Earned Knowledge, L3, P4

The period that followed this collapse (also called “the great catastrophe”) was a period of reorganization… of reset. It is usually called “the Dark Age of the Greeks,” and it ran for about four hundred years… until 800 BC or so. In most places there were no rulers at all, and people simply organized themselves in families.

And so, here’s the map we mentioned earlier, displaying these events:


Lesson Plan:

Again, proceed through the material slowly. I suggest that you go through a portion of it (as much as you’re sure sinks in), then go back to where you started and start asking and taking questions. And as we’ve said before, try to find and delve into the why of things.

You, the instructor, should not be expected to know everything, and you should be comfortable saying, “I don’t know the answer to that, but I’ll see if I can find it.” Or, better, still, “I don’t know, but let’s find out;” and then show the child or children how you find answers.

At the appropriate part of the lesson, define the Near East for them, with maps. (It was purposely left undefined in the lesson.) By the time you’re done, the student(s) should be able to find it on their own, and to show you the locations of Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Canaan. They should also be able to find Greece, Anatolia and (as previously) the Persian Gulf.

Have them draw maps and trace the movements of people from Anatolia into Europe, Sumer and Crete. Also discuss smaller groups of them traveling east (which some did).

Identify Asia Minor, the Greek mainland, Cyprus and the Levant on maps. Have them trace a map and define the trade routes of the Minoans. Discuss the fact that ancient traders preferred to stay close to coastlines rather than venturing further out to sea. Discuss why they might have done that.

Design some Minoan clothing. And definitely explain what is meant by “symmetrical, geometric designs.”

Discuss the concept of inertia covered on page 6.

Discuss the concept of related groups, like the Hebrews and Phoenicians. For younger children the discussion should probably revolve around multi-generation families, a more sparsely-populated world and living apart from one another. For older children you can delve into DNA and language groups. If you aren’t familiar with language groups or DNA, it won’t take you long to find the basic facts.

Discuss the indented paragraph beginning with “The chariot maker’s guild defended any change that would require fewer chariots.” Run through the relationships involved in what we’d call “military procurement,” and make them understand how people in such positions will nearly always defend them.


Here’s a section I’ll be adding to the introduction:

Teaching and learning should be light rather than heavy, fun rather than enforced. And it should not involve long, difficult sessions.

To put it simply, five or more hours of instruction per day is far too much. It’s grossly inefficient and it’s discouraging to the students. It trains them to believe that learning is hard, long and unpleasant; precisely the opposite of what we’d like them to believe.

My experience says that more than a few hours of instruction per day is too much, certainly for younger children. Every child is different, of course, but as a general rule, I think that statement holds up. On top of that, more than an hour or two of instruction should probably be broken into separate sessions, with a substantial break between them. (Again, adapted to the child.)

The compulsory schools of the West take more than 14,000 hours to teach reading, writing, math and a smattering of other subjects. That is so grossly inefficient that I think we should scrap the model outright.

At the end of this process, you want your students to feel confident that they understand important things, and that they are able to learn whatever new things they need to.


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