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Category: Ancients

One of Story of the World’s most famous activities is “Mummifying a Chicken”. My local homeschoolers have dubbed the project “6 Weeks and a Chicken”. I think I’ve dreaded this for almost a year, as we are vegetarians and even if we weren’t, I don’t think I could handle a dead chicken carcass in the house with 3 cats for 6 weeks.

Instead we got the Lift the Lid on Mummies project. It comes with everything we need to prepare a body for mummification, but without an actual dead thing. 🙂 We get the body, organs, wrappings, canopic jars, death mask, sarcophagus and more.

To proceed, Satori carefully cut open the body to obtain the organs. (She simply lifted the top half of the body and inside were his organs).

The buzzword for the week for Satori is “canopic jar”. (She’s fascinated with these things and includes them in her daily drawings even). These little jars have the head of an Egyptian god and store the mummy’s organs.  We had to build the jar bodies, they are glossy paper rolled up and taped. (They suggest to glue it, but my glue wasn’t holding on the glossy paper, but tape worked perfect). Here is Hapi will be storing the lungs.

Next, we wrapped up the mummy with the bandages. I wish they would have included a teeny bit longer length of wrappings, but with care, we managed to wrap his whole body.

Satori carefully placed the amulets provided (turquoise-colored stickers) between the wrappings.

We carefully placed the death mask on the mummy head and placed him in his sarcaphagus with his cat mummy and canopic jars. Satori is holding up the prayer we read before sealing the coffin with the sticker.

We were both a bit wistful as we sealed his tomb. The mummy was so cool to play with, even some other five year old girls from the neighborhood enjoyed playing with him. I’m sure it won’t be long before a tomb robber discovers the tomb and opens up the coffin…

The Lift the Lid on Mummies project was well worth the investment. Also included was a very informative booklet that talked all about mummies!

Immediately after the above mummification, we set out Mummifying an Apple. This was not a SOTW Activity Project, but is a popular way to mummify a living thing. By just googling “mummify apple”, there are several descriptions of the process.

This was one way to experience the preservation process and see some results! Here I took an apple and cut two slices out of its middle.

After Satori scooped out its “organs” (apple seeds), we soaked it for a few minutes in a salt bath.

Oops, maybe I shouldn’t have given it a bath, as we then weighed the slice we were going to mummify. I’m sure extra moisture was weighed in. 🙂

Satori then got some math practice in as she measured half a cup of baking soda and half a cup of salt. After mixing it, we completely covered our special apple slice.

Day one. Mummified apple is covered in salts, we will take a look at both in one week!

Following the suggested activities in our Story of the World 1 Activity Guide, we gathered our little family once again on a Sunday night to do a family craft.

Satori already proved that she loved studying hieroglyphs, today she even tested me (and I failed) on my hieroglyph letters. She knows almost all of them (that stand for actual letters). Little kids have such great memories! Our first project was an Egyptian Hieroglyph Scroll. Without the guidance of our rubber stampers or stencils, and using just brush and paint (we should’ve used ink as suggested), it was tough! Satori gave up on her name and just drew random hieroglyphs.

While we let the hieroglyph paintings dry, we started with our clay and wedge stick to punch in some cuneiform!


We used 3 different clay types. The above chunk of clay was ideal, it came out of our Egyptian Hieroglyph Treasure Chest, along with the cuneiform stylus. But we only had one chunk, so we had to use others. Our Crayola Air Dray Clay was too hard and crumbly. (Maybe would have been fine if it was newly opened.) The Crayola Model Magic was easiest to work with, but it was too spongy and wouldn’t hold our markings well.

Then we set these out to dry overnight. I love the terracotta one, that was Satori’s. She added vertical lines and it really looks like a slab of ancient writing!

Back to our Hieroglyph scrolls, we attached two wooden dowels at the ends and rolled it up and tied with twine. They look so cool!

The scrolls have a nice crinkly, ancient parchment feel and are fun to unroll/roll up. 🙂 Satori now wishes she would have taken better care with her hieroglyph painting and wrote her real name. I told her we can do it again.

A few more Egyptian projects we tackled over the weekend… making a necklace:

This was from our Ancient Egypt: Start Exploring Treasure Chest.

Here’s another look at our Egyptian Nile Grass, growing nicely. We started this a week and a half ago. The river is going through a drought right now. 🙂

Mom also made this Egyptian dress, I found a quick no-sew project in one of our Egypt craft books.

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 have a feeling Story of the World is going to dominate this blog! I’m trying to figure out how to best organize these posts so that I can easily display them in order by lesson. I’ve added a new Menu to the top to find all posts relating to SOTW 1, as well as a “tag” to find the individual lessons. The tag for this post is “sotw1-2”, which means its from SOTW Book 1 (Ancients), Chapter 2. Then I’ll whip up a page that lists all the SOTW chapters with links to the blog posts. Yes, that is what I will do..

With that aside, we have learned about the gods of Ancient Egypt. A few weeks earlier, I had purchased this Ancient Egypt Toob that had several of the most famous Egyptian gods in it, as well as famous symbols of Egypt. We also got a few separately, the tall Bastet goddess being one of them. Not shown are Horus, Thoth and Amun, but they dont’ stand very well and Thoth (pronounced like “both”) plummeted off the loft banister to shatter on our floor. 🙁 I’m hoping these are good investments though as Safari isn’t making some of the models anymore.

Isis is Satori’s favorite, and we have quite a few books that tell these stories.

  • Egyptian Gods and Goddesses by Henry Barker – one of the SOTW recommended books. Satori should be able to read this book soon by herself. But since we’re not quite at that level, I read it as a quick read-aloud.
  • Tales of Ancient Egypt by Roger Lancelyn Green – definitely a read-aloud chapter book. Goes into detail some of the Egyptian myths, one being the story Story of the World covered about Osiris and Set. We’ve only read the first 3 of the total of 20 tales. Parental judgement should be used if reading some of these stories, and some of them might be too long for a young child not used to longer read-aloud stories. Satori is enthralled with all things Egypt, and so far she enjoys me reading this to her.
  • Marduk the Mighty by Andrew Matthews – this one is recommended often in homeschooling circles, so we’ve had this for almost a year now. First time we read it though! There are at least two Egyptian stories on creation.
  • The Star-Bearer: A Creation Myth from Ancient Egypt by Dianne Hofmeyr – I had to snag this one used off Amazon Marketplace, it’s no longer in print. I couldn’t resist the beautiful picture book though, and we learned about some of the lesser known gods – Geb and Nut (pronounced Noot).

I discovered the fun world of the Running Press Treasure Chests, and this was our very first one – Ancient Egypt: Start Exploring. It took me a few minutes to figure out how to open the lock without the key. (HINT: Press  hard down on the protruding piece.)

Here it is opened, with the secret compartment slid out. It comes with a small hieroglyph stamp set, a kit to make your own Egyptian necklace, actual papyrus (which is why I wanted this), a booklet, games, stickers, and posters.

We got a cute little poster describing some of the Egyptian gods and goddesses.

SOTW Chapter 2 introduces us to the Egyptians, and the first reading covers the Nile River. We made the Nile River last week and it has started sprouting its “river reeds” yesterday! Here is how they are coming along today:

The “reeds” are actually from Cat Grass seeds, which is the only type of grass I could find the other day. Maybe it will be a treat for our 3 cats when we’re done! They are all reaching one way towards the sun.

Last week we covered our second chapter using Story of the World (the first week was Chapter 0), and we got our first mapwork assignment. To be honest, I didn’t think Satori would take any interest in the map, so I didn’t really have her do the mapwork assignment. (I should have learned by now not to underestimate her.) We read our stories, I quickly showed her a map of the lesson, and then I turned away to work on my computer. I distractedly heard something along the lines of “I’m drawing maps!” but I gave some lame response like “That’s nice dear.”

Ten minutes later, Satori ran up to me excitedly and showed me a piece of paper. It was the map of Egypt and the Nile! She pointed out her delta, the Nile, the Red Sea, and the compass rose (which wasn’t even on the map I showed her).

Satori Says: Look Mom, I even wrote the Mediterranean Sea, but I ran out of space, so just wrote Medi! Ha ha!

As I sat there with my jaw open, she ran down to Daddy’s office and told him all about King Narmer and the Red and White Crown Kings and their battle and that King Narmer won. Daddy was pretty impressed and came upstairs to the Learning Loft to hang out with us then.

I then glanced at the floor and saw several other maps.

As I’m posting this to my blog tonight, I asked Satori what the two dots on these maps were, as I couldn’t see any cities on our map.

Satori Says: That’s where the Red and White Crown Kings lived, and only the White King has a crown now because he defeated the Red Crown King and he pronounced that he was the King of all Egypt!

She said ” pronounced”. She loves to use big words now, and I wonder if that was the word SOTW used. Coincidentally, that was part of the SOWT mapwork lesson, to add the crowns on the map, but she did it without even knowing…

Here is the SOTW Activity Guide pages that were part of this lesson. We are seeing shadufs everywhere now. Granted, we are watching videos on Egypt this week.

I also have the History Odyssey eBook for Ancients. I am going to attempt to mesh together History Odyssey and SOTW to get the best experience out of both. (And maybe Myths, Maps, and Marvels.) They are very similar, but cover topics in a different chronological order. History Odyssey covers the SOTW chapters, so hopefully it won’t be too much of a challenge to combine the best of both… We have the History Odyssey (I may now refer to this as HO) recommended spines and resources ready to go. Browsing through the eBook, they have some wonderful activity suggestions, some of which we already have lined up, such as books, videos, and other activities.

History Odyssey (HO) offers a map too:

And for anyone curious about the Knowledge Quest maps, we got their new Map Trek: Ancient World. When they first launched this new product, we got a deal, but it is now only $14.95 and I love the beautifully colored maps. There are also blank outline maps for the student. Included are lesson plans, glossary, and more – 89 pages in all. We got the download, so I can print these out anytime and can use with future children. This is not a secular product, there are some maps some people may not be able to use, but I think it’s worth it anyway. Here’s a sample:

And the blank outline student map:

So now you will understand why I vote that it is okay to start SOTW with a kindergartner if they are ready for history. 🙂 The majority of homeschoolers will wait for this until first grade. Every day and night she tells me she loves studying history. She says she is “eager” to learn more and more! She can’t wait to learn more about the Egyptians, China, India, and the Medieval Times. I hope she has fun learning everything in between as well.

Satori has been so excited to start learning about the Egyptians. Everyday she says she is so eager to learn all about Egypt. (“Eager” being one of her recent vocabulary words.) One of the first things we learned about Egypt was the Nile River, the longest river in the world at 4184 miles long. Today we made the Nile River ourselves!

The Nile River played an important role in Egyptian civilization from ancient times through today. To simulate the river, we placed soil down, and excavated a line down the middle, and a wide spot at one end for the Nile Delta. We planted grass seeds along the banks.

After placing little stones down to weigh down our aluminum foil, Satori started filling the  Nile with water.

Every spring the Nile floods and overflows its banks, which is exactly what happened on our Nile! The Nile floods, leaving rich, fertile, black soil that supports Egypt. The ancient Egyptians called the river Ar, meaning “black” due to this black sediment it leaves behind after the floods.

It wouldn’t be a Nile river without the Nile crocodile! This animal is very dangerous and eats more people than all other African animals combined (we learned this fact from the movie below). The Nile also hosts hippopotamus, so we also added a little hippo to our river. We didn’t forget a camel! I sprinkled some sand on the edges of our Nile model, to show that the desert is not far from the river.

To familiarize ourselves with the Nile River, we viewed/read the following, after reading SOTW’s chapter about “Egyptians Lived on the Nile River”.

Google Earth – Pulled up the Nile river and Egypt. Saw immediately the rich green lands along the Nile and the delta area.

Mystery of the Nile IMAX movie – a team navigates the Nile from its source in Lake Tana in Ethiopia all the way to the Mediterranean sea. We witnessed 114 days battling rapids, avoiding crocodiles, hippos and bandits, and experiencing culture and history. We actually viewed this on via our Netflix Instant Queue.

Bill and Pete Go Down the Nile by Tomie dePaola – an endearing book about a crocodile and his toothbrush who travel down the Nile. We read this right before Satori’s dentist appointment with the cosmetic dentist, this dentist got a kick out of Bill the Crocodile and his toothbrush friend Pete. The primary goal of Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Zahid Ahmed at Six-Month Smiles is to provide his patients with exceptional dental care by creating lasting relationships based on trust and expertise in Oakland CA.

We will take another picture in a week to see if any of our seeds have sprouted! The directions said they would germinate in a week or two.