digging (to) china

So Lulu and Mr. T want to learn about China. Here’s their brainstorming list:

  • learn to write in Chinese symbols with ink
  • read about Chinese goddesses and myths
  • write a Chinese version of an American Fairy tale (Lon Po Po comes to my mind)
  • learn the history of chopsticks
  • research and prepare Chinese food (“Potstickers!” says Mr. T)
  • learn how to speak some Mandarin
  • go to China

That last suggestion was from Mr. T.  I explained that such a trip was probably not in the budget this year.

A few more ideas popped into my head:

  • learn about items invented in China (so many!)
  • raise silkworms (if I can find a mulberry tree closer to home than the one in the botanical garden from which I guiltily stole leaves when we did this years ago)
  • make Chinese kites
  • learn how rice is grown (oooh! I found a great website on growing rice as a houseplant! And my neighbor owns one of the seed supply companies mentioned!)
  • learn how tea is grown
  • learn about religion and spirituality in China

Then Lulu came up with the Best Idea Ever. She wants to write a fake blog about traveling in China.

This would be her second fake blog. Not long after starting a real blog, she and her friend thought it would be fun to write a fake one together, based on characters they play in a movie they’ve been filming for two years now. No wait, the blog is supposedly written by the fake actresses who play the characters in the movie they’ve been filming. (Are you following this?) Since the actresses are well-paid movie stars, money is no object. They have purebred dogs, which Lulu and her friend researched online, of course. I believe one of them has an emu. And a few weeks ago, the two actresses decided to take a trip around the world.

Lulu and her friend spent a lovely summer afternoon at the computer, mapping out their trip. They researched how long flights would take, and searched for “quaint little beach villages” on the western coast of Ireland. (How do two young girls use the internet to find quaint beach villages in western Ireland? I have no idea.) They looked for the ritziest hotel possible in Madrid. Lulu insisted I come to the computer to check out her suite at the beach resort where they’ll be staying in the French Riviera. She was so pleased with finding the place, you’d think she’d actually be staying there.

Then they started blogging about their trip.

Anyway, when we started talking about Asia, Lulu lit up over the idea of writing an Asia travel blog. Or a fake Asia travel blog. This blog won’t be written by a movie actress, mind you; it will be written in the voice of a more lowly, Average Jane. It’s a brilliant idea, if you think of it.  In addition to lots of writing, Lulu will incorporate photos–both hers and ones found on the internet. She’ll link to interesting websites. She’ll do all sorts of research on cities and sites in Asia. She’ll be able to take advantage of all the cool features on Google maps and Google Earth.

And it will be much cheaper than Mr. T’s suggestion of actually going to China.

Got any good recommendations for a study of China? Do leave a comment!

7 comments… add one
  • melissa s. Sep 10, 2008 @ 19:58

    sounds like you have the bases well covered! i’m so inspired by your approach toward learning. i’m in the process of figuring out what educational path to take with my kids and am so thankful for blogs like yours!

  • suzee Sep 11, 2008 @ 5:56

    She’s such a clever girl…I may have to try fake travel blogging, too!

    One of the family events at the Asian Museum in the City, if you haven’t already? Their collection is incredible, but a little dull, so the events make it better for kids.

    How about field trips to SF and Oakland’s Chinatowns to talk about immigration and what the Chinese brought to each of those communities from home (there’s some fabulous old architecture in the SF CTown).

    ‘Cause you know I’m all about the field trips.

  • Laura Sep 11, 2008 @ 22:26

    You know I’m loving the Asia project!

  • patricia Sep 11, 2008 @ 22:43

    Oh, great ideas, Suzee! Youda thunk I would have remembered the Asian Art Museum, but no. I’ll look into the family events! I think we’ll have to go to some of those crazy herb shops in Chinatown. I don’t know what we’ll look for yet, but I’m sure something interesting will beckon.

    And yes, Laura, I knew you’d love the Asia project. You’ll need to refresh my memory with a list of Hjordis-isms so my kids can fulfill their desire to “speak a little Chinese”. Oh, and you can teach us how to make 100-year-old eggs in the backyard! It’s all coming back to me now! Oh my gosh–I just realized that you sent an email that I haven’t responded to! What a loser I am! And now everyone who reads my blog comments knows it! (If they didn’t already.) I’m glad you like me anyway.

  • Jody Sep 12, 2008 @ 4:29

    Well, you know I love this approach to learning! I like to see how it can work with more than one kid, too. You all will have fun!

  • Lynnie Sep 24, 2008 @ 20:06

    What a great year you have ahead of you! A trip through Asia sounds fantastic! My two year old once became fascinated with China after reading several children’s books based in China. So, obviously at only two years that’s a much lower level of real understanding, but one thing she loved was the talk of Dragons. As one of our projects we ended up making a Dragon Boat painting that then had to be hung in the bathroom where there was space.

    I had a couple ideas while I was reading through your list, but I don’t think you can beat your daughter’s idea of a fake travel blog! That sounds unbelievably intriguing to me! Will it be public so we can travel along?

    What lucky kids you have!

  • patricia Sep 25, 2008 @ 9:41

    Thanks for leaving a comment, Lynnie. I’m a former teacher too; I think that role becomes a part of you for life. Sometimes that’s good, sometimes bad…

    Did you put a photo of your dragon boat project on your blog? I’d love to see it.

    I’m not sure what will happen with the fake travel blog. Lily hasn’t seemed as enthusiastic about it lately. If I don’t push, she may come back to it. I don’t think the blog would be public, but maybe she’ll let me sample bits of it here. Maybe.

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