Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Why is our home schooling so Western? Part II

Why, in particular, is our history (The Story of the World), language curriculum (French), and musical curriculum (mostly Northern European classical) so Western?

One reason relates to what's been written down. Written historical records of ancient times are unevenly distributed around the globe, favoring the parts of the world traditionally covered in ancient history classes--and in The Story of the World (which include Egypt, the Middle East, China, India, North Africa, and Turkey).

Another has to do with available resources and my familiarity with what's out there. French happens to be my strongest foreign language, and I've long known about French in Action, which is the best available, child-accessible, audio-visual language curriculum I'm aware of for any language. In particular, I haven't found anything comparable for young English speakers learning Mandarin Chinese (the first foreign language my daughter studied--in a once-a-week after-school program--and a language with which I am only somewhat familiar). There are a number of software programs out there that purport to teach all sorts of languages, but these, imho, are so highly deficient they they aren't worth bothering with--even if they didn't cost hundreds of dollars.

Non-Western music scores, non-Western musical instruments, and non-Western music teachers are also hard to come by in this corner of the world.

But there are some other, more cognitive/academic reasons for some of our homeschooling choices. Stay tuned for Part III.

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