19 September, 2016

Teaching the boys about their passport country

You might know that I like to read to the family after dinner. I generally read fiction, but a few times I've read non-fiction. Almost always about Australia. 

Some time ago a friend sent us this selection of books from a series called "Australia's Best". It's getting a little dated now (it was published 11 years ago), but I've picked it up for another read through with the guys. 

The books are pretty simple, one- or two-page biographies of famous Aussies. But It's been fun, more fun than they anticipated (groans from one boy in particular at the start). Last week we were reading about musicians and it was fun to Google songs by these famous Australians. One day we read about Slim Dusty and AC/DC! They realised they know songs from both. There was lots of reminiscing when we got to The Wiggles!

Reading about sports stars just after the Olympics was timely too. 

We've just started with scientists. The first two in the book were women who became doctors in the latter half of the 1800s when women couldn't study medicine in Australia. Both travelled overseas to qualify. One, Constance Stone, returned and became Australia's first woman doctor in 1892. The other, Agnes Bennett, also returned, but struggled to find work in Australia (and also England). She eventually took over another woman's practice in New Zealand.

I love reading to my kids like this and being about to learn about Australia at the same time is a huge bonus. 

Did you wonder about my title? I've had people say "Passport country: that's cumbersome!" But it is the standard when talking about kids like ours who have grown up outside their parent's home country. Australia isn't home to them in the same sense it is to us, but they do have ties there. They've grown up with parents who grew up in Australia and have many ties there, plus that's where their citizenship lies. Yes, it's a little cumbersome, but it is also descriptive without assuming too much.

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