Shirley Climo

Week 8-Ancient Egypt, Human Anatomy, Medicine

My Body by Patty Carratello

Week 9-Famous People of Ancient Greece, Heart Health

Week 10-Greek Alphabet, Politics in Ancient Greece, Greek Feast

Week 11-Hanging Gardens of Babylon, Olympic Games, Greek Myths

Week 12-Hanukkah,The Roman Empire, Home Life in Ancient Rome, 

The Story of Hanukkah by David Adler

Week 13-Art and Industry in Ancient Rome

Week 14-Christmas Festivities

The Friendly Beasts by Tomie de Paola

The Little Drummer Boy by Ezra Jack Keats

The Christmas Story by Jane Werner Watson

Room For A Little One by Martin Waddell

Week 15-Goal Setting, Months of the Year, Imaginary Animals, Birds

Brother William’s Year by Jan Pancheri

Around The Year by Elsa Beskow

Week 16-World Geography, Countries and Cultures, Transportation

If I Built a Car by Chris Van Dusen

Week 17-Weather,Israel, Poetry

National Geographic Readers:Weather by Kristin Baird Rattini

Week 18-Korea, Seeds, Map Asia

A Seed is Sleepy by Dianna Hutts Aston

Week 19-Japan, Geology, Cartoon

A Rock is Lively by Dianna Hutts Aston

Drawing From Memory by Allen Say

Week 20-Haiku, Map China

Hi Koo!: A Year of Seasons by Jon J. Muth

The Story About Ping by Marjorie Flack

Week 21-Latin America, Rainforests, Spanish Language

The Rainforest Grew All Around by Susan K. Mitchell

Week 22-Latin America, The Andes, The Periodic Table

Up and Down The Andes by Laurie Krebs

The Periodic Table by Sean Callery and Miranda Smith

Week 23-Africa, The Periodic Table

One Hen by Katie Smith Milway

Week 24-The Middle East, North Africa, Continents

Deep In The Sahara by Kelly Cunnane

Week 25-North Africa, St. Augustine of Hippo, The Apostle's Creed

Week 26-St. Patrick, Bees, Gardens

St. Patrick by Tomie DePaola  

The Saint and His Bees by Dessi Jackson

Week 27-St. Francis, Italy, Wolves

Francis, The Poor Man of Assisi by Tomie De Paola

Week 28-St. Elizabeth, Butterflies, Europe

Roses in Snow by Dessi Jackson

Week 29-Passover, Food Allergies

The Longest Night by Laurel Snyder

My First Passover by Tomie de Paola

Week 30-India, Country Report, Trees, Nests

Finders Keepers by Robert Arnett

An Egg is Quiet by Dianna Hutts Aston

The Gift of the Tree by Alvin Tresselt


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A few notes about the book list

You will need the read aloud selections, but many are available at the library.

For the remainder of the books, you could find them at the library, on YouTube, or substitute for a title with a similar theme. I feel it is worth owning many of them, but I also understand that we are all working on a different budget, and I tried to keep the book list as simple as possible.

A study of ancient history will naturally contain some graphic material and nudity. I did my best to choose books that minimized the intensity of this and kept a lighter spin on ancient history, but please glance through the books for yourself before handing them to your children.

Ancient history studies also cover a wide variety of religious perspectives. While I am an Apostle's Creed confessing, non-denominational believer, I feel that studying the beliefs of other people of the book, such as Jews and Catholics can enhance our own understanding of God. I hope that both Jewish and Catholic families can feel at home with this curriculum. In fact, several weeks of the curriculum focus on Jewish feast days. The Jewish culture has outlasted most other cultures that shaped the ancient world, and learning from them can help us shape our families to be influential in our own era.

With that being said, there are many other religions represented in a study of ancient history. A few of the weekly picture books will represent these other religious viewpoints, so that whatever your perspective is, you can learn to understand the people who inhabit our world.

"Seek first to understand before you seek to be understood."

-Stephen Covey

I hope that however you believe, your family can sense the love in these pages, and can create beautiful connection with your family as you learn about the ancient world and other cultures together.

See this for more information about The Precious People and its contents. We are excited about this year of learning, and all the new experiences and ideas that it will inspire. Please share your learning experiences with the hashtag #thepreciouspeople

Click here to purchase your copy of The Precious People

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Learning About Saint Patrick

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We've always enjoyed celebrations of St. Patrick's Day as a family. When my children were very young, a sweet neighbor invited us over for a festive St Patty's Day celebration complete with the best of green food and Guinness, and we were hooked on the whimsy of the day. 

As our family has gone through a rotation of history studies through the years, we have come to see what a big impact Saint Patrick had on the world. Some might even say that he helped save civilization.

One of our favorite books to introduce young children to St. Patrick is a classic by Tomie de Paola. His lighthearted illustrations gently introduce children to a man who we can learn much from today. The trajectory of his life, first a long period of contemplation, followed by a period of study, which preceded a life of great impact, can give us and our children clues to living a meaningful and visionary life.

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Even a reading of his prayer is instructive, living in a dangerous time, he invoked a prayer of protection over every aspect of his life, a prayer which still speaks to us today.

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,

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We still make a nitrate free version of corned beef and cabbage, gather shamrock bouquets, and celebrate Ireland, but our celebrations now are deeper, knowing that Saint Patrick faced death ad danger to bring hope to Ireland.

Favorite Saint Patrick's Day Resource

The Precious People Your go to for giving your 5-12 year old students a gentle, holistic education. The guide will lead you through daily readings designed to introduce your child to ancient history through the early middle ages, as well as jumping into studies of non-western cultures through engaging literature and projects.

The Peaceful Press Saints Cards Biographical sketches of the lives of 30 saints accompanied by beautiful art prints. Print, cut and laminate for a morning time resource, art memo game, or prompt for written work about saints.

Patrick:Patron Saint of Ireland by Tomie De Paola A fabulous children's version of his story.

How We Celebrated Last Year

Do you want to fill your home with meaningful learning centered around books? Check out The Peaceful Preschool and The Playful Pioneers. These project and literature based parent guides provide a school year full of delightful experiences and deeper exploration into books.

Introducing The Precious People

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I'm so excited to introduce the newest member of The Peaceful Press curriculum family. This new 30 week curriculum will have a similar flow as The Playful PIoneers, but with The Precious People, we are taking a trip back in time, to the beginning of recorded history. Through Bible stories, historical fiction, nonfiction, and source quotes we will take a look at how ancient people lived, and through experiencing a few of the Jewish feasts, even how they celebrated. While the study of ancient history can sometimes be heavy for young children, we are working to keep it a little lighter with the book selections, while still providing an extensive independent reading list for parents and older learners.

While our other curriculum has been especially focused on learning we are loved, and learning to love learning, this study offers a sweet chance to add some character studies, through the lives of saints, Bible characters, and everyday people, as well as a weekly Aesop's Fable. While love is the principle thing, healthy habits make learning more peaceful and this curriculum offers projects and prompts to work towards healthy habits, while still promoting loving relationships.

As with The Playful Pioneers, you will find student sheets in print and cursive, illustrated copy work, art, history, science, timeline work, geography, practical skills, recipes, and more, making this a nearly complete curriculum. Just add math and phonics, grammar, or spelling.

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The Precious People includes read aloud suggestions, copy work sheets, practical life skills, scripture readings, source quotes, science activities and more. We hope that this study doesn't just make you love learning more, but that it helps your family love more.

Click here to purchase your copy of The Precious People!

Easy Saint Patrick's Day

It has been a very busy week here. I am sending lessons for to the designer, and recording podcasts for Wild and Free bundles, so my homeschool creativity zone is not getting all the attention that I would wish.

I knew St Patrick's Day was coming and made sure to buy a corned beef for our yearly corned beef and cabbage meal, but totally forgot to rent any seasonal books from the library. 

 In a monk's cell at Sauls Church, the first church in Ireland.

In a monk's cell at Sauls Church, the first church in Ireland.

Even though I hadn't done a fabulous job of planning ahead, we had been in Ireland while traveling this last December, and had crawled into an actual monk's cell that St Patrick might have prayed in, and visited the first church that he ministered at. My kids had a pretty good grasp on who the holiday was about. I just wanted a few activities that we could do to refresh their memory.

After I asked them what they remembered about St. Patrick (which was surprisingly extensive considering it had been a year since we'd done any formal study) we watched a few YouTube videos about the saint.

Next, I sent my children out to collect a shamrock bouquet, while I threw the corned beef and potatoes in the crock pot. Once they came back with some clover, we painted a watercolor version, and labeled it with a short narration.

We love celebrating holidays here, and as often as possible we make our learning fun and engaging by involving projects. Sometimes the projects are simple, such as the shamrock painting, and other times they are more involved, but projects are a great way to connect with your children, and develop many skills.

Update! This year (2018) we have a new resource for celebrating St. Patrick's Day, along with four other saints of the early church. It is an excerpt of The Precious People curriculum, which will be available summer 2018. You can get the Saints Cards here.

To purchase the CurriculumPicture Word Cards, or even grab some of our freebies, click here.

For a complete list of picture books used for The Peaceful Preschool, click here.