12.21.2010

Our Eight Days of Christmas Around the World: NIGERIA and ETHIOPIA

In late January, we'll take two weeks to study Kenya using My Father's World: Exploring Countries and Cultures (ECC), our core curriculum this year. So, during our Christmas unit study, I wanted to touch on Christmas in Kenya by way of introduction. Unfortunately, the main resource I'm using for that purpose, Celebrate Christmas Around the World (CCAW), doesn't include Kenya.

Now, I know I could have taken some time - and maybe not all that much time considering that Kenya has a pretty significant Christian population - to find materials about it. But, frankly, I wanted this unit study to be pretty quick and "painless" in terms of prep time. Thus, we'll learn about Christmas in Nigeria and Ethiopia instead because CCAW contains plans for the former, and the other resource upon which I've heavily relied, Christmas Around the World, talks about Ethiopia.

I am, however, going to make sure to point out the geographical distances between the three countries - Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Kenya - and thoroughly explain that they surely have markedly different cultures. That's an important distinction to me because I know Africa as a whole is too often neglected in the vast majority of learning settings. For example, I remember in elementary school being required to learn country names for Europe and South America but, in contrast, being told, "And there's the continent of Africa," with no expectation that we'd know its geography beyond the location of Egypt. As a result, my knowledge of individual African countries - both geographically and culturally - is abysmal. But I refuse to hamper my daughters with similar ignorance and, in fact, I plan to embrace my chance to learn along with them.

That said, we will do the following activities to get a quick feel for Christmas celebrations in some parts of Africa.

DAY 8: NIGERIA and ETHIOPIA


Literature:

I'll read the information about Nigeria from CCAW and Chapter 3 in Christmas Around the World (by Emily Kelley), which discusses customs in Ethiopia.


Craft:

At our local school supply store, I found a jar of Pop-Arty beads by B. toys and decided to get them to enable the girls to easily make African-style bead jewelry.


Other Activities:

We'll play a round of our Geography Game from ECC. At this point, we haven't yet learned African geography, but will review North America, South America, and Europe. When we do our in-depth study of Kenya in a few weeks, we'll add in African country names and locations.


Food:

In both Nigeria and Ethiopia, chicken stew and rice are common Christmastime foods. I could have attempted to find an authentic recipe - and I will do that when we more formally study Kenya - but for simplicity's sake, I picked up a chicken and rice casserole meal to prepare for lunch. I'll serve this with baked sweet potatoes, a truly authentic Kenyan food.


Language Arts:

The girls will each make one more narration page for their personal Christmas Around the World booklets.


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Photo Credits: cindy251978 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/cindyandmike/5235595925/) and PJBayens (http://www.flickr.com/photos/24151892@N06/2292098649/)

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