Ancient Korea

For our first-grade homeschool history, we are using Story of the World, Vol. 1. It’s a chronological world history that highlights stories and people from every continent. I love chronological history; it just makes so much sense to me. And I love this curriculum, as does our son; it has great stories, including some Bible history; coloring sheets, map work, and lots of activities to do. But I’ve made a couple of adjustments. First, I supplemented the first couple of weeks because I wanted to start with Creation. And second, I’m adding Korean history as it falls in the chronology since it is something I think our son ought to know.

So today was our first lesson on Korea. I’m basing my lessons on a timeline for Korea that I found on the Korea Society web site. I printed it out when I found it, and unfortunately can’t find the link now. But I have included some timeline sites below.

Given that it’s hard to date the earliest history, I decided to include the first lesson on Korea after lessons on the settling of ancient Africa. This lesson was very pieced together. I largely used a Korean history book, written in both Korean and English, that we purchased from our Korean school.

As with almost all cultures, people began to populate Korea as they settled down to farm and raise livestock after being hunters and gatherers. Growing rice was introduced into Korea as villages began to be established. The history book says that these early Korean settlers are known as the Yemaek people or the Han people of Korea. The history book has photos of axe heads, mandolin-shaped bronze daggers, and early cave paintings that have been found on the Korean peninsula.

We also talked about “dolmen,” which are stone structures (think a smaller versions of Stonehenge) that marked the graves of military generals in early Korea. Many of these remain mostly in what is now North Korea.

You can see a photo of a dolmen on the right side of this page: www.mygoguryeo.com/history.htm. This dolmen is located on the island of Kanghwa(do, which means island) and is dated to be from the 20th century BC.

Another site with information about the dolmen: http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/CU/CU_EN_8_5_5_6.jsp

As a notebook page for this lesson, I had our son draw a picture of a dolmen. Other activities could include building a dolmen out of clay, filling in a map with locations of famous dolmen, crafting a mandolin-shaped dagger out of cardboard, or recreating an ancient Korean cave painting (which we actually studied Korean cave paintings as an addition to a Story of the World lesson on pictographs and petroglyphs).

Here are some general Korean history links that can be great resources:

http://www.koreasociety.org/102_k-12_teachers/103_by_subject_area/116_history/view_category.html

http://www.timeforkids.com/destination/south-korea/history-timeline

http://www.mygoguryeo.com/

http://koreanhistory.info/

www.pbs.org/hiddenkorea/history.htm

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