This year our homeschool coop that meets on Wednesdays has been studying a variety of countries around our amazing world. Because I come from a place where my own international experiences led me to a place of greater awareness of social justice issues and the world beyond my own easy life, it has always been important to me to let my kids know that there is indeed a different reality than their own, that people do struggle for water, food, and even survival. I don’t want to instill fear in them, but rather a compassion that recognizes that when we have so much, we can share with others. I also want them to be aware of the wonders in the world around them, the differences in culture, religion, lifestyle, you name it.
Sometimes it is easy to wonder whether all of the picture books we read, the homeschool coop experiences of other cultures, the discussions about other lives in other lands have any impact when we are surrounded by so much ease, so much excess, and so much media.
This morning my girls have been creating a world in the living room. This world has a shelter made of couch cushions (that they and the baby must fit under in the case of a rainstorm. They eat outside at their small (stool) table, and haul water in a pot from the sink to the living room where they heat it on their bamboo (basket and green sticks) stove to kill any germs that might otherwise make them sick. They are harvesting their food from a local berry bush (the table) and gathering in the yard to eat their food.
It is a beautiful thing to see them integrate what I hope they are learning with their play, asking questions, now they are heading to the bathtub to try and bathe with only one pot of water. It’s exciting to see that maybe, just maybe, the things we have tried to present are taking root and growing into a world view that includes other realities.