Today is Sorry Day and I would like to extend my apologies to all Aboriginal people past, present and future from where I live on Darug and Gundungurra land.
One thing I’ve enjoyed about homeschooling over the last few months is the freedom to embed different cultural perspectives into our curriculum, particularly Indigenous voices. Each week I’ve tried to include at least one lesson to specifically do so. Here are some examples of what we’ve done.
(Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware this post does contain one image of someone who has died.)
– Of all the silly episodes, one about an out-of-control emu inspired me to include the book Young Dark Emu
into our work. We learned about the “emu in the sky
” and collected sandstone to turn into ochre which we used to paint ourselves and a tree in our yard with symbols including, of course, an emu.
– We read the dreamtime story The Echidna and the Shade Tree
and I created a worksheet of follow-up questions for Ms 7, which led to a discussion about why dreamtime stories were created and why we still listen to them.
In general I’ve been trying to incorporate books written by Aboriginal authors, doing an acknowledgment of country and trying to teach my kids about the way Australia was colonised and how this influences the telling of history. I know primary schools still have a long way to go in terms of incorporating Aboriginal history and culture so I hope this at least gives them a little bit of foundation.
I wrote this post to demonstrate that it’s easier than you might think to make these curriculum connections. With homeschooling, one of my concerns has always been that I don’t want to give my kids a myopic view of the world. Particularly as a migrant who did not grow up learning about Australian history I was worried I’d be out of my depth in terms of teaching this subject. But really it’s just a matter of finding the right resources and I’m glad to say I’ve learned a lot along the way too.
I’m not an expert by any means and will probably make mistakes along the way. Certainly they’ll benefit more when they can learn directly from the lived experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. But while our homeschooling journey is coming to an end “officially” I also still have plenty of opportunities as a parent to try to decolonise my children’s education.