I’m not sure how I came to love multiculturalism so much, but it’s in my blood now, especially since doing some travels in my late 20s and early 30s (when I travelled Europe and spent two years in Japan). I try my best to help my children learn about different areas of the world. I wish I had the means to take my family around the world to experience it first hand, but as I cannot do that we find other ways to expose our children to the world. Today I’m sharing 5 ways we add culture to our homeschool.
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If you know anything about me and my family, you’ll know that we LOVE learning about cultures! It isn’t always easy to experience them yourself when you’re living on an island, such as we are. The Emerald Isle is officially divided into two countries (the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland), and although the countries have only been separated for 100 years, they do have different cultures. And although it’s becoming more common for foreigners to move here, up in the North, we are still really a drop in the bucket.
Here are a few ways in which we bring culture into our homeschool, and I encourage you to try one (or more) out this week.
2) Learn a dance. Kallista really enjoys trying to learn the Bon-Odori dance at the Japan Society festivals, as well as watching YouTube videos and practicing them on her own; such was the case after she read Cambodian Dancer.
3) Books are a most fantastic way to introduce culture into the lives of children. I am so happy to see that there are more quality publishers dedicated to bringing culture to children. Tuttle Publishing is our favourite for Asian Books. If you can’t afford to create your own multicultural library at home, see what choices your local library has. And if they don’t have many, then request they bring some in. Libraries love to supply books that their patrons want to read!
Some of our favourite cultural books are:
- All About Thailand (read our Thailand review)
- A Cook’s Journey to Japan (read our Cook’s Journey review)
- Japanese Traditions (read our Japanese Traditions review)
- Cambodian Dancer: Sophany’s Gift of Hope (Read our Cambodian Dancer review)
- The Last Kappa of Old Japan (Read our Kappa review)
- If You Were Me and Lived in….the Mayan Empire: An Introduction to Civilizations Throughout Time (Volume 4) (read our Mayan review)
- We’re Roaming in the Rainforest (read our Rainforest review)
- Handa’s Surprise (read our Handa Review and activities here)
- Sky Dancers (read our review)
4) Do a cultural exchange. We’ve done a few of these, and they’re always very fun. You can use Postcrossing to get into the swing of things with postcards (and a couple of times this has led to further exchanges as well). Facebook groups, clubs, and other organisations may also have information on people who are willing to do an exchange. What can go into a cultural exchange? Just about anything. Here are a few examples of things that we’ve done:
- train/bus tickets
- travel brochures
- regional toys
5) Architecture can be an interesting way for children to learn about both history and culture. Look up and around the next time you’re in the city or out in the country. See what you see. Are there Victorian or Georgian styled houses or buildings?
What are houses made of? Are they brick, wooden, concrete? Look up the reasons why these materials are used. Do they help with containing fires in fireplaces, do the structures need to be flexible in the event of earthquakes? Or strong to protect the occupants from tornadoes?
How have the buildings been adapted to the geography, and how has the geography impacted on the culture? Have a look online to see how homes and buildings are constructed around the world.
There are so many more ways to add culture to your home and school, and this is just the tip of the iceberg! Have a look around our blog for hundreds of books and activities on culture, and we have even more in store for you this year!