Reading together during school time.
By Malissa McClintock, Contributing Writer
I’m a Women’s Studies junkie. It was one of my three minors as an undergraduate and the emphasis of my Master’s. I love learning about women from the past and the fabulous women around the world who strive daily to make the lives of their mothers, sisters, daughters, friends, and future generations better. I love to see women who are from completely different backgrounds pull together to support one another in the face of adversity and struggle together to overcome obstacles. I love women who are strong in their careers. I love women who fight for political rights. I love women who stay home to raise their children. Women are amazing.
March Is Women’s History Month
Maybe you knew that, and maybe you didn’t. But now that you know, take a little time to celebrate the women around the globe and in your life that are making your life better than theirs was for them. Being the junkie that I am, my girls are facing a month filled with information and activities about women. I love homeschooling in general, but I particularly love homeschooling because it affords me to the time and ability to focus on things that my daughters wouldn’t be educated on in a public school setting. While Women’s History is slowly creeping into text books, I feel it isn’t nearly present enough. So here’s a little look at how we’ll be addressing it on our home this month.
“Traditional” Women’s Studies
There are countless women from the past and present that I feel my daughters should know by name. My girls are still young, so throwing too much at them won’t lend itself to success. I could start with suffragists ( and we WILL learn those) but my girls learn better when they are educated on areas that peak their interests. Right now our house is filled with a love and passion for doctors (yay science!), Pocahontas, and Laura Ingalls Wilder. So, we’ll start there.
Doctors and Science
Miss Moo giving a check-up.
Miss Moo and Miss Roo love giving anyone and everyone check ups. My first step will be to discuss Virginia Apgar, the woman responsible for develop the Apgar Scoring system for newborns. With a baby brother coming in a few weeks, learning about babies surrounds us daily. We can learn not only about Dr. Apgar and her system, but also how babies are different from little girls and why they need to be treated with care and given help. I’m also hoping to move us along to Jane Goodall — Roo LOVES monkeys and chimpanzees — and her work at the Gombe Stream Reserve. Working with Chimps is different than working with babies and we will discuss how animals need different care and consideration than babies and children.
We’ll also discuss Clara Barton. Nurses are important, too, and that’s something that I want my girls to learn and appreciate. Moo is particularly enamored with strong willed women (pirates and mermaids and the like) and learning about a woman who faced danger on the battlefields in order to help men who were hurt is just the kind of story she will enjoy. It also helps that Clara Barton did a lot of her service in Virginia and we’re living in the middle of the Capital of the Confederacy — Richmond. I’m hoping to turn a warm day into a field trip while I can!
One of our many treasure hunts.
I’m ecstatic that Moo shares a love of this Native American Princess in the same way that I do. Her introduction to Pocahontas was purely accidental – who knew she could work Netflix streaming?!?! But after watching the Disney movie together, she was FULL of questions. We have checked out many books from the library on Pocahontas and Jamestown.
We have talked about Native Americans and how our state used to look very different. But, we haven’t really discussed the lives of Native Americans in details. I plan to do this with her this month as well as find some fun “projects” that we can do together. Most of those will involve nature hunts and gathering of treasures to make tools and treasure they way Native Americans would have done. I’m surely no expert here, so research and learning will be happening for all of us. I’m also hoping to take us to Jamestown so she can see with her eyes that Pocahontas is a person who lived at a real place — not just an image in a movie or a book.
Laura Ingalls Wilder
What little girl doesn’t love reading of the adventures of Laura in the prairies of our country? Here comes geography! Our other main areas of focus have centered around women and activities here in our state. However, my map loving girls need something more. Learning more about Laura, the prairie, and the settlement of our nation give us the opportunity to look at maps, learn about animals we won’t see here, and to take a step back to simpler times. I’m hoping that learning about the challenges that Laura and her family faced and their ability to be thankful for all their blessings — which were far less materials than modern day blessings — will help our girls appreciate simplicity and the wonders that nature provides around our country and around the world. I’m also planning on learning about Laura closer to the end of the month when this mama will be too big to travel or do much else. Baking, pretending to have snow storms, and having prairie picnics are a perfect way to keep our education simple and focuses while providing activities and sensory experiences.
Non-Traditional Women’s Studies
Moo and Nana- a true hero.
Where would we all be without our mothers? Grandmothers? Special teachers or family friends? This concept is something else I want to address with our girls this month. While famous women are important, so are the women we encounter every day. Nana is crucial to the girls’ success just as she was to mine. Our close friend LizBet is tremendously influential in helping the girls thrive and gives them countless amounts of encouragement and support to foster their independence and self worth. Having two living great-grandmothers is a blessing that many children don’t have and my girls need to learn about them and their lives from them rather than from me. Thinking outside the box to the women who touch their lives daily but immeasurably is something that we will do together and we will not only discuss and appreciate what these women have done fur us all, but we will thank them even more this month.
Each year in March we’ll build from what we’ve done the previous year. However, I don’t want March to be the only time we discuss and pursue the knowledge of influential and important women in our lives and in our world. It’s great that we have a month devoted to women, but we should celebrate and educate ourselves daily on the women who have made our world a better place. Taking small steps like this with my girls might give them the momentum to be the change in the lives of women who need guidance, help, and mostly love.
Do you celebrate women in your life and in your world? Do you teach your children about the women who have done so much for them?
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