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Archive for January 28th, 2010

This week we learned and experimented with Hieroglyphs (cuneiform and more hands-on projects we’ll get to this weekend). I was kinda looking forward to playing with these ancient forms of writing, but Satori was ecstatic. She has been jumping up and down type of excited since last week (I got her on video yesterday).

I had been researching for over a month on the best tools to learn this, along with the SOTW AG book. My first choice was this Egyptian Symbols Hieroglyphic Stamp Kit. I thought it was just a book, but when we got it, it was actually a wooden box, with these stamps inside it. A small booklet comes with it. The bottom of the box shows where the stamps go back, so Satori has been very good at putting them all back.

Out of all the hieroglyphic goodness out there, why did I choose this? This seems to have the highest quality and largest stamps (some are 1″x1″) of all the kits I had been considering. (Correct me if there is a similar alternative less than $15 out there)!  Here Satori is stamping an “A”. With this kit, she actually memorized about half the alphabet without even trying!

The Egyptians used this picture writing in several ways. Left to right, right to left, top to bottom, and even stacked symbols sometimes. You can tell how to read the writing by looking at the way the animals face – they face the way that you should read the writing. Most of our stamps face left, so you read them as normal, from left to right. Here’s my name “Angela”, surrounded by a cartouche (the oval) which signifies I’m an important person!

We also got this Hieroglyphs book by Joyce Milton. I chose this one because of the stencil included. It was also a bonus that it was colorful and fun and suited for young children!

I knew it would be a hit with Satori. She dropped her stamps and filled in every stencil shape.

Here’s the stencil close up.

And the page that shows the alphabet.

Our Ancient Egypt Start Exploring Treasure Chest also has hieroglyph stamps, but they are much smaller stamps. The bonus to the treasure chest is that you get a piece of papyrus! (And many other cool stuff, more on this later.)

I discovered that the same company also makes a Treasure Chest, but dedicated to hieroglyphs! It’s called Hieroglyphics, which I recently learned should be an adjective, not a noun, but heiroglyphics is listed as both an adjective and a noun in a dictionary. This kit is neat because it gives you modeling clay and a reed stylus to make cuneiform as well! The kit includes a Rosetta Stone poster, game, stickers, of course 27 rubber hieroglyphic stamps, and more.

We chose this picture book – Seeker of Knowledge: The Man Who Deciphered Egyptian Hieroglyphs by James Rumford. Great book for this age group of 4-8! I learned a lot myself, and enjoyed learning more about the Rosetta Stone.

Here’s a sample page:

I was also going to get Fun With Hieroglyphs, but I think we’ll be okay for now. This book actually has the most reviews, so if anyone has it, I’d love to hear how you like it!

I splurged today.

I had recently sold an expensive camera lens (I’ve been busy selling tons of books and photography equipment to help pay for homeschooling stuff), and for months now I’ve been mulling over getting a Discovery Plus Streaming annual subscription. If you live in Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina, you get this for free. But if you’re not that lucky, you can still save 40% by purchasing it through the Homeschool Buyers Co-op.

Here is the main website for this, I do think they have a 30 day trial period:

Discovery Education Streaming Plus

I have heard some great things about this subscription, from great Spanish language lessons to Magic School Bus episodes. I wanted it for the science and history videos. Other people using it touted that it has tons of those, but also you can print off worksheets to go with the videos.

So after asking around to see if this is worth it, I finally took the plunge and purchased it through Homeschool Buyers Co-op. Within minutes, I was able to log-in to the site and watch videos!

Take a look at their 143 page Title List. WOW! Want to know more? Check out this great review that is posted on the Homeschool Buyers Co-op.

We immediately watched some great videos on Ancient Egypt, a story about an egyptian cat, a video on states of matter… Satori and I were enthralled. The advanced search makes it so easy to find what you’re looking for, by age, subject, media type. Some people get this hooked up to their TV, but we’re computer people anyway. When I watch it on Windows Media Player at 700 kbps, the quality is fine for me (to be honest, I was expecting horrible quality).

We’re so excited about this and it is going to be the perfect supplement to much of our curriculum – especially science, history and language!

We also have Netflix, and we do watch their Instant Movies on our TV. But the educational selection is not as vast as Discovery Education Plus.

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On a related note, also earlier today I checked out my local library FREE audio book service, and I’m very psyched about that too! I already checked out Treasure Island, which I’m reading aloud to my family this month. It is hard for me to read, and now I don’t have to!