Friday, February 20, 2009

Teach your children well

There are many wonderful things you can say about the small town where I live. It's rich in history, still pretty safe, has good schools, the people are very friendly, the list goes on. One thing you cannot say is that this town is culturally diverse. In fact, it's more like culturally devoid. I grew up in a suburb of Los Angeles, a huge melting pot, so I was surrounded by different cultures. My son, however, is not being provided this experience. At the tender age of five, his mind is like a huge sponge and absorbs everything around him. So I decided if he is not getting a glimpse of cultural diversity in his surroundings, I would need to provide that for him.

That is how we came up with Culture Night at our house. It is centered around dinner time, and the meal is what guides our learning. Last night was taco night, so we learned about Mexico. I got out an old but trusty children's world encyclopedia, put on some Latin music, and let the learning begin. We look at maps so he understands where this particular area is located. We talk about the people, the food, the language, the music, and something he really loves, the games children of that culture play. The whole experience has turned into something he truly looks forward to. I have to admit there is a bit of work involved, so Culture Night takes place about every other week, but I want it to be a fulfilling experience for him, not something he gets bored with. The time in between helps him to look forward to it and helps me to get better prepared.

Even if you do live in a culturally diverse area, this is still a fun activity for your family. Besides being educational, it also promotes sensitivity to other cultures. Our next night will be about India, and I think my biggest challenge will be cooking something my picky eater will eat (I'd welcome any suggestions you may have!). Below are some great web resources I use to help me plan these learning experiences. Check them out, and try this with your family. You'll be surprised at how fun it is for everyone. Viva La Culture!


cottage farm villa (cottagecharm) said...

What a sweet idea! I miss having a 5 year old around. It doesn't seem that long ago...even though it was 20 years!! No suggestions for Indian Food. Not sure your little guy will like Curry...but you can make rice with Curry if he likes rice. Have fun.

~Cheryl xo

Dancing Queen said...

that is so cool!! we do something like that around olympics time, but lovin' how you do it often:) what a great mom to invest so much time in teaching at dinner!

wow! you're from LA?? how did you end up in South Texas?? they seem like such opposite worlds when i've visited a couple glad you're here:)

hope you're having a great weekend!

patty said...

hello nicole! i love this. i did something like this when mine where younger at christmas time, and funny-we started with mexico, too. i tried to do a traditional chrismas meal, use decorations and other traditions from that country. it's awesome that you do it so frequently. i also lived in the hillcountry-and miss it's culture. when you get to thailand, i have an easy and yummy dish! ;)

patty said...

ut-oh! accidentally on purpose without knowing what would really happen changed my URL this morning and lost all my links! please find me here now:
have a good day!

Honorary Indian said...

Fabulous idea. When you're ready for India Night...I'll don my garb and dance my way over with a hearty chicken tika masala.


Staci said...

just checkin in on ya, this is staci from blogalicious designs
Love your blog!! if you need anything let us know!!

take care

patty said...

where ya been? miss your blog! hope all's ok!