One of the things I like about Tapestry of Grace is that it reminds me to do a lot of hands-on activities with the kids. Last week, for example, we were studying ancient Mesopotamia in history and the Patriarchs in Bible. Can I tell you how much it made our understanding of Abraham come alive once we had studied about Ur (the city where he was born) and ancient nomadic culture?
After we read about Esau selling his birthright for some lentil stew, and about how Mesopotamians made food and how nomads lived, we decided to have a Mesopotamian lunch. The kids helped make a lentil dish (we used this fabulous Chana Masala recipe from Orangette, but substituted lentils for the chickpeas–maybe a little more Indus River Valley than Mesopotamia, but close enough!) and an easy flatbread recipe, and I pulled out an actual Bedouin eating carpet I bought on a business trip to Saudi Arabia long ago, and we had ourselves a meal.
As we ate, we talked about how we liked or disliked eating out of the same bowl, eating on a carpet, eating outside in the heat, and whether or not we think this lentil stew is worth a birthright (we decided it’s awesome as lentil dishes go, but not worth giving up your blessings for!). It was so fun to hear the kids making connections between the history and geography and literature we’ve read and have opinions and ideas about what they are learning. It’s at times like this that I really love homeschooling!
Putting on activities like this does require extra work and cleanup on my part, even (perhaps especially) when the kids help, but I am really seeing the benefit to putting in the extra effort for things like this in life and in education.
If you’re studying the ancient world this year too, or have in the past, what are some fun activities you’ve tried?