Literature Extension Activities for The Children's Homer

This post is part of the 31 MORE Days of Literature Unit Studies series. You can find all of the links to the thirty-one studies in this post. If you’d like to use these ideas to create your own unit study, this post has step-by-step instructions as well as a free unit study planner. (Want to know more about what, exactly, a unit study is? This post will help.)

While you’re reading and working on your unit study, you can download this free printables pack of graphic organizers for reading. It has a plot chart, venn diagram, KWL chart, two mini book report organizers, a character analysis chart, a plot outline chart, and a reading response sheet where students can record facts while reading.

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Although the original Iliad and Odyssey are a little too advanced for most kids- and many college students and adults- they’re great for learning about the ancient Greeks, their culture, their myths and legends, and their gods. Instead of wading through those classics, you can read The Children’s Homer with your upper elementary and middle grade kids. It will give a great taste of Homer’s original stories- perhaps preparing kids to read those later. It’s also great to use as a springboard to learn more about Ancient Greece.

Some of these activities can be done using printables in this FREE packet- Printable Resources for The Children’s Homer by Padraic Colum. You can download your packet here.

Book Information

Title- The Children’s Homer

Author- Padraic Colum

Recommended ages- Upper Elementary/middle grades

Synopsis- In this children’s version, the story begins by following Telemachus who is looking for his father Odysseus who left for the Trojan War twenty years ago and never returned, although the war ended ten years ago. In Part One Telemachus visits the famed Helen of Sparta for whom the war was fought, and Part One is largely a telling of stories from the Trojan War.

In Part Two, readers pick up with Odysseus where he is currently stuck on an island with the nymph Calypso. He could stay and be quite happy on this island where he was stranded, but he longs to go home. So he’s helped along the way by Calypso. This part of the story recounts his journey and adventures back to his home.

Activities to Use While Reading the Book

The book can be a little difficult to understand because of the huge array of characters in the stories. Keep a log of all of the characters as you read. Record who each person was and how they relate to Telemachus and Odysseus- the main characters around which whom the story revolves. – Included in packet

Another confusing thing about the book can be the way that the story “flashes back” to previous events. Keep a timeline to help you understand when events are happening. (The timeline in the printable packet has main events noted and allows readers to record other events in relation to them.)- Included in packet

Use this free printable map to map out Odysseus’s travels.

Odysseus is an interesting character. As you read analyze his character by recording information about him.- Included in packet

This free study guide has some great vocabulary words and discussion questions. (Click on the picture to open it up in a free google doc.)

This free set of flashcards on Study Stack will help kids recall the various characters in the story and how they’re related.

Ancient Greece Resources

This page is full of resources about Ancient Greece for kids. You can find people, the gods and goddesses, places, and events.

Duscksters also has a while page of information about Ancient Greece for kids.

The Ancient Greece page on History for Kids has information about Greek life and culture as well as inventions, famous people, and the gods and goddesses.

Find ten facts about Ancient Greece- as well as some cool pictures- from National Geographic Kids.

BBC Bitesize has an awesome Ancient Greece resources page with seven interactive lessons kids can read and four short videos they can watch.

On Activity Village’s Ancient Greece page you can find printables, coloring sheets, craft ideas and more.

Other Books and Resources

Homeschool Share has a free Ancient Greece unit study/lapbook.

If you want a unit study with minimal prep, try the Ancient Greece Online Unit Study.

TOOLS OF THE ANCIENT GREEKS: A Kid’s Guide to the History & Science of Life in Ancient Greece by Kris Bordessa

Don’t miss the other literature units in this series!

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