Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Teaching a World View

We are moving into Ancient China.  This is going to be one of my favorite chapters in Story of the World.  After we learned about Siddhartha and the teachings of Buddha, I pulled out my tiny Buddha statues purchased on my trip to China.  The girls think they are very cool. They have taken up residence on my mantle.

My next step is to pull out my slides and give the girls a slide show presentation of my trip.  I have pictures of huge Buddha statues, temples, child monks and The Great Wall.  Somewhere I have my travel journal where I diligently recorded my thoughts and feelings about my trip.  I will have to find that as well.
This year we have learned about Greek Gods, Roman Gods, Buddha and soon Confucius.  At times it has been a bit frustrating for my girls to understand their religion in context of world history.   I hope that as we get to the birth of Jesus in Book 2 they will see where our religion has its place in the world.  I have had to answer questions such as:
  • Is our religion better than others?
  • Will people who are not Catholic still go to heaven?
  • Will people who don’t believe in God go to heaven?
  • Is our God the same God in all religions?

These are not easy questions to answer, especially since many of our close friends are not Catholic and admittedly question the existence of a God.  I want to raise my girls to be respectful and tolerant of other religions but at the same time it is hard to reconcile this with our Priest's sermon recently explaining that there is only one way to heaven and that way is through Jesus Christ.  I have considered asking our Priest for guidance on how to teach our children about other religions, giving them the gift of respect and tolerance while embracing our religion and teachings.  
Tonight we were discussing the many many things we have learned this year in history.  Lilah informed me that it a goal of hers to read her entire picture Bible.  I had no idea she was reading this in her spare time!  She came me narrations about Noah’s Ark, Adam and Eve, Cain and Able, The Tower of Babel and Sarah and Abraham.  What a lofty goal!  So although we have spent time learning about regions of the ancient world and the religions of the people who inhabited them, this reassured me that my girls will be able to understand that we can appreciate and understand other religions, knowing that without them we would not have come to where we are in our own.
If anyone has resources that would help me navigate this murky waters, I would be most appreciative....

Even though we still have ten more chapters to go in Volume 1 (about two weeks worth of reading.....) here are some of the things my girls recalled learning in their favorite subject this year in no particular order: Roman togas, the caste system of India, the teachings of Buddha, Greek Mythology especially Perseus and the Minotaur and Medusa, Asoka wanted a war but became a kind leader, Cyrus the Great, Alexander the Great, the Big Giant Heads (Olmecs) of Mexico, the Nazca drawings, Romulus and Remus fought to become King, the Romans renamed the Greek Gods and named many planets after them, Athens was a great place to live, to learn and to be in a democracy, Greece and Rome traded, Hannibal killed himself because he lost a war, Romans used cement for streets, Siddhartha  left his palace to find out what the city was like and later became Buddha, Gladiators, if people did not obey their rulers they would be killed, henna was used to cool skin and for decoration, Spartans grew to be strong and to fight,  The Odyssey, Percy Jackson, Plato.

                                                                                             Well done girls!


musicalmary said...

Jessica ~ since we are using SOTW the world, too, I am getting some of the same questions from my daughter. And, as her mom, I am having the same concerns as you. I found that using a strong Bible textbook during this time is helpful - we have Apologia's "Who is God? And Can I Really Know Him" and it is a no nonsense book about our Biblical Worldview. You might want to look into it - there are four volumes I think!

Jessica said...

Mary - I noticed this book on Apologia's site. We LOVE their science (botany). How do you use this book with your children? Is it a reference for you or do you use it as a text with your children?

mamak said...

If your looking on how to answer questions about the flip side of the coin, this may help. I know you are teaching about all faiths, and maybe non. Not sure, but maybe this will glean insight and explanation? I never know what to suggest about religion ( and lack of), so I hope this is helpfulish...

Jessica said...

MamaK - I am sure it will be most helpfulish!!!! I am going to check it out now!

Karen said...

It is a hard subject Jess. I have talked to our preacher before when Kei has questions like that. But it is good that they question. I love that our girls want answers and do not always blindly accept.

Love the things the girls remembered! I will have to do this with Kei. I love that we have been almost at the same place in History this year.

Helena said...

Jessica, one of the things I truly like and respect about you is how open you are; how you are so excited and willing to share the Whole World with your girls. I think it's beautiful, how your daughters are learning different beliefs, cultures, ways of being, while still holding onto their core selves. It is inspiring.

That to me is what life and learning is all about. Share the whole world, expose your kids to things different from you with openness and respect. Only good can come from that! Thank you for sharing these words—I loved them.

And I don't have suggestions, other than, Yeah, keep doing what you're doing! (Does that help, at all ? :) )

H-Mama said...

well done girls... and mama! that's a lot to recall. we are still poking along in our ancients, too. we love it. :)

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