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!