Why Teach Mythology in classical Christian curriculum

greek mythology | classical Christian curriculum

Teaching mythology and ancient gods in classical Christian curriculum can be a little tricky to navigate with your kids. It’s something I debate every time it comes up. But I must say, some of our richest discussions have come from reading these myths about the ancient false gods. The contrast between our God and these mythical gods is so stark that it never fails to leave me filled with gratitude and worship.

I remember four years ago when we covered ancient history for the first time, I had a moment like this when we read The Rain Player, a myth about a Mayan god. The main character had to win at a game against the god to get forgiveness from the god and rain for his people. I was moved to tears as I shared with my little ones that our God does not require us to earn forgiveness; He gives it freely. That our God sends rain upon the just and the unjust to show His common grace to all mankind.

And this year, our second time through ancient history, we had another opportunity. As we finished up our chapters in Story of the World on the ancient Greeks, we were discussing a Greek myth about the Trojan War and the vanity of the gods, and I asked them: What are you thankful for about your God as you read these stories?

I loved their answers. One child mentioned that God was slow to anger, and the Greek gods were not. Another mentioned how God was loving, sending His son to die for men. We mentioned a few other differences. We ended our time in Greek mythology thankful and grateful for the true God.

It’s such a humbling, beautiful thing for me to be able to have these moments with my kids, to worship God together as we study nature and art and ancient civilizations. It’s not just what I’m teaching them; it’s what we share together.

I’m grateful for homeschooling. I’m grateful for my kids and their perspective on life. I’m grateful for Greek mythology and the conversations it sparks. I’m grateful for a God who is slow to anger, merciful, loving, and intentionally revealing Himself to us in every day moments.

 

Teaching with Crafts

Confession Time—crafts and art are both my joy and my bane. I get so excited writing them onto the calendar and anticipating the experience, but then the day of the craft, it so easy to make excuses for not doing them.

  • I don’t have the right supplies.
  • We’re running an hour late in school.
  • Littlest is into EVERYTHING.
  • I’m going to be making most of the craft.
  • I have a splitting head-ache, and it’s flat time to end the day.

But then, when I do finally muster the time, supplies, and energy to pull it off, I never regret it. I never finish our craft time thinking “we should have just skipped this one.”

Part of the reason is that our crafts are tied into our learning. It’s not just busy work. These crafts either teach during the craft, reinforce the lesson, or encourage the kids to repeat the lesson over and over for “fun” (e.g. puppet shows!).

One of our recent crafts that was a huge winner was our Mezuzah crafts that went with our Story of the World lesson on the Jewish Dispersion or Diaspora. In fact, for all of the above reasons and a few more, I’d actually put this craft off for nearly a week. But the kids kept begging. And of course, I had all of those empty Nerd candy boxes that I’d been saving. Thus, we finally pulled it together, and I’m very glad we did.

Mezuzah craft

First note, the instructions said to use matchboxes, but since I had a plethora of Nerd boxes after Halloween, I figured those ought to work just as well.

I hot glued the boxes together and wrapped them in foil. The kids cut out the shema and memorized it, then we stuffed it inside our boxes before gluing them closed. Then, the kids decorated them. With blue sticky tack, I hung them on their bedroom door frames.

Mezuzah craft

Mezuzah craft

For the rest of the day, as the kids ran in and out of their rooms, I heard them shouting the shema “Hear Oh Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One.” (Deut. 6:4)

Mezuzah craft

Mezuzah craft

What I didn’t count on was Littlest, watching his big brother and sister, insist on touching the box before I carry him to bed each night.

So when the next craft time rolls around and I have all my excuses handy (and good excuses at that), prayerfully I’ll remember just how life-changing craft time can be.

Notebooking the Lapbook Way

We’re doing a lot of notebooking this year. I love so much about lapbooking, but in the end, the space it takes was a real deal-killer this year. I am all about concise, confined homeschool. Besides, there’s the fact that my kids still pull out their notebooks from 2 years ago to show people, while the lapbooks stay untouched on the shelf. So, back to notebooking it is.

But I am trying to keep the spirit of lapbooking in mind. We are using, in a sense, a notebooking-hybrid.

Our notebooking pages this year are filled with pockets and mini-books, flaps and folds.

Notebooking the Lapbook Way

Notebooking the Lapbook Way

Some of our creativity is out of the pure of joy of creating, while some of it is born of necessity. For instance, our Story of the World activities include a lot of puppets and finger puppets. The kids love these and always opt to do the puppet-project if there is one. Storing all of those pieces takes a little creativity.

Notebooking the Lapbook Way

A super fun and effective way to “notebook” our finger puppets is to trace the kids hands, have them decorate their hand, then I cut the “finger” lines with an exacto, and we slip the puppets over the paper fingers. Too cute!

Notebooking the Lapbook Way

For us, it makes our memories easier to take with us and easier to share with others. (Plus, it helps me keep all the parts and pieces in one place.)

Note: Many of our lapbooking/notebooking elements are courtesy of the free downloads from Dynamic2Moms website. Check out their vast collection of resources for history.