Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Myths and Legends

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.


  1. Which homeschooling book was it what you read, Peder? Was it The Latin-Centered Curriculum?

    If you need any book recommendations for kids along this line, please let me know. I have tons that I've sourced. Alfred J. Church is a particular author that comes to mind. He has written tons of books for kids based on Greek & Roman classics as well as moving into the Middle Ages. And Mary Pope Osbourne has a great retelling of The Odyssey (6 books) to at least give kids a background for the story. Marcia Williams publishes fantastic comics based on The Greek Myths, Homer, Chaucer, Shakespeare, etc. I normally absolutely despise comic books but hers are so well done. Okay, I'm stopping now. :-) If you need any more suggestions, just holler ......

    1. Cleo, thanks for the suggestions! I'll keep this list in mind. And if you have an recommendations for Shakespeare for kids, I'm all ears.

      The book is 'The Well Trained Mind' and it was kind of eye opening. I'll keep an eye out for the Latin-Centered Curriculum though. Sounds very interesting.

    2. Hmmm ..... for Shakespeare, the Marcia Williams comics are great. Also Charles and Mary Lamb's Tales from Shakespeare is a classic, as well as E. Nesbit's Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare and Leon Garfield's two volume Shakespeare Stories. I believe Naxos has Charles and Mary Lamb's stories on audiobook, but includes only a few of them. For a less professional reading, but one which includes all the stories, you can check out Librivox: The reader for this one is excellent and best of all it's free.

      Some people like the Lois Burdett Shakespeare for Kids, but I wasn't that impressed by them.

      For a fun type of activity book this one is good:

      And this is a great pop-up theatre where you can stage the plays:

      The Bard Game is tons of fun but it's not really for kids, although you can customize with children who are a little older:

      This should give you lots to look into. Best of luck!