Our history timeline.


We have a history timeline going in our school. With everything else we do, history ends up being done once a week. We use Usborne’s History of the Ancient World as our book.

We started with the formation of the Earth. I tried starting with the first civilizations, but Nicholas objected. He said the history of the world had to start with the world being formed, then dinosaurs came, and only after that did people come.

So we started with the Big Bang.

Starting with the Big Bang gave us a whole week of science based lessons. The dinosaurs have us two weeks of lessons.

Once we complete a history unit, I have a picture or map printed out for Nicholas to color. Or, in the case of Ancient Egypt, we combined timeline with art and he had to draw and label his own.

Then the picture goes up on the timeline in order with dates on it. This lets Nicholas see, in a way he otherwise wouldn’t, how event happen. As we go forwards, things might be placed above and below other events to show the happened at roughly the same time.

Why did I start the history timeline? Because Nicholas asked when Galileo lived. I told him a long time ago – and gave him the dates. So then he asked if I knew him when I was little. I said no, and so he said then grandma knew him. Laughingly, I said no. Galileo was after grandma but before dinosaurs.

But this conversation made me realize time was all relative. So now we do a history timeline.


Ancient Egypt: Review and timeline.

Sorry this took so long to get onto the website – we’ve been a little busy!

As a review and closure for our Ancient Egypt lesson we did a timeline. I gathered a list of all the dates of things that we have studied and put them all together. Then I had Nicholas cut them all apart and we glued them on a long piece of butcher paper in the correct order. 

Once the dates/events were glued down we started back at the beginning and reviewed. As we reviewed what occurred on the various dates, Nicholas drew a picture that was representative of the event. We had many, many pictures of the Nile and some grass – since he knows the Nile is in Egypt. We also had some great pictures of pyramids.

When he forgot what a date was about, we went back and reread the section in our book on that particular event. While I was reading, he was drawing.

So ended our Ancient Egypt learning.

Here are the dates we used:


3100 BC – Upper and Lower Egypt United by King Menes

3100 BC – Hieroglyphics developed

3000 BC – Bronze Age begins

2700 BC – First stone pyramids build – step pyramids

2700 – BC – Writing on papyrus

2590 BC – Great Pyramid of Khufu built

2515 – Sphinx is built

2000 BC – Wheeled vehicles and horses are used

1552 – 1069 BC – Tombs in the Valley of the Kings

1490 – 1436 – Reign of Tuthmosis III in Egpyt – greatest of the warrior pharaohs

1347 – 1337 BC – Reign of Tutankhamun

332 BC – Alexander the Great took control in Egypt

323 BC – Ptolemy took over Egypt; creates library at Alexandria

196 – Rosetta Stone carved

51 BC – Last Queen  – Cleopatra

Ancient Egypt: Gods and Goddesses.

When we began this lesson, we started with acknowledging what we believe as a family. We believe in one God and in Jesus. It was important  for me to review this with Nicholas before we started learning about other gods and goddesses.

Onto Ancient Egypt gods and goddesses.

We started with reading the myth of Ancient Egypt creation here.  We then re-read the myth and drew our own illustrations for the myth. I made sure that we drew the gods and goddesses at each stage when they were mentioned.

Before our lesson I had printed out the images of the gods and goddesses from this website. I made a cheat sheet for myself with the god/goddess’ name, description, and what they were in charge of. During our lesson I threw the pictures on the ground (think 52 card pick-up). Then I would start down my cheat sheet. For instance: Bastet (goddess of cats, her head is shaped like a cat….). As I was reading Nicholas was responsible for picking up the right image for each god/goddess. I collected them.

After we did this, we pasted the gods and goddesses on a big piece of butcher paper. Then I had Nicholas take a marker and write the name of each one underneath. Sometimes he needed reminding on which one was which.  I did help him spell the names correctly.

Lastly, we sat down at the art table with blank pieces of paper. I read the myth of Re to them. As I was reading, the kids were responsible for making a drawing to illustrate the myth. Then they had to explain their drawing to me. We also did this with the myth of Isis and Osiris.

There were not any special words to practice for this lesson because he practiced writing with the names of the gods and goddesses. But we still did math and some engineering. His new favorite thing to do for engineering lessons is figure out how many ways he can build a pyramid out of various substances. Today we used Cheerios, marshmallows, and carrot sticks. It was sand and rocks yesterday; legos and blocks the day before.

Ancient Egypt 5: Mummies and other burial customs.

One of the coolest parts of Ancient Egypt is their burial customs. There are mummies, masks, and grand tombs. This lesson focuses on mummies and other burial customs.

First we got to look at some pictures of mummies. We Googled “pictures of mummies” and just viewed some of them. We got a little side tracked into why we don’t make mummies, here, anymore. But we had fun looking.

Then, as a change of pace, we went to this website and read the book on burial customs. This is a great book put out by the Chicago public schools and it is some what interactive. There are links to the different words to help give descriptions of larger and less common words. There are also various games at the end of each chapter/page that are linked to the subjects studied. It took us about an hour to get through the book and various activities.

We also played this mummy making game.

I discovered that Nicholas will happily sit and play on the computer for long amounts of time. I was a little amazed because they weren’t his usual games – he tends to like Disney games and PBS games. But he sat at the computer and played games about Ancient Egypt. The games did a lot of my teaching for me this lesson.

Then we read this story.  It was important, during the story, that Nicholas help me read it. He’s not a big fan of reading on his own – he likes to be read to. So instead, I read to him and then pause at various words that he knows and say, “I don’t know what this word is, can you help me?” Then he helps me with the words. So I picked this story to read as our “working” story this week. We did the worksheet afterwards that goes with the story.

Lastly, we designed our own death masks. I had 2 different coloring pages for this lesson. One was the death mask of an actual Pharaoh. The other was a blank death mask that they got to color for themselves. I had Abby and Nicholas do the actual death mask while I read the story of Osiris and Iris.

We didn’t do any writing words with this lesson because we practiced writing when we did the worksheet that went with the story.

Other Ancient Egypt lessons:

Ancient Egypt Orientation

Ancient Egypt 2: Rosetta stone and pyramids

Ancient Egypt 3: Sphinx

Ancient Egypt 4: Daily life


Other resources that are fun, but we didn’t actually use:


Ancient Egypt 4: Daily life.

Here’s our lesson on the daily life of Ancient Egypt. It’s a shorter lesson that is filled with activities rather than a bunch of book learning. We started off by reading the pages in our Usborne book about the daily life of Ancient Egyptians.

Then we made reed boats. Here are the directions for making your own reed boat. While making the reed boats, I told the kids about the Nile. Here are the facts I used in our conversation:

1. The Nile is the river that gave Ancient Egypt water and most of it’s food and trade.

2. The Nile flooded every year. The cycle of flooding provided minerals and nutrients to the soil – which allowed things to grow.

3. People used the Nile to get from place to place – like we use freeways.

4. Reed boats were used to get up and down the Nile – like we use cars.

After this discussion/activity we went into the backyard and I turned on the hose. I asked them to pretend that the grass was the banks of the Nile and they could use the hose to flood it. So the kids had a blast flooding my grass – but the plus is they did the watering for me. Then we put our reed boats on the grass and tried to get them to move. We ended up blowing them where we wanted them to go. I explained that, just like we blow on the boats, the Ancient Egyptians had to move their boats – generally by having people row for them.

Then we came back inside.

We got on the computer and went to this website – which has a great section on the daily life of Ancient Egyptians. After we finished reading, we colored a picture of Ancient Egyptian children.

Then I asked them to remember what the noblemen had on their walls. When Nicholas told me that they had art, I said that we were going to make art for our walls. I pulled out a long piece of butcher paper – I called it our “tapestry” – and laid it on the ground. I said that we were going to pretend we were from Ancient Egypt and make art. It had to tell a story or remind us of something. Each kid got their own sheet of paper (Abby’s was smaller). Then they painted away.

After the paintings were done, I got a marker and asked for the story behind it. I wrote the story on the paper, so we would remember. Abby’s story was simply her pointing to different parts of the paper and telling me what they were (which was good, because colored blobs all look the same). Nicholas’ story was a bit more involved. Then we waited for them to dry, and hung them on the walls of our house.

Our practice words for the day were: Nile, river, papyrus, tapestry, house, life, and day.


Ancient Egypt 3: Sphinx.

This lesson is only on the Sphinx. It is a shorter lesson than the others, but it is a fun one. Before we did the lesson, I read this article on the history of the Sphinx in order to prepare myself for questions.

First, we went to this website and spent time reading about the Sphinx. The neat thing is that this story of the Sphinx starts but doesn’t end. In fact, the website says you have to use your imagination to discover the rest of the story. So indeed, after reading the first story and looking at different pictures of the Sphinx, we made our own ending to the story. I wrote it down on the back of a picture of the Sphinx and put it away for later. I like writing stories that Nicholas tells me down and keeping them, so he can go back later and read them.

Then we reviewed what a pyramid was used for. After the short review, we went to this website and explored the pyramids and the Sphinx.

Then we colored our image of the Sphinx. While coloring, I got to read 10 pages of our Usborne Ancient Egypt book. I also got to read the statistics of the Sphinx for my research the night before: How big it is, what it is made of, when it was supposedly built.

Lastly, we built our own Sphinxes out of clay. When we were building, I asked the question, “So what was the Sphinx’s purpose?” Nicholas was able to tell me that no one really knows, but it is supposed to be the guardian of the tombs. This made me feel good that he’s absorbing some of the lesson.

Our practice writing words for the day were: sand, Sphinx, big, long, old, and archeology.

We also did our traditional math practice, and spent time reading in our science books. However. Nicholas kept coming back to the Sphinx during the day. While he was playing with his cars he named one the Sphinx and told it that its job was “to guard the race track for Abby monsters.” I thought that was pretty funny.

Here’s the other Ancient Egypt lessons:

Orientation to Ancient Egypt.

Ancient Egypt 2.

Ancient Egypt 2: Pyramids and the Rosetta Stone.

I had to think about how to present the Rosetta Stone to a young child. An older child will instinctively understand that not everything is written and you might need help. A younger child just thinks, “I’ll ask mom.” So I had to figure out a way to present it. I came up with my idea: Make him his own Rosetta Stone.

Rosetta Stone Activity:

All you need is two pieces of paper and a pen. You write a message in nonsense symbols on one pice of paper and the code on the other. We sat down at the table and I handed Nicholas the message in symbols (it was short and said “Lightening McQueen is the fastest race car”). I asked him if he could read it. He said no, it looked like nonsense words and a bunch of pictures. So I pulled out the code and we decoded my message. I think he was happier about the message than the decoding.

I asked him the following questions:

1. Was it hard to read the message before you had the decoder paper?

2. Were you able to decode the message with the decoder paper?

3. Did it take a lot of work?

4. Did you understand the message once you decoded it?

Then we went to this website and played around on it. We looked at pictures of the actual Rosetta Stone. We talked about how the Rosetta Stone was like the decoder paper. We also talked about archeologists and how they work – Nicholas wanted to know how the stone was discovered and what kind of person did the job. We had a lot of fun.


We also spent time working on pyramids. We drew pyramids on paper first. Then we went to this website and looked at the various types of pyramids. We also did the maze that I included below.

I then had Nicholas and Abby color this picture while I did the reading from the Usborne Ancient Egypt book on pyramids. Most of the information on pyramids can also be found here. 

Then we cut out the puzzles and glued them back together on a tan piece of paper, because the tan represents the sand that the pyramids were built in.

Lastly, we got to be archeologist and explore the pyramids too. Here’s the link to explore the pyramids.

Our practice words for the day were: Pyramid, burial, tomb, sand, desert, build.

Click her for the 1st lesson on Ancient Egypt. 

Ancient Egypt: Orientation to the subject.

I have found it best, for us, if we start a subject with an orientation to the subject. In this case, we are starting our Ancient Egypt lesson.

First, we colored a map of Ancient Egypt. While the kids were coloring, I was reading a timeline of events in Ancient Egypt. I found a timeline here.  We occasionally stopped while I was reading to discuss various topics. I was asked, “What is a Pharaoh?” I replied, “It was what the Ancient Egyptians called their king or queen.” When I was asked what the pyramids were, and if they looked like real pyramids, we went and watched this video from National Geographic.

After we finished coloring, I pulled out my pencil and drew three lines across the map, separating Ancient Egypt into the Upper, Lower, and Middle Kingdoms. I had Nicholas erase the lines, and told him that the three kingdoms became just two – Upper and Lower Egypt. I then made him draw the lines.

Next, I told him that Ancient Egypt has its own writing and alphabet – called hieroglyphics. I had printed out the hieroglyphic alphabet from a website and showed it to him. Then we practiced writing our names in hieroglyphics. We also practiced writing our favorite words in hieroglyphics – I chose cat, Nicholas chose truck, and Abby chose Minnie (surprise!). Mainly the kids pointed to the picture and I drew. But I did make them try to draw their names as well. It was a lot of fun.

For our reading time I opened up our Usbone Ancient Egypt book. Have I told you how much I like the Usborne books? They do things in a timeline manner, so I’m not jumping around from subject to subject while reading. They also have great pictures, and there are direct explanations for the pictures. In addition, they have great web links in their books to help out on the subjects. Nicholas is a little young for a lot of the web links, but it is fun for me to scroll around them. I got to read 6 pages before the kids tuned out too much to continue reading.

Our practice words – for our English writing – were: ancient, Egypt, hieroglyphics, picture, and kingdom.

Anyways, that was our super easy Ancient Egypt orientation lesson. Tune back in tomorrow for more lessons on Ancient Egypt. Up next – Rosetta Stone and pyramids.

Google’s new “World Wonders” tool.

Google has been hard at work helping homeschoolers – even if they don’t know it.

They recently came out with their World Wonders page from their Cultural Institute. It has a link to various World Wonders. It shows the wonder in 3-D on the screen and you can tour through it. Some of the Wonders can be toured in various ages (they used computer modeling).

Even better are their educational guides to the Wonders. Google split out the guides by various grades, but someone who is excited could take a guide and make it match their child and educational goals.

These are really great. Not all of us can travel to all of these places. Some of them are expensive, some are simply too much hassle to get to. Others have health issues that preclude us from going. But by using the new Google tools, everyone gets to experience the Wonders.

We looked at the Palace of Versailles.  The model showed how it looked throughout the ages, and links as to how it was built. My son was fascinated with the idea of building without construction trucks. He didn’t realize that it could be done to build big things. This allowed him to see that people can build too – and they can build big buildings.

We then built our own Palace of Versailles using sugar cubes. They weren’t quite as wondrous, but we had a lot of fun.

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