Does anyone ever have enough time to learn, read, and do everything on their list for Ancient Egypt? I sure don’t. We’ve been learning about ancient Egypt for three weeks and we could easily do another three. That’s one thing I love about our decision to work through the CC timeline over three years. It is giving us more time to linger over subjects that really catch our interest…like Ancient Egypt.
Whether you are using Classical Conversations, Charlotte Mason, or a more traditional approach to the study of Ancient History, I think you will find the following reviews and suggestions helpful and time-saving. There is sooooooo much available on Ancient Egypt that it took me quite a while to wade through it all and find what I consider to be the “best of the best.” I hope it helps your family to have fun discovering and learning more about this awesome civilization.
Read Aloud Family Books
Read aloud is my favorite part of homeschooling using the Classical method. I used to be obsessed with checklists. In order to learn, we needed to check off worksheets, write essays, and take tests. I’m not saying that kids don’t need to write things down. But the classical model is teaching me that the conversations we have during family reading time are probably the most important and valuable part of our day. Which is awesome, because this is also my favorite part of the day! I have learned so much by reading aloud with my children. OK…gushing time is over. Here are my recommendations for the best Ancient Egypt read aloud books:
“Seeker of Knowledge – The Man Who Discovered Egyptian Hieroglyphs” – I like to start with this book because it gives kids an overview of how we came to know what we know about Ancient Egypt. In addition to being filled with beautiful illustrations, the book offers a story of perseverance and determination… so it is a character builder as well. A great read for the whole family.
CLICK HERE to add “Seeker of Knowledge” to your Amazon Wish List
(Purchasing books or loading them into your cart via my blog helps me earn a small fee which allows me to purchase more materials to review…it doesn’t cost you more.)
“You Wouldn’t Want to Be a Pyramid Builder: A Hazardous Job You’d Rather Not Have” – My kids love every book in this series. Who can resist the amusing cartoons and the comically sad lives of the “heroes” in this series?
CLICK HERE to add “You Wouldn’t Want to Be a Pyramid Builder” to your Amazon Wish List
“The Cat of Bubastes: A Tale of Ancient Egypt” – I got the unabridged version of this book. It was written in 1888 and can be a bit dense for a modern reader…especially a child. This is why we chose it for our read aloud literature component on Ancient Egypt. I think it is important for children to learn to struggle with understanding “older” literature. It helps them use context to decipher the meanings of unfamiliar words (among other things.) Having mom read it aloud means I can stop periodically to test their understanding. This is a fun little mystery story to read with your kiddos.
CLICK HERE to Add “The Cat of Bubastes” to your Amazon Wish List
“Count Like an Egyptian – A Hands-On Introduction to Ancient Mathematics” – This last one is probably my favorite. I wouldn’t consider it a read-aloud as such. I actually read the book on my own and then chose to read and explain certain hand-picked concepts to my kids and have them work out problems. I have a degree in Mathematics and when I was at University I took a class called “The History of Math.” It was so much fun learning that the Babylonians didn’t use a Base 10 system like we do. Learning to count and do simple addition and subtraction in the way Egyptians did it is not only entertaining, it is a great way to get your kids thinking outside the box and analyzing math from a different perspective. You don’t need a degree in Math to use this book. It is accessible and thoroughly illustrated. I highly recommend it. In fact, I am planning on creating some worksheets to go with the book. Another reason to follow the blog so you will see those when they become available.
CLICK HERE to Add “Count Like An Egyptian” to your Amazon Wish List
Free Online Games
There are lots of free online games that have to do with Ancient Egypt. But some of them are on questionable sites, some are broken, and some are just plain boring. Here are few that my kids enjoyed:
Mummy Maker – This is a cute game from BBC that allows your student to go through all the steps necessary to embalm and create a mummy. Although not 100% necessary, if your child has first read a book that outlines the mummification process, they will likely find the game more enjoyable and they will be more successful completing it.
CLICK HERE to Play Mummy Maker
Pyramid Challenge – Another good game from BBC that requires a little more strategy than the first one.
CLICK HERE to Play Pyramid Challenge
Senet – You may have heard about the board game that the Egyptians invented. It is called Senet. We were originally going to make our own Senet game (and there are lots of great tutorials online if you want to do this), but time got away from us. So I found this version my kids could try online. It doesn’t require Flash, which is a plus.
CLICK HERE to Play Senet Online
The following are books that one or more of my kids read independently:
“The Egypt Game” – My 8 year old daughter read and enjoyed this book. She reads several grade levels higher than normal so keep that in mind in making a selection for your family. The book centers around a group of girls who begin meeting for pretend play centered around their mutual fascination with Egypt. Eventually “magical” things begin to happen. Good fun.
CLICK HERE to Add “The Egypt Game” to Your Amazon Wish List
“The Red Pyramid: First Book in the Kane Chronicles” – My sophomore read this. It was mostly an excuse to get him to read something other than his textbooks, but the fact that it ties back to our study of Ancient Egypt is an added bonus. Although my son is 16, this book could probably be enjoyed by average readers from age 12 up.
CLICK HERE to Add “The Red Pyramid” to Your Amazon Wish List
“Horrible Histories – Awesome Egyptians” – This was our first foray into the Horrible Histories series and my daughter raved about it. There is a ton of history packed into these paperbacks but you wouldn’t know it from how much fun they are to read. The little nuggets of “gross” information scattered throughout the book provided just enough incentive for my 8 year old to keep reading. This is probably more on a 5th grade reading level but even older kids would enjoy it.
CLICK HERE to Add “Horrible Histories – Awesome Egyptians” to your Amazon Wish List
“Who Was King Tut?” – Although King Tut is (strictly speaking) not part of the Ancient Egyptian time period, I had both of my kids read this short book as preparation for viewing the King Tut exhibit in Los Angeles. (More info on that later in this blog post.) It is a quick, easy read.
CLICK HERE to Add “Who Was King Tut?” to Your Amazon Wish List
All of these videos are either free on YouTube or free on Amazon with a Prime subscription. Personally, I have found that Prime seems to have many more educational resources than Netflix. As a result, we switched to Prime and you will find free Prime links in most of my blog posts. I have also found that the free 2 day shipping for Prime members more than pays for what the subscription costs me each year. If you want to try Prime FREE for a month, you can use this link:
“Ancient Egypt – Life and Death in the Valley of the Kings” – What I absolutely love about this documentary is that it focuses on the life of everyday Egyptians in ancient times. There seem to be a lot of books and videos that explore the lives of Pharoahs, but this one explores the lives of regular people…and that’s cool. Plus it’s free to Amazon Prime members.
CLICK HERE to Watch “Ancient Egypt – Life and Death in the Valley of the Kings”
There is a whole series of history cartoons on Amazon Prime that my 8 year old goes crazy for. They are called “Kids’ Animated History with Pipo” and Episodes 1 & 2 focus on Ancient Egypt. Great for ages 4-10.
CLICK HERE to Watch “Kids’ Animated History with Pipo”
And, of course, no study of Egypt would be complete without watching the Dreamworks version of “The Prince of Egypt.” Sadly, this one isn’t free for Prime, but I didn’t mind splurging $3.99 to rent it on Amazon after my kids put in three solid weeks studying about Ancient Egypt. It made a great family movie night.
CLICK HERE to Rent “The Prince of Egypt” on Amazon
Activities, Hands-On, and Field Trips
I mentioned in an earlier post that I found the Evan Moor Ancient History Pockets to be high quality, but a little too young for my 8 year old. The Ancient Egypt History Pockets were just perfect! We used them to add to our Classical Conversations Binder. This is simply a 2″ binder I created for my daughter where she keeps all her written work that corresponds with our CC studies through the year. Her Timeline section becomes a giant lapbook when we are finished with it. Purchasing the Ancient Egypt History Pockets made my life a lot easier as far as completing this portion of the binder was concerned.
CLICK HERE to Add Ancient Egypt History Pockets to Your Amazon Wish List
We are huge fans of family game time in our house and anytime I can teach using games…I’m all in! If you haven’t heard of the Top Trumps series of card games, let me just tell you that (apparently…according to my kids) they are all the rage. They come in a massive variety of topics and the decks can be combined or played against each other. Some of my kids’ public school friends use them as well and it’s been fun to share our studies with these friends. I will definitely be purchasing more decks from this series as the year goes on.
CLICK HERE to Add Top Trumps Ancient Egypt Card Game to Your Amazon Wish List
Raise your hand if you love combining different CC subjects into one fun activity! Me too! These Funny Fill-Ins work just like Mad Libs. They allow me to reinforce the parts of speech that my kids are learning in CC English, while we study Ancient Egypt, while we have fun. Check, check, check!
CLICK HERE to Add “Funny Fill-In: Ancient Egypt Adventure” to Your Amazon Wish List
OK I have to gush for a minute. I found the COOLEST audio book to go along with our Ancient Egypt studies. It is called “Crocodile On the Sand Bank” and is available on Audible. It was written in 1975 by Elizabeth Peters, herself an Egyptologist, so all the historical detail is accurate. But the best part is that the book is a super entertaining who-done-it mystery, and it is so much fun that my kids were begging me to listen to “just one more chapter”…which I was happy to do! I swear I think we learned more about Ancient Egypt listening to that book than we did in half of our other activities. (As much as I loved this book, and I did, there are some mature themes present. One of the main characters runs off with a man who promises to marry her and then reneges, leaving her disgraced. This is clearly identified in the story as an unfortunate and incorrect choice. The story is set in the 1880’s and I found the dialogue to be very proper and pro-Christianity. But there are potential issues so make sure you review the book to your satisfaction before sharing with your family.)
If you sign up for a trial of Audible, you get two free books and you can cancel anytime:
Here is a link to the actual audible version of “Crocodile On The Sand Bank”:
CLICK HERE to Download “Crocodile On the Sandbank” from Audible
We were so blessed this last week. My kids and I were visiting my mom in California when we stumbled upon an ad for the King Tut: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh Exhibit going on now at the California Science Center. Let me just say that if you are within driving distance of Los Angeles, I highly recommend taking your kids to see this exhibit. Many of the artifacts have never been displayed before and likely will not come to the United States again as they are returning to Egypt after this tour. I have been told that it is possible that there may be more cities and dates added to the tour. Here is the website if you would like to keep on top of that possibility: King Tut Exhibition
No study of Ancient Egypt is complete without writing some secret messages in hieroglyphics right? My kids loved this. We used two sources for our hieroglyphic composing adventures: First is the book “Hieroglyphs.” For just over 5 bucks you get an entertaining look inside what it was like being a child in Ancient Egypt as well as a stencil to make your own hieroglyphic drawings.
CLICK HERE to Add “Hieroglyphs” to Your Amazon Wish List
Next, while we were visiting the Bowers Museum in Orange County (to check out their collection of Ancient Chinese art), their gift shop was having a clearance sale. We picked up three Hieroglyphic decoder wheels for $1 each. Score! Unfortunately, I can’t make these available to everyone else…but the next best thing might be to visit the Penn Museum website where you can type your name into a box and the computer will show you how your name would have looked in hieroglyphics. Here’s the link: CLICK HERE to Translate Your Name Into Hieroglyphics Courtesy of Penn Museum
Here’s something to keep in mind as you experiment with hieroglyphics: during Week 1 in Foundations, your kids will be learning how to use various drawing elements to create art. These elements include dots, circles, wavy lines, straight lines, angles, etc. Now what does that sound like? Sounds to me like learning to write our name in hieroglyphics incorporates history with exactly what we are learning in art. I just love when that happens don’t you?
Well that’s it for Ancient Egypt! Phew that was a long one. Stay tuned for the next post where I will be posting lots of resources and reviews correlating with all of the CC subjects for Cycle 1, Week 2. Happy Learning!