Sunday, November 16, 2008

Good-bye, Egypt! Hello, Greece!

Well, we have officially completed our study of Ancient Egypt. I must admit, though I was excited about beginning unit studies, I was looking forward to just getting through this topic so I could get on to one that really interests me. Ancient Egypt just didn't sound very appealing to me. You know, eat the spinach so you can have cake? I'm amazed at how much I did enjoy the "spinach!" Not only did my children learn much from our study of Egypt and deserts but I did, as well!

We concluded our travels in Ancient Egypt with a Passover meal. We had read the Exodus story and learned the history of the Passover and the meanings of the various foods and traditions of the Seder table. So, if you had come to our home on Friday night, you would have observed our children searching for the 10 pieces of leaven left throughout the house. Once found, each child threw their leaven (bread) into the fire. The next night, we prepared a Seder plate including 3 pieces of Matzo (representing the fact the Jews left Egypt before their bread was able to rise), onion (bitter herb - representing the bitterness of slavery), an egg & parsley (representing new life that was begun once the Jews left Egypt), and a bowl of salt-water (representing the tears shed by the Jews during their slavery). In the middle of the table was "Elijah's Goblet" - a goblet filled with grape juice waiting for Elijah to enter our open door (which remained open throughout our meal) and announce the coming of Messiah and drink the juice waiting for him. The juice (wine) represents the joy of the Hebrew's freedom.

Eric took one piece of Matzo and broke it in half. He wrapped half of it in a napkin symbolizing the bread packed in the Jews' knapsacks during their flight. Anna asked him questions concerning what we were doing - in the tradition of the youngest child asking the questions of their father so that they may learn of their heritage and how God saved their people. We then named each of the ten plagues taking a sip of juice after each one was mentioned. Eric left the table for the ceremonial washing of hands and then hid a piece of Matzo for the children to find after dinner. When he came back, he broke matzo and gave each family member a bit of it to eat.

Once the ceremony was finished, we ate our dinner of Chicken & Matzo Ball Soup, Potato Latkes, Baked Asparagus, and Hard Boiled Egg. It really was a good meal. Before you begin to think that I must have over-done myself with grating potatoes and mixing matzo meal for the balls, think again. You'd be amazed at the convenient instant Passover foods you find at the local supermarket!

After dinner, the children presented the play Cassia and Anna wrote (for Language Arts) illustrating the story of Moses' birth through the time of his escape from Pharaoh who sought to have him killed for the murder of an Egyptian. It was quite good and the kids had a great time performing it.

What an incredible adventure Ancient Egypt was! I look forward to beginning our adventure in Ancient Greece tomorrow. I've always been fascinated with mythology, the Greek way of life, and their architecture. On top of that, the science study for this unit is one of my favorite topics - the human body! We are going to have such a great time with this. Will 30 days be enough? Obviously not. But that's what is great about these unit studies - it wets the children's appetites and encourages them to continue learning even more long after the study is "finished."

Good-bye, Egypt. I'll actually miss you. Hello, Ancient Greece! Can't wait to get started!!!

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