Thursday, February 16, 2006

Egypt, a puppy & yellow dresses

The other day Chris was watching something on t.v. (the news???) about someone finding a new tomb in Egypt. They were showing pyramids & the like, and being the inquisitive 5 1/2 year old that she is, Gracie started asking questions about it.

Now, off topic a little, I read alot of blogs. (surprise, surprise, huh?!!?) Some of them I laugh at, some I roll my eyes at, some of them I cry at, some I quickly exit and others I bookmark to read often. Some of the ones I read are about homeschooling & unschooling. Unschooling, from what I understand, is basically a choice to let your children choose what they want to learn and when they want to learn it. If they're interested in it, they study it. If they're not interested in it, they don't study it. Not exactly my style~for the record. I am not a homeschooler or an unschooler, but I do read blogs about them from time to time. Some of my friends do, or plan to, homeschool and that's fine. I will be respectful of that decision just as I hope they are, and will be, respectful of my decision not to. I will not say that I'll never choose one of these options for my children, because one day I might, but not today. We're very happy with our public school situation. We have seen Gracie blossom in so many ways this year; it is absolutely amazing! We were worried about putting her into a situation where God wouldn't be mentioned often, but she is growing spiritually each & every day despite the fact that she's not directly learning about Him at school. Her thirst for knowledge about God and her desire to keep learning about Him is wonderful. I truly believe it would be ignorant of me to say that I'll never homeschool just as I truly believe it would be ignorant of someone to say that they'll never put their child in a public school. That's probably a whole other post, though! (Right, JB?)

Anyway, even though unschooling is certainly not the option we have chosen for Gracie, for many reasons, I do like the concept of paying attention to what your children are interested in and giving them opportunities to study those things more in depth. Because of this, Gracie & I went to the public library after school, along with Katie of course, and checked out some books on Egypt. It was a little difficult to find ones that I felt were appropriate for her age, but we got 3. (I plan to search the library's site from home and choose some more.) One was a "Ms. Frizzle" book, minus the Magic School Bus. ("Ms. Frizzle's Adventures Ancient Egypt") Ms. Frizzle was on summer vacation and took a trip to Egypt. Gracie has always loved that series so that one was great. (My 2nd graders LOVED the Magic School Bus series, also. I've had to throw many away because they were literally read to pieces!) We also picked out a DK Eyewitness Book named "Ancient Egypt" that has tons of pictures and one called "The Mystery of the Egyptian Mummy." I haven't looked at that one much yet.

I have to say that I'm no expert on Egypt! Her daddy will come in quite handy in learning about this kind of stuff, I'm sure! He used google maps to show her where Egypt is located. Being the GIS Specialist that he is by trade, he used Google Earth to show her a 3D picture of where it is. (Chris said there is a link to that, but you would have to download it.) Very cool! I was very surprised when looking at the Ms. Frizzle book and the Eyewitness book with her, though. I really thought she'd be grossed out or scared when reading about the mummification process. The pictures in the Eyewitness book are quite weird looking. She wasn't at all, though. Of course, I'm sure she doesn't grasp the reality of what it really means to take out the brain and throw it away.....

I did find it a little hard to read about the gods & goddesses to her. I kept interrupting myself to remind her that this is what many of them believed & still do, but that it's not right....that we know there's only 1 true God. I tried to explain that they do things differently in Egypt and that sometimes people do things differently and it's wrong but that sometimes people do things differently and it's not's just different. We barely touched on Islam (mainly because I didn't really know what to tell her about it, although she was very interested in what a Muslim was!) I used that opportunity to tell her that sometimes people will believe things that we know are wrong and that we don't have to agree with them but that we shouldn't be hateful to them. If we're nice, maybe we'll have the chance to share about God with them. (We talk about this alot when it comes to classmates, too. There are some who get on "yellow" and "red" alot~which isn't good~and she doesn't have to play with them because they may not be "sweet," but it doesn't mean she should be mean to them.)

I want my children to learn about other cultures and be respectful of them while still maintaining their faith in God! I guess I want to teach tolerance to a degree. Not tolerance in the respect that they accept things that are wrong, but tolerance in the respect that they aren't hateful and that they're willing to learn about other things and decide for themselves, based on the Bible, if something is right or wrong. I'm sure it'll be easier when she's older, and she doesn't really seem confused, she seems to readily accept that they're wrong to believe in those "other gods." I just want to teach her right, you know? Has anyone had experience with teaching your young children about vastly different cultures and not getting them too confused over the differences? I'm having a bit of a brain block!
Shanks family tidbits:

There is a lady at school who picks up her child and almost always has a puppy with her. Katie always says, "a puppy, a puppy." We saw this same lady at the library this afternoon~about an hour after we'd seen her at school~Katie looked at her as we passed by and said, "a puppy." Amazing how smart almost 2 year olds can be. (I still have about 3 weeks until she's 2, and I'm claiming every last day!)
I've decided to stop wearing my contacts for awhile and go back to glasses. I started wearing glasses in 4th grade and contacts in 8th. They were bugging me, so I've gone back to glasses. I'll probably go back & forth. I sooo wish I had perfect eyesight!
Have I mentioned how much we love Miss S? She did something really sweet for Gracie today and it just warms my heart to see the care & attention she gives to the students. We are very blessed to have her & Mrs. H, the teacher's aide, this year. It is amazing the difference a good teacher can make! Also, on a side note, I drove by the school after playgroup today on my way home. I had about a 1/2 hour before I needed to be back at the school to pick up Gracie. I knew she was at recess so I glanced at the playground to see if I could see her. I know that either Miss S or Mrs. H has recess duty each day, and there was Miss S standing directly beside the monkey bars where a large number of children were playing. That may not seem like a big deal, but some teachers you will see clumped together talking and watching from afar, but Miss S was right in there with the kids.
We have Chick Fil A "Spirit Night" tonight. Once a month, they have a night where from 5:30-8:30, a portion of the proceeds goes to the school. It's a great excuse for me to not to have to cook!
I had been looking & looking on Ebay for Easter dresses for the girls. I am a bargain hunter~majorly~so I was refusing to pay big bucks. I knew I could find a bargain! I found one! I got beautiful dresses for $14.99/each. They arrived today, and I love them! I got outbid on a dress I was trying to win for Katie's birthday. That's okay.....I know a bargain can be found!


TMK said...

I love bishop dresses. That would be my dress of choice if I had girls. Kids are such sponges! Mason just asked me today to "google" skunks to find out why God made them. So funny. I found alot of infomation on them that I never knew, or wanted to know. I have a link to a girl on my blog that I named, "Just for Fun". She is a homeschooling mom who, well...she is just fun to read to say the least. Very opinionated about HER views. Cute, love EBAY!

jettybetty said...

I am laughing soooo hard--I AGREE WITH YOU SOOOOO MUCH! That's exactly what we did with our kids--they went to school, but they were always interested in something else, and we studied that, too--we called it enrichment! It's incredibly fun!

You are gonna have to teach me how to use e-bay. Those dresses are darling--and I cannot believe you only paid $14.99!

Have you ever clicked TMK's "just for fun link"--you will laugh so hard you need a tissue if you do!!!

Jacinda said...

Oh yeah, JB, I clicked on it! I commented to her about it on her site. FUNNY! Small world, huh?

jettybetty said...

I just saw--I discovered that on her blog a while back--indeed--such a small world!

Malia said...

So much to comment on...!

Our next door neighbors are Kurdish so that has provided many opportunities to discuss a different culture with Sweetpea. The religion thing hasn't come up as much mainly because we're not sure that they are practicing Muslims. They seem to be more Muslim by culture than by religion. By that I mean they observe the Muslim holidays and some of the traditions but I don't know that they go to temple. The mom also does not wear the traditional Muslim dress for women, she dresses like you and I do and only once have I seen her with a head covering on. Anyway, so far I've been able to explain to Sweetpea some of our differences just by saying that our culture is different but that doesn't make what they do wrong. Things like the food they eat and the fact that the kids pretty much have full reign over the household! She's facsinated by their language and has even picked up a few of the words.

I'm with you on the whole schooling's kind of like the breastfeeding vs. bottlefeeding debate. You really have to do what works best for you and your family and your children. I don't believe that there is one right way to do it.

My husband LOVES Google Earth! He's a geologist and maps of all sorts are very interesting to him.

I mainly wear contacts but there are times when I just don't want to fool with them and I switch back to my glasses for a few days. So, I hear you on that!

It is always encouraging to me when Sweetpea talks about her teacher pushing them on the swings and playing with them outside. I really admire her because I naturally tend to be the type who would want to huddle in a group and talk. I'm sure that's no BIG surprise :-)

Okay, I'm done! Wait, one more the dress! Hmm...ebay for Easter clothes, I'll have to check that out!