Gilgamesh – Babylonian Mythology main lesson

Recently Elki finished a main lesson on Babylonian mythology. I chose to read him the story of Gilgamesh and base the main lesson around this story. He made a main lesson book, which I think will probably be his last main lesson book. Now that he is getting older he is finding main lesson books a bit tedious (although he did really enjoy creating some of the pictures for Gilgamesh), and next year as we move onto History I think his recorded work will be much more independant and report or project based, really I want him to have much more input into how he expresses what he has learnt, although he does still need my direction and motivation.

For this block we used the story of Gilgamesh by Bernarda Bryson, which is really child friendly and easy to read.

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Each day we read a chapter, or two if they were short, and then the following day recalled the chapter (Elki is actually much better at this than me!) and then we sat down together, drew a picture to represent the chapter, and wrote a short summary. I asked Elki what picture he wanted to draw each day and we drew together, rather than I me preparing a picture beforehand. I also wanted him to write the summaries mostly on his own, and as the block progressed he became much more at ease with this and increasingly confident with his writing.

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Elki’s drawing and summary for Uruk of the Walls

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My drawing

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Elki’s drawing and summary for The Luring of Enkidu

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My drawing

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Elki’s drawing and summary for The First Dream, and The Terrible Battle

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My drawing

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Elki’s drawing and summary for The Monster Humbaba

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My drawing

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Elki’s drawing and summary for The Wooing of Ishtar, and The Bull of Heaven (he most certainly enjoyed drawing battle scenes the most!)

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My (unfinished) drawing

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Elki’s summary for The Vengeance of Ishtar (he really wasn’t up to drawing a picture on this day so we just left it).

For the first few summaries of the block I would ask Elki what happened and lead him on through the chapter as he developed the summary. I would write this down and then he would copy it into his main lesson book (he is not a confident speller and usually needs my help with any difficult or new words). As we progressed through the block I wanted to work with him more on his spelling and sentence construction so I changed how we wrote the summaries. I got Elki to write each summary completely on his own, I would then go through what he had written with him correcting any mistakes and telling him why they were wrong, and then I would rewrite the summary and he would copy this into his book. It was a more time consuming and tiring way to write the summaries but I really feel that it was a much more helpful way for Elki to develop his writing and spelling skills, and give him more confidence.

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Elki’s drawing and summary for The Scorpian Men (he put a lot of effort into this picture and really enjoyed creating his representation of the scorpian man).

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My drawing

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Elki’s drawing and summary for Sabitu, and How Gilgamesh Crossed the Bitter River.

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My drawing

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Elki’s drawing and summary for Utnapishtim, and The Secret of Utnapishtim

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My drawing

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Elki’s drawing and summary for The Magic Weed, and Gilgamesh at last Finds Enkidu (he put a lot of effort into this, his last drawing, and was very proud of his gate of the underworld).

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I chose to draw something different for the last chapter, Gilgamesh lying down to join Enkidu.

Elki really enjoyed the story of Gilgamesh, the battles and adventures appealed to him. I was quite emotional reading the last chapter! Over the Summer we are going to just read through the rest of mythology – a small amount of Indian, and then Roger Lancelyn Green’s books on Egyptian mythology, Greek mythology, and I also have his version of The Tale of Troy. We’ll probably just read these as bedtime stories, and during the days I hope to cover some maths with both of the children. Then next year we’ll be moving onto History, which Elki is eagerly awaiting, and will really speak to where he is at right now 🙂

2 thoughts on “Gilgamesh – Babylonian Mythology main lesson

  1. Danielle, Thank you for sharing your work on Gilgamesh. I am about to start my planning for next year when we will cover this block so your post is very timely.
    I agree, there are many ways to work with the material besides main lesson books and it does get repetitive after a while. It seems to me that we miss the point of homeschooling if we just copy the same old things the schools do every single time….So I look forward to watching this space and seeing Elki’s creative responses to history next year. Wishing you a lovely summer break, Cathy

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