Early homeschooling and current events - Mothering Forums

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Old 02-01-2011, 02:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Does anyone teach their early homeschoolers (preschool, kindergarten, first grade) about current events? How do you do it? I watch the news a lot and so the kids see some of what is going on but they don't pay attention to it. DD is kindergarten and likes to ask questions so I think if she understood a little of what is going on she may learn something. (It may make it easier for me to watch the news without the interruptions and grumbling too orngtongue.gif)

 

I'm thinking something simple but trying to incorporate current events into our homeschooling. Like with everything going on in Egypt maybe showing her maps to show where they are, learning a little about the culture and people there, talk about democracy & governments (our freedoms, why it's so important, how they aren't allowed the same and why they are rioting for it), maybe talk about the looting of the musuems (talk about the heritage, show her artifacts, discuss appreciating and respecting art/culture).

 

I'm not really sure where I'm going with all this or if it's even a good idea at her young age to teach that kind of thing. I was an army brat and by dd's age my father was deployed in Iraq so I was talked to about current events about the middle east and the war and what was going on. It was necessary for us since a kid needed to know where dad was going and why but I think it was important. My father was/is really into current events/politics so I was always taught that kind of thing - he even taught about the stock market and watching the elections. I learned a lot about politics and the necessity of keeping up with current events at a young age. Does anyone try to teach this kind of thing to their young children or do you wait until they are older? What are your thoughts?


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Old 02-04-2011, 10:32 AM
 
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No we do not. We believe that at this early age our children do not need that kind of stress.

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Old 02-04-2011, 10:46 AM
 
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Kind of? They hear us talk about them and will ask questions and join in. I don't specifically teach them and I try to leave out disturbing bits, but we do keep them informed, yes.

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Old 02-04-2011, 11:16 AM
 
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No current events are covered in this house with the children.  I personally believe they are too young to handle such information.  There is a time and a place for everything and when you are that young I think their sense of wonder and goodness in the world needs to be protected.  There is a wonderful book called Simplicity Parenting and he briefly but succinctly covers the effects of media exposure on children and the young onset of anxiety, worry, it causes. 

 

On the other hand: I do understand teaching  bits if your DH's job depended on it.  Due to my DH's job my children know more about "bad guys" than I care them too. But they strive to know what he does when he leaves the door and it's important that they do know why Papa leaves.  So we lovingly teach them about "bad guys" in a way that will not invoke anxiety or fear. 


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Old 02-04-2011, 11:40 AM
 
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We stopped watching the news and buying newspapers when my hyper-literate then-4-year-old asked "What's genocide?" The internet as a news source has been a godsend for us. I am all for kids being aware of the world around them, but the mainstream news sources tend to skim off the most heinous 0.1% of the world's events and present them with raw immediacy. Very easily misinterpreted by young children as "This is what the world is mostly like" and "These threats are real and immediate and I should be afraid." 

 

We certainly talked a lot about local and regional current events that affected us. The controversy over the new community greenhouse, the logging protests down the valley, the tussle between two political candidates in our electoral area. But young Tunisian men setting themselves on fire? Nope, not the sort of information I'd allow my little ones to have access to. Not at that age. 

 

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Old 02-04-2011, 12:53 PM
 
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Nope. I don't see any way how a child that young could possibly benefit from being exposed to most current events. We get our news online, and if there's something I see that my 5yo might be interested in (mostly science news, but also some local stuff, and big things like elections) I might share it with him, and we'll have a quick discussion if it piques his interest. It's good for young kids to know that there is a bigger world out there, but I don't think the best way to raise awareness of the larger world is by teaching current events.


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Old 02-13-2011, 09:52 PM
 
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This brings me back to my five-year-old self, lying awake at night, straining to hear a Soviet ICBM the moment it came whistling toward my house. I'm not sure what I was planning to do if I did, in fact, hear one approaching, but I certainly made myself cry enough times waiting for it. Ugh. I think my parents thought I tuned it all out, but once I was sensitized, I began to actively seek out information about scary current events and political situations, to my own detriment. I plan to wait until my children are a little bit older (until they express strong interest, I suppose) to even let them overhear adult conversations about most current events. Local/state/federal politics they do hear a lot about, but I think they consider it kind of dry, "adult business." At least, I hope they do....

 

I do miss NPR, though. We had a similar incident to the one Miranda recounted-- my 3yo looked up from the floor as we puttered in the kitchen, "what is a MASS grave?" Okay, no more NPR. Sigh. 


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Old 02-14-2011, 10:52 AM
 
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No, we don't. For many reasons mentioned above.

 

There are other ways to open the world to young kids. Culture, customs, animal life, geography--I draw my kids' attention to those, rather than the current events. When DD was 4, there was a site (Can't find it now) with daily photos and video of daily life in Ethiopia--we loved it. We even discovered a grain called teff, and still eat teff hot cereal almost daily. Even the news of that whale who got lost on his way to the ocean in some channel was upsetting to her. She was VERY into whales then, and I remember telling her about it before the whale was brought to safety, and then biting my elbows, hoping the whale would make it.


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Old 02-21-2011, 07:50 AM
 
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We listen to a lot of NPR, if the stories aren't ones I feel comfortable with we turn it off. He asks questions about what he hears and we talk about it. But we don't do any TV news, I think the images are unnecessary for all of us.


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Old 02-21-2011, 12:13 PM
 
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"To everything there is a season," and I've always felt childhood is a time for a small and comfortable world that's easily understandable. We never brought talk about current events into our child's life during those early years, and that was easy because we never happened to have had the news on tv or radio more than was necessary. We kept such things very simple and general, because these things are more complicated - made up of too many historical, political, and social components - than what such a young child needs to be dealing with. Meanwhile, there's plenty right in the immediate environment for a child to be taking in, and wonderful stories can expand the imagination and ability to take in more and more. 

 

And you never know how a very young child will take things into her imagination - things can cause much more stress than a child should need to have at that age. We wanted our child to be able to feel as comfortable and secure as possible as he grew into the world. We'd occasionally lightly refer to something that happened "in another land," but would let it sit very loosely upon his imagination. As our son grew, he was very interested in history and social movements, and is now a very responsible adult who stays informed, and takes an interest and role in helping out in society. It can all come about quite gracefully and gradually as your child grows.   Lillian

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Old 02-21-2011, 12:20 PM
 
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Just had another thought - when your child is a little older, she'd probably love the Boomerang audio magazines: "big ideas for curious kids" - I could go on and on and on about how wonderful they are! You can hear lots of free samples on their website. Here's a review I posted for the homeschooling resources thread of this forum.  Lillian

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