We don’t do regular Geography lessons at present. There just aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything we would like to. But I find with Geography that natural opportunities to study different countries are always presenting themselves so I don’t fret too much. Relatives are always off gallivanting around the globe, we often meet people from different corners of the globe and our books are set in many different inspiring locations. These are ideal opportunities for the boys and I to become motivated to find out more about the world around us.
Recently we’ve been learning about Switzerland. My brother’s girlfriend, Anita, has recently (as in the past year or so) moved from Switzerland to Australia so we’ve been enjoying getting to know her and finding out more about her home country.
Then Hubby began teaching a Multicultural unit at school and he invited Anita to his class to talk about Switzerland. Talk about perfect opportunity for us to learn more!
Oh yeah we had to go to school though. Nothing new for us though. Knowing everyone on staff and being a former teacher myself I’m almost like part of the furniture there. They just assume that if something good is on, we’ll be there.
Leading up to “Switzerland Talk” the boys and I read everything about Switzerland that we could get our hands on…which sadly wasn’t much. For such an interesting place there’s not much written about it.
We also did a little mapping work so we knew where on Earth Switzerland was and what countries were nearby. It was amazing to think that they can drive only a few hours from the top to the bottom of their country. They don’t have to go “overseas” to visit another country. How cool is that! Imagine being able to go on a day trip to France or Germany or Italy. Green with envy, yes I am!
Anita told us a story we found amusing that shows just how small their country is and how vast Australia is in comparison. Anita has close family in Switzerland who lived in Bern (the capital) which is a 50 minute trip from her village. To her family this is such a long drive that they can only do it once or twice a year for special occasions. And then when Anita came to Australia my brother would “pop” home to Mum and Dad, a whole 50 minutes drive, just for a meal or with his washing (typical boy). To Anita this was mind-boggling.
After our visit to school and the fantastic presentation that Anita gave, the boys got their own time to talk with Anita and ask their own questions. It was wonderful.
Anita was also able to help us choose some great literature to read about Switzerland. Heidi of course was the top of her list. She said the stereotypical stuff about Switzerland is actually very close to the truth. So the boys and I are currently listening to the unabridged audio of Heidi.
The other story that Anita recommended was the story of William Tell. He’s a famous Swiss historical figure and my boys just loved his story in “The Apple and The Arrow”.
So while we don’t have a regular Geography plan, I don’t fret over it at all. We seem to cover, on average, 3 or 4 different cultures a year just through these sorts of incidental experiences. I’m very happy with that as I feel these sorts of experiences are more memorable than a few worksheets from a textbook. Gosh we sound almost unschooly don’t we. We’re not…well…only when it’s convenient.