And now for something completely different…

We’ve started our geography curriculum! I’m so excited. Some of it’s because I created it myself and I’m looking forward to seeing how it goes. Some of it’s because I have it very tightly organized, so I’m looking forward into delving into the different countries of the world, instead of doing a more loosely organized core like Sonlight’s early cores are (nothing against the early cores, I’m just excited about doing something really focused). And, honestly, some of it is just the excitement I always have about moving on to something new. Regardless, I’m excited!

We’re starting by spending a few weeks doing some general geography stuff. We’re reading the first 14 sections of a book called, “A Child’s Introduction to the World,” which deal with stuff like the earth’s axis, latitude and longitude, time zones, geographical features, etc. We’re also reading the more general parts of “A Life Like Mine.” Both books also have country-specific sections that we’ll get to when we start going country by country.

“A Life Like Mine” is rather frustrating to read. It has 14 sections (so that much aligns neatly with “A Child’s Introduction to the World”) that portray different aspects of life, like education, water, houses, etc. However, it presents each of these things as a need and focuses on the idea that children deserve all of these things, and often mentions UNICEF’s role in providing these for children around the world (the book is published in conjunction with UNICEF). I don’t really like how it does that, or how it treats some of the subjects. I won’t argue that access to health care isn’t a good thing, or that it doesn’t save lives, but I will disagree that everybody is entitled to see a doctor when they are ill. Doctors are not slaves, and their knowledge is very specialized and takes a great deal of time, effort, and money to achieve. While many doctors volunteer their time and many people around the world are loving enough to donate to charities so that doctors can reach those who can’t afford to pay, people are not *entitled* to receive for free the work of somebody else without compensation. They receive it because of the love, goodwill, and charity of others, but they are not entitled to it. There are other things that are similar, and it definitely pushes a UNICEF agenda, especially in the general parts.

I would try to edit the politics out of these parts when I would read it to Elisabeth, focusing, say, not on people being entitled to healthcare, but on what kinds of healthcare people receive around the world, the discrepancy between what people can access in richer countries and what they can in poorer countries, the different kinds of diseases that are threats to children, etc. But Emily is a good reader and could tell that I wasn’t reading exactly what was on the page, and this frustrated her. So finally I sat her down and explained that the book has an agenda, here’s what it is, here’s why we disagree with it and don’t want to read it word for word and have it influence you without you knowing it, etc. She seemed to understand, so now instead of skimming parts I don’t like, I point out what they say, what I see as the bias, what *my* opinion is on the topic, and then we move on. So she can hear UNICEF’s bias and mine as well and see where we differ. Hopefully that will work out as we go along. I didn’t really intend to get into all that with a 5-year-old, but she always surprises me with her maturity.

We’re still reading “The House at Pooh Corner” as well, trying to finish it up. When we do, we’re going to read “Here’s a Penny.” Pooh was from Core A, a last book that we didn’t quite finish when we decided to save the rest of it for gaps during the geography curriculum. Penny is from the new Core A, which I bought for fun. I figure we’ll read as much of Penny as we can until we’ve finished our geography overview, and then when we go into our first country (well, not technically a country, as we start with Native America), we’ll move it to a bedtime book. And that’s about where we are right now!

Stay tuned for our next post, where I’ll talk about an advent program we’re doing, plus my visit to see parents/grandparents! I need to head to bed now if I want to be able to remain lucid during the night when I have to wake to feed Megan, and also get up a decent hour tomorrow to take the kids to a library storytime.