Hi! Thank you for stopping by today! My name is Bronwyn. I am a follower of Jesus, wife of a Marine, and mother of 2 autistic boys. We have been a homeschooling family for going on 7 years now and loving it! I also love to read, cook, bake, and walk.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Unexpected Lessons Learned in our Study of Russia

We have been studying Russia here and have been really enjoying it.  It has been a long study as there is much to learn.  Russia has always intrigued me.  They have such amazing architecture, beautiful art, and powerful music.  My favorite thing about Russia,however, has always been the literature written there.  I love to read Tolstoy and the older authors but I am equally taken with new writers like Boris Akunin.  I appreciate the complexity of the characters in Russian stories.  They are often formed through the combination of great hardships and strong spirits that yearn not only to survive but to find beauty in life.  When we started our study I was really anxious to share this with Tyler.
He had a great time listening to Peter and the Wolf and making matryoshka dolls to go with the story.
 We have used several  really great resource books along with our study. The first is Russia (Enchantment of the World. Second Series).
 The second is Eyewitness Books Russia.
We also used the Usborne book First Thousand Words in Russian.
Incidentally Christian was really taken with this last book.
This got me to thinking maybe he doesn't talk because we are trying to teach him English and he wants Russian. Winky
Tyler has been doing lots of notebooking and map work to go along with our study as well.  We found some great printables at homeschoolshare.
By far our favorite part of this whole unit has been our read aloud of  Angel on the Square.

It is a historical fiction story that takes place in the years between 1913 to 1918.  This is the time of the reign of the last czar of Russia.  Katya, the girl in the story, is the daughter of the lady in waiting to the empress and therefore lives with the czar and his family which allows the reader to see not only the rule of the czar but his tender interactions with his family.
Tyler likes to label characters in his mind as the good guy or the bad guy.  There is not a lot of room for in betweens in Tyler's autistic world.  As we read through this story he was confused as to how to categorize the characters as many of them had complex relationships and made varying decisions.  He at first decided the Czar must be a good man because he loved his family and treated them well and was applauded when he rode through the streets.  Later when he found out some of the injustices he allowed he decided he must be the bad guy.  Only to change his mind again when he was exiled to Siberia and he felt sorry for him.  It was great to see Tyler attempt to reason this through.  There was another character Misha, who is a college student and a revolutionary.  Tyler was at first disgusted that he would be so opposed to following the rules.  He then liked him when he found out he wanted to help the poor.  Katya in the story is confused like Tyler and doesn't know how to feel about the people around her either.  This helped Tyler to see that he wasn't alone in his feelings.  He was able to understand in the end that it was okay just to take it all in and understand they were all humans that made good and bad decisions.  Understanding the people in the story didn't require us to label them.
I really like the unexpected lesson this story and our study of Russia and all it's interesting figures has brought about.  It shows me that he is starting to develop more complex thinking.  It shows me that there is room for learning beyond the accumulation of facts.  Yea for progress!!!

1 comment:

Mrs. C said...

These dollies are so clever! I remember my grandparents used to have a fancy set :)

Your little pies look cute as well! I am glad you have updated and we can catch up on the news from your part of the world!!

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