We went to see Hidden Figures on opening day. It was my mom’s idea. She was sooooo excited about this movie. As a spark schooler my big job is to introduce my kiddo to as many new things as I can, in an effort to spark an interest. This movie seemed like an awesome spark. I don’t have a Hidden Figures lesson plan, or curriculum to share with you, however, I’d like to share the “spark trail” it created for us.
We’d recently read Separate Is Never Equal, about the Mendez case that began desegregation in California schools. On the way to the movie, we talked about that book, and how it correlated to the time period. We were super lucky to have my mom in the car. She was actually going to school in the south during this time period. She, in fact, had to walk her little brother through armed National Gaurdsmen to get into her school. It was incredibly moving to hear a first hand story of this time period. It was even better that Hanna was able to ask questions to someone who’d been there, and lived through it. It was quite eye opening, and talk about making a connection to history!
After we watched the movie, I was buzzing. There were so many directions this could take us! We had more deep conversations on the way home, about civil rights, women’s rights, technology, NASA, computers… phew!
I didn’t really know what direction this was going to take us.
We stopped by the library so I could pick up a book. While we were there, Hanna picked up a few books/DVDs herself. While searching for Hidden Figures (she wanted to look at the book the movie was based on), she ended up somehow finding a Walt Whitman DVD which she borrowed. She also borrowed The March, a DVD about the march on Washington led by Martin Luther King Jr. She also picked up the book Speeches that Changed the World. I picked up Bad Girls Throughout History: 100 Remarkable Women Who Changed the World, and a book from our list that I thought would be a good next step, should we go down the path of civil rights, Sit In: How Four Friends Stood Up By Sitting Down.
Who could have guessed the adventures these books would lead us on over the next few weeks!
Hanna was showing some interest, and continuing to ask questions about the civil rights era. We picked up Sit In first. We ended up reading this at the auto dealership while my car was in for maintenance. Who else loves that you can learn anywhere?!! I particularly LOVED this book because it was so accessible. The story was really good at showing just how BIG the movement was, even if it was only small steps individuals (or 4 individuals) were taking. The end of the book has a fantastic civil rights time line, mapping out all the important events of this era. I really appreciated this because I’m “time line” challenged, and never really know when things happened in relation to one another (for anything lol).
We were lucky enough that Hanna’s grandma had some personal stories about lunch counters too, which she shared with us. There happened to be a sit in at the local soda shop here in Wichita! We are still trying to find the commemorative mural in town.
We’ve kept the speeches book in the car. (This has turned into a remarkable resource. This will be part of our permanent library.) Apparently the car is the best place for our “schooling” to happen. She always seems open and ready to do “schoolwork” there. 🙂 She picked out a speech by Susan B. Anthony to read one day. I, honestly, was not at all familiar with Susan B. Anthony, and when she read her speech it literally brought tears to my eyes. It was powerful! We’ve since read it a few more times, and each time, phew. We had some really interesting conversations about power, and women, and vocabulary! There are some pretty intense words in that speech!!
Choosing that speech led us to do a little more investigating into Susan B. Anthony. We looked her up in the Bad Girls of History book, and on the internet, which led us to do a little more digging about the women’s right’s movement.
We also listened and read Martin Luther King’s I have a Dream Speech on Martin Luther King day. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard the whole speech before. It was quite powerful to have his voice fill our car. The passion, the commitment. It was really quite moving.
We were reading some pretty heavy stuff, there was part of me dying to go find a curriculum, or lesson plan to go along with it all, to make sure we were “getting” it. But I resisted the urge. Every single time I’ve gone that route it’s abruptly ended all interest in a topic and completely shut her down. She’s 10. I don’t figure she needs to get it “all” this time around.
However, there were many times when she’d pop up with a connection between the things we’ve been reading and learning, and I knew at least some of it was sinking in. (Then I gave myself a little pat on the back for not giving into worksheet temptation.) 🙂
So, this is where it all starts to get really exciting. Because I made the worksheet mistake during the election, my kiddo has absolutely NO interest in politics at the moment. She refused to watch the inauguration, though we did discuss what it was. I also decided we were going to go to the sister march in Wichita on Saturday.
I’m going to say this… she wasn’t super thrilled about it. But it felt important to me, and I wanted her to experience at least a taste of what we’d been learning, and the power of women uniting to have their voices heard. She wasn’t apposed to the march itself, she was bummed because it felt like “school on Saturday”. (Like I said… we’re still working on the joy of learning.) Although, Friday night, watching the devastation going on in DC, I was having doubts. I certainly didn’t want to put my kiddo in danger. We went, and it was amazing. In a super red state, we had over 3000 people attend the march. The energy of women raising their voices, being heard, standing for what they believe in, it’s a powerful thing.
We left the march buzzing. She was still not overly thrilled, but she had questions, and asked them, and the next day she was still talking about it.
Problem was… what happens after the march. Yes, it’s fantastic to march, but it’s really what happens after the moment, that creates a movement. I started digging around, trying to figure out what I could do to affect the situation, and I found some solid, concrete actions I could take. I shared with her what I was doing, and she got pretty excited about it. So we decided to take some actions! It was just a matter of deciding what we would do!
We could call our senator, and tell him to vote no for cabinet appointees. We could call Paul Ryan, and make our voice heard on other issues as well. This got us talking about who our senators are, what they do, and who the heck is Paul Ryan and what’s a Speaker of the House! She was asking questions, and getting involved. She created cards for us to send to these people, since Ryan has turned off his phone, and the only way to contact our public servant, at this point, is through the mail.
So the lesson continues…
I’m not sure where it ends, but this month has shown me just how fun, interesting, and filled with learning the journey can be when we allow a spark to grow, and follow where the light leads.