Your writing team consists of Welby, Michelle, Kitchi and Makwa. Kitchi and Makwa are not their real names, but we do want to provide some protection against their identity. They are six years old and very curious about the world. They have been with us for almost two years and how they came to live with us is an entire story within itself. Maybe we can share one day. Learning in school presents challenges for both so Welby and I decided to focus more time educating them and realized that we have the perfect platform to share our learning with all of you as we go. You'll find that it will be learning with a twist of humour and surprises. The blogs will be a mix of fiction (our story) and non-fiction (true facts). All valuable learning related to everything Indigenous.
Why spend time learning with us?
Michelle has been working in education for the past 17 years, and for Welby, it has been about four years.
Welby is First Nation from Moraviantown. The boys are First Nation, and Michelle has paternal and maternal Indigenous ancestry.
First Impressions of our Indigenous Family
Here are the little munchkins when they first came to live with us.
They have come such a long way and grown tremendously in the past two years.
This picture below was taken last month. We caught them holding hands as we were walking and couldn't resist taking a pic (to remind them how much they love each other during times they argue, lol).
Their hair has taken quite some time to grow but we were finally able to braid it last month. They are proud of their hair even though they do often times get referred to as girls.
Sometimes the hair presents some challenges for Makwa due to his sensory issues. Most days, the braid doesn't last throughout the entire day and he is often found rubbing his food into his hair, but he loves his hair nonetheless.
There is a great book about boys with braids.
Check out Jay and Gizmo Learn About Boys with Braids. This isn't an affiliate link; we are promoting these well-written books for our dearest friend, Kristi White.
Places of Learning
Learning outdoors is great for those who struggle sitting in a desk or at a table. For anyone, there needs to be a healthy balance of learning opportunities.
Our blogs will teach Indigenous content in a variety of locations and we will explain reasons we do what we do.
Looking at the next image of Welby and the boys, you probably guessed that we were learning about the natural habitat in such a serene location. Sorry, that would be incorrect. We were actually helping Kitchi with his alphabet. When he graduated from senior kindergarten, he was only able to tell you about three of the letters. During the summer, we found something that motivated him... TV. We told Kitchi that he needed to learn to say his alphabet before he was able to watch shows again. Wouldn't you know it, he was able to recite the alphabet in two weeks. Well, he still misses one letter, but WOW! Two weeks. We didn't just sit at the table learning them. Boring! We reviewed them while participating in different activities such as walking and being outdoors with nature.
There are many forms of learning outdoors. While you can learn anything outdoors, you may have heard about outdoor education and land-based learning. There is a difference between all of these and we will eventually explore the differences in a future blog.
The car is a great place to learn things. Why just sit there when you could utilize that ride to your advantage. When it comes to children, I know what you are thinking, folks... tablet. I suppose they could be educational too. BUT, if driving makes you already crazy, then maybe the tablets are a better option. lol.
When driving, it's a great time to talk if you are with other people, or listen to a podcast if alone. Watching the scenery and paying attention to your surroundings is also valuable learning especially for children. If you have one or more children, how many of them would know how to find their way home if they got lost?
Visits to museums and national parks are also places of learning. Travel can be difficult for some. I get it. We are going to try it though. I'm not a fan of driving, so our road trips will be eventful. Who knows, maybe we will videotape them for your enjoyment.
Learning happens everywhere!
Where do you learn best? Let us know in the comment section. We would love to hear from you.
Indigenous People, Knowledge and Learning, History and Current Happenings
We are very excited to have you take this journey with us. Our blogs will cover many different topics. Some of the content will be too advanced or explicit for six-year-olds so we will share what we teach them and then provide the adult additions as needed.
For instance, we just honoured Orange Shirt Day, or Truth and Reconciliation Day. This is a perfect example of a time when we don't share about everything that happened to the children who attended residential schools. Little kiddos don't need to hear about abuse and children passing away.
Special Education and Learning
Our focus of the blogs will not be special education, but we wanted to provide some context of the learning you may hear about. Our boys are on a waiting list for assessments. We suspect there may be FASD and a possibility that Makwa is on the spectrum. The boys, even though they are twins, present completely different strengths and needs and the learning is different for them even though they are twins. There are differences in approaches to learning across ethnic groups and it often results from location. For instance, styles of learning in Nunavut are going to be different to those in Southern Ontario.
Makwa is quick to learn new information. Kitchi, on the other hand, struggles with retaining letters, numbers and some information unless there is the motivation which we saw this summer. Teach him a dance step though, and he will attempt to replicate it on his first try.
Makwa does not sit still long and does not like to stay in the classroom. He tends to hit sensory overload many times in one day. Lego and puzzles are his passion and will keep him entertained for longer periods of time. Oh, the tablet. Both boys, if given the opportunity would sit in front of a screen for hours.
I'm sure many of you have heard of fidgets. These have a tendency of becoming a distraction with some children, but if taught the expectations, they can help. For us, sometimes having the boys hold the turtles below help them to focus longer.
Thank you for joining us!
We invite you to leave a comment and share your own experience, either Indigenous or non-Indigenous. Or, request something particular that you would like to learn about.
Michelle, Welby, Kitchi, and Makwa