In July we kicked off our 2019-2020 school year! Inspired by Give Your Child the World (GYCtW), we began our trip around the globe in France. In addition to the things I’ll be covering below, the girls learned how to count to ten in French, how to sing the French alphabet, what the French words for all the colors are, what the national anthem sounds like, and watched a few movies set in France.
We also listened to the top three songs in the country that aren’t from US artists, along with a discussion about how people in other countries enjoy music from all over just like we do. The songs were: Trois Cafés Gourmands – À nos souvenirs, Clara Luciani – La grenade, and Angèle – balance ton quoi. These songs were played all month and will be added to our regular rotation of songs. It was neat hearing the girls sing along even though they had no clue what they were singing.
One of my biggest goals with following GYCtW is to expose the girls to various cultures across the globe while also showing them that each country has actual human beings living there that are more similar to them than they are different. I think a lot of the ways kids are typically taught about other countries focus on those countries too far in the past for kids to feel a true connection to them. I want them to have confidence when connecting with people who seem different than them on the surface because they will know that people are people and that there are common themes that unite us all.
After reading The Magical Garden of Claude Monet we made impressionist art following a technique shared on PlayfulLearning.net. Using flowers and leaves from the garden as stamps, we made our base. We only used red, yellow, and orange for the paint so there wouldn’t be any unpleasant color mixing. The first layer was allowed to completely dry for a couple days before we wiped blue across using a ruler. I usually let the girls have free rein during craft time, but I really wanted them to have an end product that resembled Monet. They were incredibly proud of their work and I’m going to incorporate some more structured art time coming up.
The Portland Art Museum had an exhibition entitled “Paris 1900” so we went and checked out paintings, posters, clothing items, and more from the city of lights. The painting below was Mimi’s favorite. It was serendipitous that the museum was featuring Paris right when we were studying about it. Hopefully I can find events like this for each country we study!
For a taste of France, we made a platter of veggies and bread to eat with a true French dressing. Sojourner Tours has some info on the difference between what we as Americans would consider French dressing and what the French would consider dressing. We enjoyed this meal in a small park in front of the museum.
The girls helped me make a berry gallete for dessert that turned out delicious!
I taught the girls a French game called “la barbichette” that’s basically you and an opponent grabbing each other’s chins while trying not to laugh. Whoever laughs gets a “light tap” from the other person. We played this in front of the museum as well and enjoyed people’s reactions to witnessing something so weird as they walked by.
Here are the books we read for France, along with a couple random books, and another focused on the world in general (Me on the Map). The girls and I loved all of the books, but if I had to choose one to recommend, I would choose Shooting at the Stars without hesitation. It’s a fictionalized retelling of a true event during WWI that left us all feeling inspired and sad at the same time.
There are a wide array of picture books available for pretty much every subject out there and I have noticed they’re a wonderful way to teach concepts and facts in a non-intimidating way that sticks.
Next up, India!