Recently, since the arrival of stacks of books from Slaveboy’s flat, I stumbled upon my old copy of Roots Of Racism booklet, a remnant from my old teacher training degree. It led to track own another copy of How Racism Came To Britain as I had lost my original copy.
The How Racism Came To Britain graphic novel was my first introduction to the fact that there is more to graphic novels than just The Silver Surfer and The Fabulous Freak Brothers. Being terribly literal, it surprised me just how effective the comic medium for conveying quite a meaty topic like racism.
This got me thinking about a racism and immigration activity I took part in at college for my Geography module. It was quite similar to this A Class Divided activity I recently found online and it got me thinking about just how aware (if at all) my children are about their bi-racial status.
Those who have seen photos of the seven children would know that they are all varying shades of skin colour – from fairly pale to light freckly skin to pink to olive to dusky. The Small Shouty One refers to herself as yellow. Firstborn gets mildly offended when people assume that she is Thai and laughs at the fact that her best friend said that she was chinegro.
I’ve also been rethinking the laid back approach we have been taking with the children’s home education. I’m hardly wishing that we have done things differently, but I’m aware that the needs of the youngest four are different now that th eldest three are so much more mature and able to direct themselves toward what interest them.
What with the constant battle to regain our home educating space which is very much sabotaged by my dining table with is doing its version of The Magical Rice Pot (in which the table seems to procreate and produce never-seen-before objects and crap on a dily basis), I’ve decided to trial a new multi-faceted approach.
Over the next month or so (time is this amorphous thing for us), I’ve sourced several books, music and film to get us going. I appreciate that some of this woud be too overwhelming for The Small Shouty One but there is a lot to be said about shared learning across a range of age groups. What I might not be able to explain simply enough myself more often than not can be explained more intuitively by an older child to a younger one.
I’m going to be starting with this film. I’ve been wanting to watch it for ages and I think it would grab the children’s attention. The setting. The costumes. The music.
With most of the materials I plan to use, I doubt we would really be doing much written work on them. I’m hoping that it might generate discussion, open their horizon to different approaches to story telling and also give them a basic understanding of how much history still affects our day to day living.
Potato Bottom who is a voracious reader (hurray to children who wait til they’re 9 before they started reading!!) should find the both the storyline and language to To Kill A Mockingbird intriguing and challenging. This is one of my favourite books, and Slaveboy’s too. In fact, The Seventh Wonder is named after its author.
I’ve chosen several easy going books for the much younger ones too. Not all of them are about race relations but they are about tolerance, differences and prejudice. Again these engages the questioning side of children through images and simple concepts.
I absolutely love well thought out children’s books. It just cuts through the crap and delivers the message without spin, jargon and feigned political correctness. Good children’s books cuts through the self censoring bullshit that adults can’t help but think they need to apply when discussing sensitive issues.
I’m waiting on this book. I have great expectations for it.
Finally, I think I’ll be introducing the younger children to this album. When it first came out, I was immediately grabbed by the substance it delivered. Anne Braden is a favourite.
What topics have grabbed you? Enough to feel that I need my children to know this urge? I’d love to hear from you. You don’t need to be a home edder, parents invariably impart knowledge to their children – school or no school.