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Sunday, March 29, 2009

In A Country Far Away

I remember growing up and quite often having my mother tell me, "finish ALL of your dinner, don't you know there are children starving in Africa?" My thought was always, "well then, send them my dinner!"

See, to me children starving in Africa meant absolutely nothing. Africa was a far away place I just couldn't picture in my mind. Beyond the "starving children" comments my mother gave to me quite often, I had no other knowledge of such a place.

That's why I am so thankful for two companies/organizations. One should be pretty easy to figure out if you read here often enough and that is Compassion International. Thanks to our sponsorship of Betty in Uganda and Sarafina in Haiti, places like Africa aren't unimaginable, and starving children are a reality, they have a face and a name. Our sponsorship does as much for our family, as it does for Betty and Sarafina. Just the other day, I experienced the joy of watching my own son put compassion into action.

He had received his allowance and chose to spend half on a gift for a friend, a little on buying candy treats for his brother and nephew, then much to my surprise asked me to send the remaining amount, which was close to a third, to Haiti!

The other resource I am so thankful for is our homeschool curriculum. See, in almost all public schools and even many private schools the first 5-6 years of history or social studies is all about us, the U.S. Then there are two years of Ancients and World History. Then more about us. It is very difficult to care about others in places you know nothing about or if you have heard of them, it was about things that happened thousands of years ago. How is that relevant to a child today? Rarely, if ever does a child learn about places like Haiti and Uganda.

We use a literature based curriculum called Sonlight. For the past six years of our twelve years of homeschooling this is what we have used for the majority of our subjects. Right away as early as Kindergarten, children are exposed to other countries and cultures. They read stories of other children and learn about their lives. They learn of missionaries who have served in these faraway places. Before you know it, these places aren't so far away and the world becomes much smaller.

I myself have learned so much these past six years. As a matter of a fact I don't think it would be a stretch to say I've learned more from using this curriculum with my children than I did in all of my years of government education.

Even these past two years as we have studied American History I have learned so much. We are currently studying the Civil War and I have learned so much that I had never previously been taught. To read real books about real people(sometimes some are fictional) and their thoughts and feelings has been quite an eye opening experience. This truly has been history "the way I wish I had been taught!"

I am so thankful for the privilege to stay home and educate and disciple my own children!

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