Ancient China: Zhou Dynasty and Chinese Religions

We have been slowly moving our way through the Chinese dynasties at one per week, learning about the unique features of each and any of their well-known inventions.  This week we looked at the Zhou (pronounced Joe) dynasty.  The older children weren’t well with the same infection the younger ones had earlier in the week, so I kept it light and simple.

I had the children read up on the Zhou dynasty using this website.  I bowed to pressure and they completed the follow-up multiple choice question.  Weird what my children find fun!

Main Religions or Philosophical thinking

My main goal for this week was to introduce the children to the religions which were introduced during this time period:

  • Buddhism
  • Confucianism
  • Taoism

We have a few books on world religions which the children used to obtain a quick outline of each:

   

After they had read all they could I asked them some questions orally, to check for understanding, and then I gave them 12 or so pictures and some card, each piece labelled with one of the religions.  They needed to match the pictures to the religions to create a collage type note page:

Our picture note pages on each religion
Our picture note pages on each religion

Did you know that each religion has its own form of the ‘Golden Rule’?  We used this page:

  • From Confucianism
    Never do to others what you would not like them to do to you.
  • From Buddhism
    Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.
  • From Taoism
    Regard your neighbour’s gain as your own gain, and your neighbour’s loss as your  own loss.

Assignment: Read each “Golden Rule” below and compare and contrast the wording.  How similar is the advice? What is different? Which version(s) “speak” in a  compelling way to you? Why? (from the website).  We simply discussed this.

Chain Stitching

Another invention which occurred during the Zhou dynasty was chain stitch embroidery, which dates back to 1100BC.

This was very timely as the girls have just started showing an interest in embroidery, even doing some stitching for a lady in our church who had just lost her mum.  However, as I have never taught them they used what they knew, which was plain stitch and nylon thread.  It has been on my mind to teach them a little about how to embroider since then and this afforded us the perfect opportunity.  We used this little picture to help us:

Source

I had them fetch their embroidery rings, and gave one to T11 to use also and set about teaching them chain stitch:

C10 trying her hand at chain stitch
C10 trying her hand at chain stitch

Here are some of their practise stitches:

Didn't they do well?
Didn’t they do well?

We drew a simple design on paper and transferred it to their material using a light pencil and then proceeded to stitch:

We chain stitched the word 'change' and the children are planning to decorate it with chain stitched coins and a picture of a house.  I will then hem it and attach it to some hemp and place it around our sealed jar we are making to put loose change in to pay off our mortgage
We chain stitched the word ‘change’ and the children are planning to decorate it with chain stitched coins and a picture of a house. I will then hem it and attach it to some hemp and place it around our sealed jar we are making to put loose change in to pay off our mortgage!

For me, although this was an academically very easy week (due to illness), because we have learnt a new skill which will last a lifetime, it feels a really worthwhile week.  The girls will now be able to embroider cloth properly because their mother has finally found the time to teach them!!

Our Chinese meal this week was crispy shredded duck and pancakes:

Crispy shredded duck with plum sauce, cucumber strips and spring onions
Crispy shredded duck with plum sauce, cucumber strips and spring onions

Next, we’ll be studying the Qin dynasty and the inventions associated with that period in China’s history.

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17 comments

  1. My daughter saw the embroidery lesson (something she loves!) and asked if she can fly over and homeschool with you for a week 🙂 I love what you did with the Zhou dynasty, and also the “match the pictures to the religion”. How interesting that there are so many parallels!

  2. I wish I could get the girls interested in embroidery! The chain stitch sign looks great – it’s so nice to be able to incorporate what you learn into your home and life 🙂

  3. Embroidery is going to be a challenge for me, since I can’t sew to save my life! But I suppose I’ll learn alongside Tiger when we come to this, since it’s a really interesting lesson. The girls have done very well with their chain stitches.

    1. I love sewing, and used to be fairly good, but I found this much harder than the children! In fact T11 was the best- he had the smallest, neatest stitches….you never can tell!

  4. You are inspiring me to go back and study Chinese history with my children. We did it 3 years ago. All those books are in boxes so someday.

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