Saturday, August 5, 2017

The Educational Summer Vacation: Studying Greece

Welcome to Greece, week 2 of our imaginary trip around the world. If you're new here, this is my attempt to do something to keep the kids from getting bored over summer vacation that doesn't involve spending $4,596,930 on summer camps.

Keep reading, because I'll include links for those of you who want to try it with your own kids and funny stories to entertain those of you who don't.

(This post contains my affiliate link, which means that if you click on a link and buy something, I'll get a small commission at no extra cost to you. Nothing sneaky.)


Monday


We started out as always by finding Greece on the map and taking out the kids' passports (free printable here) to write down what we know about it.

What do your kids know about Greece? Includes free resources, links, and printables to get started.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

While they filled out their passports, the kids listened to me read Greece: A Question and Answer Book.

We also had some Greek folk music playing in the background, and when my 3-year-old came in from playing cars in the garage he immediately wrinkled his nose, looked around, and asked, "What that noise?"

Not a fan of the bouzouki, that one.

What do your kids know about Greece? Includes free resources, links, and printables to get started.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
Making stripes that are all one uniform size is harder than it sounds.

While I took a grocery store trip that was about three days overdue, I set the kids up in front of a movie about a family traveling to Greece and told them I expected a full report when I came home.

What I got was a lengthy description from my 3-year-old about the ferry the family took for about 10 seconds of the video.

Good enough.

Tuesday


We learned some Greek today using YouTube. The kids started asking "please" and "thank you" in Greek and we practiced counting 1 to 10. That should be totally sufficient to go to Greece someday and expect to find our way around, right?


Our next stop was written Greek. I wanted to have each kid make a scroll, an idea I found in a fantastic book of Greek-themed crafts called Go Greek! by Alison Hawes.

I found a fat dowel in Phillip's workshop and had my daughter cut it in smaller pieces.

What do your kids know about Greece? Includes free resources, links, and printables to get started.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

I even made sure she put on safety glasses first, but after she finished cutting she rubbed her face on her arm and got sawdust in her eyeball, anyway. At least we tried.

I cut big sheets of butcher paper into long-ish strips (we have some in the basement left over from moving,) which the kids taped to the dowel sections to make scrolls.

They copied down Greek letters as we read The Little Greek Alphabet Book by Ennis Rees, which took considerably longer than I thought it would.

What do your kids know about Greece? Includes free resources, links, and printables to get started.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

We barely finished the alphabet in time to get to swimming lessons, but after we came back they wanted to get their scrolls back out and write on them some more.

The 5-year-old copied words out of My First Book of Greek Words, and the 11- and 13-year-olds had a good time writing their names and figuring out how to "spell" words using the sounds of Greek letters. The 9-year-old decided he wanted no part of it and went outside to play basketball.

What do your kids know about Greece? Includes free resources, links, and printables to get started.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

What do your kids know about Greece? Includes free resources, links, and printables to get started.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
She mostly copied the English translations of the first words. Still good practice.

Wednesday 


Most everyone is Greece is Greek Orthodox (I used to go to church with a Greek convert and she said it blew people's minds when she told them she was Mormon) so we decided to learn more about that using a book called I am a Greek Orthodox by Maria Roussou.

This book came from our library and was printed in 1985. It was so old. The kid who scribbled with a crayon on the back page is probably 30 now.

What do your kids know about Greece? Includes free resources, links, and printables to get started.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

Then we read Cultural Traditions in Greece by Lynn Peppas, which is basically the Greek Orthodox calendar of holidays plus a few national holidays thrown in. My favorite was "Ohi Day," which celebrates Greece's refusal to let Hitler and company occupy parts of the country during WWII.

"Ohi" is Greek for "no." (To my toddler, every day is No Day.)

For dessert, we made Greek cookies traditionally baked at Christmas and New Years called melomakarona

What do your kids know about Greece? Includes free resources, links, and printables to get started.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

What do your kids know about Greece? Includes free resources, links, and printables to get started.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

What do your kids know about Greece? Includes free resources, links, and printables to get started.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

We substituted apple juice for brandy and for goodness' sake, if you make this recipe CUT IT IN HALF! The recipe is written for gigantic Greek families getting together at the holidays and makes approximately 8,000 cookies.

We took a plate of them to the library and I explained to the librarian it was a thank-you for helping us do our summer travels (they set aside stacks and stacks of materials for us every week). She took one look and said, "Oh, I know these! My husband is Greek."

Suddenly I was very nervous to have her eat them since she knew what they were actually supposed to taste like.

What do your kids know about Greece? Includes free resources, links, and printables to get started.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
Please look away from the dirty cupholders in our van. It's gross.


Thursday


Having focused on modern-day Greece already, we decided to spend today learning about ancient Greece.

We watched Ancient Civilizations for Children: Ancient Greece. It was educational but also goofy. (Example: the narrator was an archaeologist named Indiana Jones Arizona Smith.) Then we read The Time Traveler's Guide: Greek Town, and since my 7th grader took Ancient History in school last year she was able to fill in the details and correct all my wrong pronunciations. I'm sure she loved that.

The Olympics started in ancient Greece, so I wanted the kids to make victory wreaths.

My plan was to attach construction paper leaves to frames made out of cut-out paper plates. But I'm so not craft-oriented that I found out we didn't even have glue in the house. So we made do and stuck the leaves on with green paint instead.

What do your kids know about Greece? Includes free resources, links, and printables to get started.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
Some day I'll buy glue. Maybe.

What do your kids know about Greece? Includes free resources, links, and printables to get started.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

I knew I wanted to do some kind of Olympics with the kids, but I didn't have anything concrete planned and my brain was pretty much shot for the day, so I just asked my 13-year-old what she thought we should do.

And apparently, she is a born Olympics organizer because she led the younger kids in an awesome Olympic games completely on the fly.

Using the book First Olympics of Ancient Greece, she read a page about an ancient Olympic event and then showed them how they were going to do it. There were tricycle races for chariot racing, running around the yard for the foot races, frisbee throwing for discus, and then a long jump.

We skipped the wrestling and boxing events because there was no way that possibly could have ended well.

My favorite was the javelin throw. Using pool noodles in the driveway.

What do your kids know about Greece? Includes free resources, links, and printables to get started.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
Athletes in the ancient Greek Olympics competed naked. I'm all for historical accuracy, but we decided we were all happy to be fully clothed.

There were a few poor losers today, not even counting the 3-year-old who came in last in every event and happily yelled, "I won, too!"

Poor sport or not, each of them got a popsicle and their victory wreath at the end.

What do your kids know about Greece? Includes free resources, links, and printables to get started.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

Friday


Until we started talking about Greek architectural design in modern banks and government buildings, I had no idea how much my 13-year-old had learned in her Ancient History class. She was telling us all about volutes and Doric versus Ionic columns... it was crazy. I wouldn't have gotten books about if I'd known she could just tell it all to us.

Using our set of Keva blocks (which are the best toy ever,) we copied the pictures in Stadiums and Coliseums by Carla Mooney and Greek Temples by Don Nardo to build our own Greek structures.

What do your kids know about Greece? Includes free resources, links, and printables to get started.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
Panathenaic Stadium in Greece

And then there was this model of the Parthenon:

What do your kids know about Greece? Includes free resources, links, and printables to get started.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

Which, if you leave it out for a few hours when there are toddlers and preschoolers in the house, turns into a replica of ancient ruins pretty quickly.

What do your kids know about Greece? Includes free resources, links, and printables to get started.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}


For dinner, I made moussaka. It certainly didn't look like the picture, but I still thought it tasted alright.

The kids were polite about it, but I couldn't help but notice the copious amounts of eggplant in the trash after dinner.

What do your kids know about Greece? Includes free resources, links, and printables to get started.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

For a bedtime story, I read the kids Alexander the Great by Demi. 

What do your kids know about Greece? Includes free resources, links, and printables to get started.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

This book had the most beautiful illustrations, and Demi is my absolute favorite nonfiction children's author. Whenever we're researching something and I see a book by Demi, I snap it up. She's awesome.

Saturday


My goal this year is to take Saturdays off, but since I had some books on Greece left over and it wasn't any extra work for me, I sent them along with the kids on their drive to Six Flags with their dad.



    I think he might have even made them read some of them.

    What do your kids know about Greece? Includes free resources, links, and printables to get started.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

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    1 comment:

    1. Love this! When we studied Greece last year we made our wreaths out of wire and branches cut from the bushes. But our Parthanon was made of paper - yours is WAY COOLER!

      ReplyDelete