Back around Christmas I read an excellent book about home schooling. This really isn't a good option for my family but I've been using it as something of a supplement for the school learnin' that my kids are having. (Or will have. I've got three kids, ages 3, 5 and 7.) One of the things that it stressed is using myths and legends to teach kids about the classical period. Shortly after I read that, I spoke with someone else about a completely unrelated subject and he told me that his kids got virtually no coverage of Greek myths in our modern multi-cultural age. Perhaps this is the way that it has to be but it didn't quite set well with me.
I took a flyer and got a simple book of Greek myths that is aimed at youngish kids. The book has about 15 stories, each around ten to fifteen pages long, usually with at least one illustration. Not surprisingly, the kids loved it. (The middle one has become a huge fan of Hercules.) I got a book of Roman myths from the same publisher and that's worked well too. As a plus, I've gotten to explain how the Romans came after the Greeks and adopted many of their stories. We've also looked at some of the locations on maps. Maybe most importantly, we've talked about their daily lives and how they differed with our bustling technological society.
I followed this up with a history/picture book of Egypt, Greece and Rome that is aimed about third grade or so. This led to a book of Egyptian myths, though that hasn't been as popular. Last week I broke out an old book of 'Arabian Nights' and that has proved to be a winner. It seems that if a story has been passed down for more than a thousand years, it just might have some value to it.