Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Fifth Grade: Ancient Civilizations

Buddha chalkboard drawing
O Best Beloved, we have now come to the end of our block on India and Persia. What a fascinating block! I didn't expect it to be quite so enjoyable, but the Boy is truly loving every aspect of our Ancient Civilizations studies. So much so that he was feeling blue about leaving India behind.

The timing was perfect; the stories of India portray a sleepy, warm, imaginative culture. Our springtime temps here have been ridiculously balmy, adding the perfect atmosphere, making our days feel lazy and dreamy. Perfect for stories of mysterious gods and magical jungle creatures.

While reading the stories from Charles Kovac's "Ancient Mythologies" the Boy would beg, "One more story, pleeeassse!" I could've cruised through India in two days, but we paced ourselves. We started with the Mhabhrata (the epic of the Pandu family) and even borrowed a dvd from the library depicting a version of the story, then moved on to a few stories of the Ramayana. Then we delved into the life of Siddartha Gautama, the prince who became Buddha. During this time, he independently read "The Iron Ring," a story about another prince who leaves his throne, for the sake of honor. 

I had a difficult time finding much about Persia in our library system, so it ended up being more of a minor stop, although he did enjoy the Zarathustra story.

Here are some of the resources I used:
For his "reader" I chose The Iron Ring, Alexander Lloyd
For my reader, I chose Buddha : a story of enlightenment, Deepak Chopra, to gain some insight.

Because the Boy likes facts so much, I gathered a few books chock full of data and pictures: 
India, Julie Nelson
The Kingfisher book of the ancient world : from the Ice Age to the fall of Rome, Hazel Mary Martell 
It's disgusting–and we ate it : true food facts from around the world and throughout history!, James Solheim ; illustrated by Eric Brace
Ancient India, Virginia Schomp
Ancient Persia, Neil Bramwell

A nice picture/story book about the Buddha, The Prince who ran away : the story of Guatama Buddha, Anne Rockwell ; illustrated by Fahimeh Amiri

For my own information: Look what we've brought you from India : crafts, games, recipes, stories, and other cultural activities from Indian Americans, Phyllis Shalant

And, O Best Beloved, our favorite, a book on cd for car travel: Just So Stories, Rudyard Kipling

We finished the block by taking a field trip on a gorgeous, sunny Sunday afternoon to Passage to India, an Indian restaurant on the river front in Harrisburg. The Boy was excited to go, but then wasn't too thrilled. I think he decided he's not much for Indian food...although he devoured the caramel custard!

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