This part of our ancient mythologies block was a departure from how I presented India and Persia. Taking the advice of Donna Simmons, we read Geraldine McCaughrean’s retelling of the epic of Gilgamesh. It is a fabulous book, and I would highly recommend it as a read aloud for anyone 9 and up – Waldorf homeschooling or not. McCaughrean is a new discovery for me, although now that I know her, she seems to pop up everywhere. Her writing is beautiful, deep and true. I have read Gilgamesh the Hero three times now, twice in preparation and once aloud during the block. It honestly gets better each time. She carries a theme of light and dark throughout the book that is a worthy study in and of itself. I reigned in my penchant to discuss these types of things to death (!) and just touched on it – linking the symbols of light and dark back to our study of Persia and also anticipating our study of Egypt come January.
I had planned (hoped) that Vincent would read this book on his own, but in the end I gave him the choice. He is a very quick reader with excellent recall and retention, however he never savours a book unless it is read to him. The reason he gave for wanting me to read it to him was “I read too fast.” So, I read it to him, and it was a wonderful shared experience. Gilgamesh personifies so much of what I see in my not-so-little boy. The bigness, the brashness, the fierce loyalty are all represented in broad strokes, but McCauhgrean’s story also captures the subtle undercurrents of this age: fear, tenderness and a longing for home. Once again I am thankful for the soul-synchronicity of the Waldorf curriculum. During the block, we also did some map work, touched on cuneiform and talked a little bit about Babylonian architecture, but mostly we kept to the story.
- Gilgamesh the Hero, Geraldine McCauhgrean
- Ancient Mythology: India, Persia, Babylon, Egypt, Donna Simmons
- Constructed a ziggurat out of styrofoam bricks and another one out of legos.
- Painted necklace of Ishtar.
- Uncle Josh’s Outline Map Collection (This is a CD that I bought when I first started homeschooling. It is not Waldorf, but it is a great resource for all kinds of map work.)
- A Journey Through Time in Verse and Rhyme, Heather Thomas (There are wonderful poems for all the ancient cultures in this book.)