Homeschoolers Mapping Out A New Year
September 12, 2013
The goal of Global Studies at Talking Stick is to encourage local homeschoolers to have greater international awareness through study of other cultures and beliefs, geography, current events, art, and games. This two part process involves learning more about who we are and comparing that to what we learn about other peoples and places. By exploring our differences we hope to also see the commonalities among all of us. Local author, Homa Sabet Tavangar, explains in her book, Growing up Global, "embracing the consciousness of world citizenship implies a more complex process of knowing one's self while appreciating others."
We opened the course with an icebreaking game in which every student was given a card containing one of the following words: Diversity, Location, Peace, Friend, Society, Relationship, Tolerance, Empathy, Human, Discrimination, Nurture, Respect, Security, Identity, Culture. Each participant had to describe the word in such a way that the rest of us could guess their word. Impressively every word on my list was guessed with relative ease. The game led to a discussion of how these globally significant words represent the way we want to treat each other as classmates. Many of our words then transformed into airplanes, fans, and cootie catchers.
The first topic we are focusing on this year is Location. Where are we? Where are we from? Where do we want to go? As a jumping off point for this topic they were presented with the quotation, "I am a citizen of the world, my homeland is everywhere, I'm a foreigner everywhere." (Credited both to Erasmus and more recently to an artwork by Marie-Jo Lafontaine in multilingual neon lights at Arlanda airport, Stockholm, set in English, Hindi, Arabic and Chinese.)
To answer 'Where are we?' we took a tour of the Cope House and its grounds, and began looking at maps. What exactly is a ‘map,’ and what does it do? How many kinds of maps can we think of? What kind of information do we get from a map? Location? Elevation? History? Culture? Can a map change our perception of where we are? For example, the Peters World Map shows more accurate area. Or, when we hold a map with the south pole at the top the world looks very different.
Next we played Hide and Go Map. During this mapping activity participants went to a nearby location and wrote down a description or drew a map of where they were. When we regrouped the class tried to guess where the person had been standing when they made the map. Under the participants' direction this map making evolved into treasure maps, scavenger hunts and detailed perspective drawings.
In order to answer 'Where are we from?' we labeled our classroom maps with stickers on every place we all have lived. The group was pleased to see all four corners and the center of the US represented as well as locations in Europe, Asia, Africa and Scandinavia.
For the final question, 'Where do we want to go?', a quick poll revealed individual interests ranging from Canada and Venice all the way to Nightvale. Our hope is to generate more answers to this question week after week.