Friday, April 09, 2010

Aeneid Class: Week 8: Dido's Trick

This post relates to my literature class for children at Homeschool Out of the Box co-op in Norfolk, VA. This semester we are reading The Aeneid, using Penelope Lively's book In Search of a Homeland, and other supplemental materials. For other lessons, please click the Aeneid tag at the bottom of this post.

Welcome: Our quiz today covered the Law of the Twelve Tables, so we had twelve questions in the quiz. I experimented today with letting one of the children make up the quiz, and it was fun! All you have to do is read some of the fast facts as they are, for true answers, and mess up some of them in amusing ways, for false answers. After a few halts and restarts, we got the hang of it and had a great quiz. So, this is yet another way of reviewing the facts -- make them wrong on purpose. If you are working on this curriculum with one child at home, I encourage you to let them quiz *you* by creating some false answers to trip you up. Always entertaining. I was relieved to find that one of the kids making a false answer included laundry detergent among the incorrect details. Hehehe.

Memory Work: Today we sang our "Arma Virumque Cano" song all the way to the end, and also our "Friends, Romans, Countrymen" song all the way to the end. Children are memorizing! Citizenship coins are being earned! Congratulations to all of you moms for following up at home and making this happen. The kids will have a chance to show off their oratorial skills at the Rostra on May 11.

Dido's Trick:

We used scissors and a piece of paper to recreate the legendary trick that Dido supposedly played on a local king, when trying to get land on which to build her city of Carthage. Keep in mind, this trick has also been attributed to Alexander the Great and probably other historical figures as well, but it makes a great parlor trick so we learned it anyway! Thanks to Miranda and Louis' dad for pointing me to a place online where we could print out a template to use for this -- it made the project so much easier.

The idea is that you can cut a hole in a small piece of paper that you can walk through standing up. Here is the template from As long as you never cut through a T, and stay on the lines, you will end up with a huge circle of paper that you can, indeed, step through. I would love to see some enterprising young person try this trick with an even smaller piece of paper and even smaller strips -- it would be neat to see how close we could get to encompassing Carthage!


The fast facts for this week are about Carthage, and we talked a lot about its geography and history of animosity to Rome. Did it all start with a failed romance between Dido and Aeneas? Who knows?

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