Thursday, December 19, 2013

Homeschool History, Religion, and Culture Studies (Part 7): Ancient Americas

Over the past few months, I have been studying the Ancient Americas (in other words, the civilizations and cultures of North, Central, and South America that existed before the arrival of Columbus and the Europeans). I attended a fabulous really fun and interesting class on this topic led by a very nice and clever professor from City University of New York, Wendy Raver. Every week, our class of about 10 homeschooled kids met at the Metropolitan Museum of Art or the American Natural History Museum or the National Museum of the American Indian. We would talk about different Ancient American cultures and civilizations and look at amazing artifacts. We covered the aleo-Indians; first nation tribes in Canada; the Olmec, Mayan, Teotihuacan, Monte Alban, Toltec and Aztec in Mexico and Central America; the Chavin, Moche, Inkan and other Andean peoples in South America; and the ancient Caribbean.

Outside of class, my family and I read the relevant sections from Gloria Fiero's Humanistic Tradition (the book we always follow for our history studies) and then we read a bunch of books and watched some great documentaries.

And of course, my mum, Grandma, and I traveled to Guatemala last month and got to see the Ancient Maya ruins at Tikal!! We made a movie (see above) while we were there, inspired by the Popol Vuh: the ancient text of the Maya culture.


The Popol Vuh 
Charles C. Mann, Before Columbus: The Americas of 1491
Joy Hakim, A History of US: The First Americans: Prehistory-1600. Volume 1
Emma Carlson Berne, Christopher Columbus: The Voyage That Changed the World
Elizabeth Mann, Tikal
Laurie Coulter, Secrets in Stone: All About Maya Hieroglyphs
Dorothy Rhoads, The Corn Grows Ripe
Fiona MacDonald, Inca Town
Ted Lewin, Lost City: The Discovery of Machu Picchu
Vicki Cobb, This Place is High
Ann Cameron, The Most Beautiful Place in the World
Ann Cameron, Colibri

Documentaries and Movies

The Popol Vuh (episode of the Invitation to World Literature series on
Native America Before European Civilization (
Michael Woods' Conquistadors: Cortes
Michael Woods' Conquistadors: Pizarro
Michael Woods' Conquistadors: Orellano
Michael Woods' Conquistadors: Cabeza de Vaca
Werner Herzog, Aguirre Wrath of God
Secrets of the Ancients (BBC documentary about the Olmec)
Dawn of the Maya (

1 comment:

Kate said...

Love the movie!!!!!!