Home education offers us the opportunity to fuse subjects around a central topic. This is not an unschooled approach, but rather an education of opportunity.
Currently we are in ancient Egyptian overload, but when you find a topic that interests the student it is probably best to squeeze as much out of the experience as possible. In this case the opportunities are vast: reading, writing, history, art (see picture at left), science and math.
While both boys, Primo and Secondo (12 and 8-11/12th, respectively) are reading many books on their own, they still enjoy story time. Our latest has been the Kane Chronicles, by Rick Riordan, which follows the adventures of Carter and Sadie Kane in a whirlwind battle against the forces of Chaos with the help of the ancient Egyptian gods. Even though Mr. Riordan takes some liberties with the historical background, there are some great opportunities to discuss how this compares to the archeological record.
Conveniently, we also happen to be revisiting history in The Story Of The World: Ancient Times, by Susan Wise Bauer, with Secondo. Interestingly, the fiction in Riodan’s books helps reinforce the history, possibly by allowing Secondo to envision that history is composed of dynamic events.
Secondo was delighted that the 3rd Magic Tree House book was Mummies In The Morning, so you can find his Book Review here.
For me, as an engineer, the opportunities to discuss mathematics and physics related to Egyptian architecture are, metaphorically speaking, Nirvana. Although, I am still thinking on how to approach it for a 9-year-old, but it may involve building pyramids at various angles and a little work with fractions; for Primo we can have more discussions about the precision of astronomical observations and relationships to π.
Science can further involve biology (anatomy, entomology, and chemistry); however, I not sure if GranolaGirl will enjoy having Scarabs (dung beetles) in the house, and mummifying the chicken may be out… but doesn’t that sound fun?
I guess the point here is that if you find a topic that interests the child, you might just find that you can work almost any of the core subjects into it, and probably have more fun than we deserve.