Monday, August 19

Mansa Musa + African Mythology

Africa is the second largest continent and home to many tribes.  There are nearly 1,000 languages spoken on the continent!  Because of this, there are many different variations on the myths of this region, but many of them share the same story lines, and all of them have been passed down through oral storytelling.

Animal fables are the most popular type of African tales.  They use personification to bring the animals to human life, being wise, greedy, kind, cunning, or jealous as a way to teach a moral.  One of the most popular animals is Anansi, the spider, who is smarter than the gods!  Here is an animal tale about Hare the Thief...
Once upon a time, animals tended farms like humans. They harvested grain and stored it in huts. One year, after safely storing their grain, the animals set out to graze their cattle during the dry season. Hare pretended to leave, too. But, instead, he returned to the grain huts and ate his fill. By the time the other animals returned, there was no grain left. Hyena suggested that they use the moon to show them the culprit. It is well known that the moon sees everything, so the animal on which the moon first shined would be guilty. That night, Hare said he was suffering from aching muscles and asked Squirrel to sleep next to him to turn him over. He was, of course, worried that the moon would shine on him first. So he lay awake, watching for its beams. The moon did, in fact, shine on Hare, but he got up and walked away, so that only Squirrel lay in its light. Then, stretching and yawning, he pointed to Squirrel. "There's your culprit!," he shouted. And the other animals pounced on Squirrel and tore him to shreds.
African culture is all about the group, rather than individual people.  The whole group either suffers or prospers together.  Because of this, the heroes of African mythology are the ones who help their group out the most.

For this unit, we have three spine reads:

Access the complete unit study in the World Mythology Unit Studies Bundle!

Includes sixteen unit studies covering world mythologies. Each unit addresses a new topic, spanning ancient through modern history.
  • Each unit has introductory text, which will give the student basic background information about the topic at hand.
  • There are photographs and illustrations, and we have also included primary documents when available.
  • After this text, there are featured videos, which augment the background information and help make the topic more accessible for more visual students.
  • You will also find a short list of reading books, including a featured novel that the unit builds upon.
  • There are vocabulary words, places, and people to identify.
  • Reading comprehension, critical thinking questions, and writing assignments are included.
  • We add fun with hands-on activities and extra videos to watch that will bring the era to life.

These studies are directed toward upper grades students, but some have resources for younger students so that the whole family can work together. Our family has used unit studies as curriculum for many years, and we hope that your family will enjoy these, too!

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