Books Homeschooling

Favorite resources for ancient Greece

We enjoyed studying Ancient Greece so much and I thought it would be helpful to have a compilation of all of the wonderful books we used during this block. I covered Ancient Greek in a six-week block, with three weeks focused exclusively on Greek myths and the next three weeks focused on history. There are some Waldorf folks who say we should only study ancient myths in fifth grade and not study actual history until after the child turns 12, but – for our family – studying ancient history has been a fabulous match for our 11-year-old child.

Myths

The primary source I used for the Greek myths was D’Aulaires Book of Greek Myths. I used their Norse Myths book and was very happy with it, so it made sense to continue with this one. The illustrations are fabulous and great inspiration for main lesson book drawings. If your child is familiar with Greek Myths from a compilation for children (as my child was) I think you’ll find these versions to be much meatier and complex.

Black Ships Before Troy – This book is a retelling of the Iliad by Rosemary Sutcliff. We haven’t finished it yet but we’re enjoying it! I also have Wanderings of Odysseus by the same author but my kiddo will likely read this on her own because we ran out of time.

Mary Pope Osborne (the author of The Magic Tree House series) wrote a series of books based on Greek Myths. The first one is called Tales of the Odyssey. These are sitting in her to-be-read stack but I wanted to mention them. I think they would likely be repetitive if one had already read the Sutcliff books above, but I know my kiddo likes revisiting familiar stories in a new format.

Percy Jackson! I saved these books for after our three weeks with the myths was complete because they reference them and I wanted to be sure my kiddo had a solid foundation first. She completely devoured the first two and I need to get more.

My 11-year-old also really enjoyed the graphic novels about different Greek gods by George O’Connor. She read these on her own.

Another fun resource for Greek Myths is the CD from Jim Weiss. This has been a fun thing for her to listen to during our afternoon quiet time.

History

I used History Quest: Early Times as the ‘spine’ for our Greeky history study. There are three chapters in the book about Greece. One covers the Minoans and Mycenaeans, one covers early Greece and one covers Classical Greece. Then I also used the chapter on the Macedonian Empire because that neatly dovetails into the end of Greece.

I found the Usborne Encyclopedia of World History to be really helpful for this block, along with The Ultimate Visual Guide: Ancient and Medieval World.

We had fun reading What’s Your Angle, Pythagoras? and that had a nice tie-in to all the geometry in fifth grade.

I assigned my fifth grader a persuasive essay for this block, which I described in this post. To learn more about what it would have been like to grow up in Ancient Athens and Sparta, I had her read these three books:

These don’t have the most appealing illustrations (for me, anyway) but they are amazingly packed full of facts:

My kiddo really loved learning about Alexander the Great so I bought her I’m the Great Horse, which is a story written from the perspective of Bucephalas, his horse. She hasn’t read it yet, but I think she’s going to love it. There are always more books than we can fit into a block and I think it’s fun to revisit favorite subjects in summer reading.

I love to bring food into our history / geography studies and I recently found the British Museum Cookbook, which has a full chapter of recipes from Ancient Greece. This is an amazing resource for homeschoolers by the way! There are chapters for Rome, the Middle Ages, Imperial China and more.

We did a lot of art for this block, mostly in the form of main lesson book illustrations, but this art kit for painting an ancient Greek drinking vessel was a nice way to change things up.

That’s it! You definitely don’t need all these resources to teach Ancient Greece, but I have a tendency to invest in a lot of resources when a subject really resonates with my child. I hope these are helpful to you and I’d love to hear if you end up using them!

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