Hi everyone! It’s the end of the month, so it’s time to share our living history unit for this month! Our Living History figure for August was Nelson Mandela.
We began by reading the book Nelson Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom with the kids to give them a background about Mandela’s life and experiences. We talked a lot about what apartheid was and why it was so unfair to black people in South Africa. We all agreed that it was a good thing that apartheid no longer exists. The kids were also surprised to learn that a similar policy was in place in the United States until a few decades ago.
Following the lead of the Teacher’s Guide for “Long Walk to Freedom”, we decided to make a timeline of the crucial events in Mandela’s life. To get all the kids involved, we had the boys write the years and Tigger write the notable event that occurred that year.
Our timeline highlights were:
1918 – Mandela born
1925 – Started school
1937 – Went to college
1944 – Joins the ANC (African National Congress)
1948 – Apartheid begins
1956 – Charged with treason
1960 – ANC banned
1964 – Sent to prison
1990 – Released
1994 – Elected President
After our timeline was complete, we began discussing the Nobel Peace Prize, which was awarded to Mandela for his work in behalf of equal rights in South Africa. We asked the kids what qualities they thought a person needed to have in order to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Here’s what they came up with:
Pooh said the person must be loving, Roo said that the person had to show respect, and Tigger said that the Nobel Peace Prize recipient should serve others. Then we asked them who they thought deserved to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Pooh said that he thought Jesus should receive it. We couldn’t agree more!
Tigger did some research on who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010 and then we made our own Nobel Peace Prize. The kids added their own decorative touches. Pooh drew a fox, Roo drew a person with “a lot of legs”, and Tigger added the ASL sign for “I love you”. I guess those things are somehow related to peace?
We enjoyed learning about Nelson Mandela with the kids this month!
That is so cool. I love how kids bring the unexpected. I am sure all of those things are related to peace. We have just had a conversation about how white settlers wiped out Native Americans and are talking about racism and my kids were horrified and totally confused – ‘but why?’ which gives me great hope.
I read a quote somewhere that said that racism is learned behavior and that’s absolutely true. Racism doesn’t make sense to kids, because it’s not sensible.
That is a great quote. One of the nice things about home schooling is missing all the rubbish that would have come from school. It isn’t sensible and it is despicable, the same as anyway of pigeon-holing people. My dad brought us up better than that and I have a sister (fostered originally) is black and we didn’t realise until we started school this was unusual.
When we were thinking about the children who are now ours. Our social worker had a long (dull) conversation with us about our son who is very probably mixed race (or ‘dual heritage’, as she called it, which makes him sound like a stately home!). By this point we had already seen photos and dvds of the children but she kept on and on about it and my husband and I were bemused. It was fairly obvious when we saw the first picture but when we watched the dvd we didn’t see a blonde girl and a brown boy – all we saw was our children. Right from the first moment they were our children and we had said no to other sets of siblings previously and we had never had that feeling before. We basically had to convince her we would be an ‘inclusive’ family and love him as much as his sister ‘despite’ his skin tone. I still feel it was a very demeaning and racist way to talk about him and my husband asked if she was worried about our ability to love a child and she said ‘no’ and he said ‘then I don’t really understand why you think we won’t love this child’. That was a weird day.
It never occurred to us it would be a ‘problem’ and it isn’t. He is just the handsomest boy in the world and our son. His skin is beautiful and very, very brown as he has been outside in the sun for months.
I am proud that they are learning it doesn’t make sense and a bit like them I am confused by people who want to cause hurt in the world to any ‘group’ of people. I don’t know where my family would be ‘grouped’ as we are a mixed bunch.