I have to admit, I’m learning about history and geography with my children as I teach them. It doesn’t look like I’m alone either. Most adults I talk to admit they don’t remember much from their school days. I think that may be one reason I was so clueless about the needs out in the world. Especially the ones outside our US borders. One of the things I started doing when Moses came to stay with us was reading books about Africa. I wanted to know the history of Liberia and where Moses was coming from. I was amazed. Through that research, I became interested in the continent of Africa.
Now that we will have a son from Ethiopia, I wanted to know everything I could about that country. The kids and I started studying Ethiopia as part of their school. I found a blogger that felt the same way here at Rice and Peas. She is much more organized than I am, so I asked her if I could copy some of her ideas. Look at this sweet (and warm!) flannel blanket we made:
The kids are so proud of their Ethiopian flag blanket. Then, they had to try the diorama. They all worked together and tried to copy the one at Rice and Peas exactly – down to searching high and low for their little orange kitty that they had to include because there was one in the picture. I had to blow the picture up to screen size to see it, but kids have magnifying glass eyes that notice every detail. They filled the pot with coffee beans and have injera cooking over the orange yarn fire. I think what made it the most fun was that it was like a big scavenger hunt to find just the right item to represent what they were making.
We have been reading tons of stories and informational books about Ethiopia, both fiction and non-fiction. The next book I want to read with them is an American Girl book called Saba: Under the Hyena’s Foot by Jane Kurtz. We have enjoyed several of her other books. Many of them are short readers that can be read in one sitting. One of her longer books we liked was The Storyteller’s Beads. I read it to the kids so I could explain it as we went. I would advise that with younger kids because it can be hard for them to follow.
On one of our last visits with the social worker, she was talking to the kids and wanted to make sure they understood the poverty their brother was coming from and asked if they knew anything about that. They started spouting off everything they knew about Ethiopia, right down to statistics about the country and literacy rates. Then, they showed her the diorama they made. I think our sw was really pleased to see how genuinely interested our kids were in the country.