Mystery of History: Phoenician Trade Routes

Mondays are for Homeschooling

Ahoy, Mates!  It’s time to sail the high seas along the trade routes established by the Phoenicians!

But before we get too far along in our sea quest, you should know you are reading this (and I am writing this) in part thanks to the Phoenician alphabet.  In fact, many educators, home and otherwise, have used their system, from which we get the word phonics, to teach children hither and yon to read, write and otherwise communicate!

So with that hearty hello …

Welcome to Phoenicia!

SS Tinkertoy: Phoenician Trading Ship #homeschool @SuzBroadhurst


The Phoenicians were big into sailing – and trading – since their land (now generally known as Lebanon) had a wall of mountains to the east, a sliver of beach to build on, and a whole set of seas to travel upon.

Before our homeschool co-op first- and second-graders could set sail, they had to know what they were after.  Since Phoenicians built port cities, we felt it fitting they built a wharf.  And some sailboats.  So, they needed to trade what they had an abundance of for supplies from other seaports:

Phoenician Trading Cards



Loading their cardboard boats with Phoenician exports, such as purple fabric, stinky dye made from rotting sea snails (our version concocted with Worchestershire sauce, garlic, air freshener, dishsoap and a few other household liquids – even double bagged it stunk!), cedar (from the teacher’s closet offering moths a chance to eat her clothes for a day), glass, pottery, perfume, and some dried fish, which appeared in the form of fabric due to the limitations of the teacher’s nausea factor.

Phoenician Trading Ship


Let the trading begin!

Phoenician Ships Passing in the Coffee Room


In true Phoenician fashion, it was reported that not all trades were made fairly and that once-friends’-now-not-so-much ships were on the way to reclaim less-than-fair-trade goods.  Hence, the faces of the Phoenicians have been blurred for their own protection.

Mid-Seas Trading


Once the seafarers arrived safely back in home port, the wharf building began in earnest.  Corkboard – from a neighbor’s home renovation project – and gold paper – from a friend’s penchant for gold foiled coffee – along with pointy sticks and corks, etc, made for some downhome wharf construction.

Building the Phoenician Wharf


Green sails, short pointy wooden skewers and some wine corks …

Phoenician Ship Building Supplies


… turned into mighty sailing vessels, surely more sturdy than those designed for 3-hour cruises.

Let's Go Phoenician - Cedar, a Ship and Some Fish


The Phoenicians completed their trading ventures by trading items brought from home:  coupons for free drinks (at local hamburger joints), a monster truck, little pets with Sumerian eyes trading cards, a bag of note paper and pencils.

All in all, it was a fine day for sailing, for trading and most of all for young merchants chanting:

Phoenicians!  Phoenicians!  Phoenicians!

Dear Snail Dye!

I didn’t even know about the Phoenicians until a few years ago!  And these little ones know they are an important part of history, both phonetically … and Biblically.

Did you know the Phoenicians were Canaanites?  Now that opens a whole ‘nother can of snails, doesn’t it?

More Homeschool Co-op Ideas

Happy Sails … and Snails!

Bye for now!

REALITY CHECK: Although Hurricane Sandy has graciously passed Florida by, it appears she may be meeting up with a winter storm in the Northeast.  On her way off our coast, she blew us cool kisses of autumnal hope, as we prepare for our annual Light the Night celebration!

Thoughts ... Insights ... Questions?