Friday, September 6, 2013

Aussie History Update

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It's been a while since I updated with our history plans. Mind you, we had to wait a while on last book & then it took us a bit of time to read it. Our next book is a library book: Surviving Sydney Cove which has been a delightful read & is another in the My Australia series.

This particular book shows life in Sydney Cove for the convicts, military, & Aborigine peoples. All though, less is shared about the later all though their presence is known as well as the conflicting way most of the newly settled English people thought of them. The book itself is brutally honest most of the time, yet gentle enough that I'm comfortable reading it with the boys. We should wrap it up next week, time permitting.

We've also moved into Chapter 6 of the Ashton Scholastic History Of Australia which is one of our spines. Chapter 6 mentions the first fleet & the second fleet. It discusses their landings, how things were unloaded {such as the women having to remain on the boats for 2 weeks while the men were taken off sooner} as well as life for the first 2 years within the colony. For some reason I'd thought we'd read the chapter prior to now, but once I briefed it I realised we hadn't. Thus, the boys really enjoyed picking out the actual facts from a few of our past books that are noted within the history book as well.  The chapter also discusses some of the harsh punishments, both considered & followed through, for those caught stealing food within the colony & eventually mentions the leaving of Governor Phillip. It's much longer then the majority of the chapters within the book but it was a good read.

The only downer to this chapter was that it graced over a two bits of Aborigine history that I had hoped it would explain a bit better. First it discussed that some of the Englishmen wanted to understand the Aborigine better including Governor Phillip, but in order to do so he ordered the capture of several men. It didn't go much farther then that other to state that they built one of them a little brick house to live in & the hut was given a name based on the Aborigine man's name. Somehow that seemed a little too "pretty in pink" for me to envision happening quite that smoothly. Having said that it matched up with some things we were reading in the Sydney Cove book as well, all though it too was only a glossing.

The other was the Small Pox problem. However, that didn't bother me as deeply that it wasn't mentioned in more depth as the boys are both aware of how that happened to the Native American's as well. It opened up a moment of discussion for us to recognise how often the Native people of a land were often wiped out by the English diseases that came alongside all the explorers.

With the upcoming election this weekend I've pulled out So You Want To Be Prime Minister that we'll read for fun this weekend & then revisit when we arrive at the point of Australia's first official Prime Minister. The book is light hearted offering all sorts of funny tips, such as renaming yourself John of William, to help you in your efforts. Thus covering the real stuff, but also the funnier light hearted moments.

Both boys have suggested a mock election of our own & when I asked what they'd be running for Jayden suggested, "An entire week of being in charge!" To which I promptly said, "Oh goodie someone else can cook & clean then, yes?" Apparently if he's in charge my workload doesn't lessen so I'm pretty sure I won't be voting 1 for him.

Once we wrap up Surviving Sydney Cove we will dive into Nanberry: Black Brother White. This book will overlap, a little, with some of what we are studying now, but that's okay. We have some unanswered questions that perhaps it will help to fill in the blanks some of. This is another bit of historical fiction written by the ever talented Jackie French.

We'll move forward with Chapter 7 in our Ashton's Scholastic History Of Australia to read about the convicts from their point of view. Considering it's our non-fiction spine it will be interesting to see how it compares to that which the fictional writers have described for us.

After that we'll move into the Rum Rebellion, unless, of course, we find something else that distracts us drags us down a lovely new rabbit trail. I have to say that while I had anticipated moving a little more quickly through Australian History this year, I'm actually quite happy with the pace we've taken, the books we've read, & the discussions the boys have brought up of their own accord.

They are pretty eager to set off & see many of the places we have read about, which leads me to the final thing we're doing. We've decided to hang up a MegaMap of Australia & mark the various places as we read about them. Which might lead to a knew explorer cake for Australia Day 2014, any excuse for cake, right?!

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