Friday, July 17, 2009

Friday Favorites - Country Study


One of my favorite family traditions is choosing a country to "adopt" or study each year. My college courses have kept me so busy that the most I've done this year is to briefly consider a few different countries. We began this tradition 15 years ago when Senryu, my oldest, was 4. (I've written about it before on this blog -- the search term "doll" or "country" would probably help you find other posts about it.) It doesn't surprise me at all, all these years later, that Senryu is the one to ask if we can study a particular country. She asked about Tibet and had already checked a book out of the library.


I am enthused about the possibilities of learning more about Tibet, teaching my little sons about a place in the world they have barely heard of, and about sharing some new experiences with my entire family. Imagine the possibilities... prayer flags fluttering on our northern hill, Tibetan dishes simmering in our kitchen, and mandalas made by two curious little boys.


The photo below shows one aspect of our tradition of studying a new country each year. We dress a doll in a costume which reflects the culture of our adopted nation. From left to right, these dolls represent Sweden, Ireland, Mexico, Australia, Peru, Japan (the tiny one in front), Greece, India, Kenya, Russia and Poland. Since this photo was taken, we have also studied Taiwan (the year that Senryu was an exchange student there) and Turkey (the year that our exchange student, Sonnet, spent with us.)


photos by Aisling

10 comments:

linda said...

aisling, this is so wonderful you are doing with your kids....it will surely raise them into much more aware and mindful adults to others besides just themselves....that there is a big world out there beyond the door's thresh-hold...

blessings...

Aisling said...

Linda, Thank you. It is fascinating to me too. :)

Dee/reddirtramblings said...

I can imagine prayer flags fluttering on your hillside, and you made me wonder about Tibetan food. We are very adventurous about food in this household. I had a doll collection as a little girl and collected dolls from around the world. Sadly, the dolls were damaged when I moved. However, I still have the memories of them unblemished in my mind. Thanks for a wonderful memory.~~Dee

Aisling said...

Dee, I'm curious about Tibetan food too! Your doll collection sounds wonderful. I had a few also, but not the "around the world" sort. I did have several penpals in other countries, so I guess my interest in other places in the world is long-standing.

Thank you for your friendly comment!

Pom Pom said...

One of my students was front Nepal. She and her mother would carefully choose little goodies from the book orders to send to children back home. On the last day of school, she brought the most delicious dumplings for us to share. They were noodle-y with meat inside and a very unique (and delicious) hot sauce to dip with. She was quiet and adaptive to the crazy USA culture, but she had a spirit of repose, too. Aisling, you are a wise mother to stimulate the natural curiosity of your children and to expand their thinking to include the rest of the world. I love your heart.

Aisling said...

Pom Pom,

You must be an amazing teacher because you write such supportive and nurturing blog comments! Thank you!

I loved reading your brief account of your student (and her mother) from Nepal. What a joy it always is to encounter people from other cultures! There is so much we can learn... no matter what age we are. :)

Pom Pom said...

And a teacher who writes front when she means from . . . ha ha!

Aisling said...

You mean teachers aren't supposed to make typos? Uh oh. I'd better go switch my major!

I knew exactly what you meant! :)

Cloudhands said...

Your country studies and the dolls that represent each were always a favorite of mine as you home schooled the girls. I'm glad you are giving the boys a continuation of a world view. Will there be a G.I. Joe in a Tibetian robe?

Aisling said...

Mom, Do you know that we actually started our studies several years before we began to homeschool? When we homeschooled we were able to delve into our adopted nations much more thoroughly. I would do a boy doll (though not a GI Joe. lol!) but haven't seen any particularly nice ones. I actually have an interesting photo of two young Tibetan girls that will probably serve as my inspiration for this years doll.

The boys will be more interested in learning some games, tasting some foods, doing some crafts... etc. The more hands on stuff. :)