I'd love to be able to use this group for feedback and sharing on projects I am working on. Once upon a time, way back before the FB group, I had a yahoo group that was intimate like this locals group--it was so useful to me to be able to toss ideas around with folks about curric I was writing and various projects (like conferences) I was planning.
So here is an excerpt from the 8th gr LA program I am currently writing. It is addressed directly to the student--both 7th and 8th gr LA will consist of Student Workbooks and a Teacher's Guide.
Joe Bruchac, Bowman’s Store: A Journey to Myself
You might have read some of Joe Bruchac’s stories or novels. He is a gifted novelist and we highly recommend his work.
This book is his autobiography. In a nutshell, it is the story of how he came to appreciate and honor his roots. At a time when being even only ‘part Indian’ was considered shameful by some, Bruchac found pride in his Abenaki heritage and went on, as you know, to become a great novelist.
What I really enjoy about this book is how Bruchac weaves Native American legends and stories in with his own story—it brings depth and color to what he relates and also puts him in that context: he is American, he is a man, he is a storyteller, he is half Slovak---but he loves and lives his connection with Native American traditions.
Your assignment is to research your own family background and create some sort of oral and written report. A key aspect of this is for you to find the stories that were—or are—alive for your family. At the same time, please create, as far as you can, a family tree like you find inside the front of Bowman’s Store.
This project could be part of the work you do for your American History main lesson this year or could take place during language arts lesson-time.
Here are some thoughts to get you going. Obviously, you should talk this through with your Teacher though hopefully you can do much of this work independently:
Find out, if you do not already know, what your family’s ethnic make-up is. Are you Ethiopian-, Polish-, Japanese-American? Are you, like many Americans, a mix of racial/ethnic backgrounds? You might be African-American but perhaps, as with many African American families, you have some Native blood or ‘white’ blood mixed in there (and don’t stop at ‘white’--that is too vague. Can you do any digging to discover more?) You might be Latino—but from where? ‘Latino’ is not very specific—perhaps part of your family came from Cuba and part from the Dominican Republic. Is there any known Native blood in your family? Lastly—though these days ‘white’ seems an adequate label for some, it really is not. ‘White’ could be Finnish, Sicilian, Georgian or Irish. Those are totally different countries with completely different histories that have very little in common. Your family might be British—but Britain is made up of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Try to be as specific as you can.
Obviously, the key question for everyone doing this project is “Why did my family come here?” The obvious exception to this is those of you who might be Native American. If that is you, your project will have a different focus.
If you are African American and your ancestors were captured and brought here as slaves, has anyone in your family discovered from where in Africa they might have come? If so, find out as much as you can about that country (or part of Africa). Don’t forget that when the Trickster (Spider) came from West Africa to the ‘New World”, he became Anansi in the Caribbean and Br’er Rabbit in the South. Tracing stories like those could be an amazing part of your project.
And of course not all Africans who came to the US were slaves—a family’s history could encompass a wide variety of people and conditions and stories.
Creating an oral project could be wonderful. Is there any way you could get your family to have a great big reunion where you present your oral project and perhaps have a display of photos, the family tree you created….and anything else? If you have a sibling in fourth grade, there is a focus on quilt-making drawing from family history during that grade—perhaps your sibling and you could do part of this project together.
Try to draw inspiration from Joe Bruchac’s book. Think about the role of the store—why is the book titled as it is? Is there anything—a farm, country house, grandaunt’s home or business that has an important role in your family’s story?
Perhaps there is no store or house or any such thing like that in your family. But maybe there is something like the clan plaid on the Scottish side of your family which your family was forbidden to wear (alongside not being able to wear other parts of Scottish traditional gear or to speak Gaelic) and there are stories about how family members secretly treasured that plaid….or whatever it was.
So while you are investigating who married who and who had which children and so on, do your best to find stories (or songs) which have had significance in your family for a long time. If, for instance, your family is Jewish, are there stories that have been handed down over the generations which are connected with festivals?
If you really cannot find any stories that really have been handed down (and I mean both anecdotal stories as well as legends such as Bruchac tells---perhaps your Russian grandmother used to tell old Russian fairy tales which her grandmother had told her and so on) then can you find stories which could speak to your family’s story? For instance, if your family is Chinese and for some reason you cannot trace actual told, handed down stories, can you research some Chinese myths or fairy tales and see if there is one which speaks to you about your family?
Perhaps your family—or part of it—was originally from Ireland and, like tens of thousands of Irish, came to this country in desperation fleeing famine in the middle of the 19C. You could research that a bit and include a description of the famine in your project. If you can find out from which part of Ireland your family came from and discover specifically what conditions were like there, so much the better!
Perhaps you are adopted--you then have your birth family and your adoptive family to research. This could be quite an important journey for you.
Maybe you are the child of immigrants or were born somewhere else and came here with your family. In that case, the story of your recent country and the story of why and how your family came to the USA is key. Again, what stories came along with your family from ‘the Old Country’?
Sigh….I’m not going to say we cracked the livestream thing just yet….but I got a new iPad (whole new world for me) and let’s hope I can now easily livestream!!!!!!! I am going to talk a bit about the conference and see if this works….feel free to ask questions or give feedback if you are here now or if (assuming this works) you want to chime in at a later time.
The talks in this series (‘Parenting in Dark Times’) are all related. This one is mainly focused on us, on parents.
If we understand that freedom is a quality which is latent in every human being but can only come to meaningful fruition in adults, then we can support children as they develop, being patient in the trust that freedom takes many years to ripen.
If anyone wants to listen to this and start a conversation, let's do it!!🙂
I was scheduled to give 2 livestreams today, one on 'Balancing on the Abyss' and the other, 'Help from the Spiritual Worlds'. I am unwell, not up to engaging with such full-on content...so apologies to anyone hoping to be present for those livestreams. I will, of course, record those 2 talks at some point very soon and everyone can listen then!
And if anyone has any comments or questions for me to ponder in advance of those talks, I would be very interested in what you might say! I can try to weave in a response as appropriate.
OK....this is the third time I have written a greeting to our newest members and supporters---I keep pinning it to the top and it lingers for a few days and then disappears despite the fact that the pinning I chose was/is permanent!! Grrrrr....
So--hello new folks. I encourage those of you who are supporters to introduce yourselves and say hello! (and hello to new members who are not supporters---you are able to read but not post. Just want you to all know your presence is valued too!)
Do know that locals is very much a work in progress---even in the past couple of months it has gotten a little less glitchy and has improved---but it has a long way to go. Please be patient--and don't feel dumb or weird if you get lost or can't find where things are--it is not a completely intuitive (so to speak) platform...
We're on!!!! Weekend of 10 December at the Threefold Community in Spring Valley NY. This conference is only for people comfortable without masks and such as I need to really connect intimately with people and see their full facial features. Also, this will not be like other Christopherus conferences---there will be a lot more emphasis on coping with the challenges of our times and really getting to grips with how to maintain the health and joy of our families. So it will be pretty full on. It will not be everyone's cup of tea.
Next week we will have a page on the Christopherus website where folks can read through the details--I will be asking folks to read through a few things so that we are all more or less on the same page---it would be good for those not completely in the know about my angle on things to listen to the 6 talks (4 as of writing) that I have recorded.
So.....next week registration opens. All details then! I will announce here (and probably send out a special email to ...
Welcome to the new Christopherus locals group ! This is an experiment which I hope goes well--looking forward to chat and conversation, support and sharing. This place is for all of you to share as Christopherus homeschoolers and to also work with me. Videos and perhaps live chat to follow once I get the hang of this!
Click on this text anywhere and that will open a comment box so you can introduce yourself!