I love that working with my daughter on this Eastern Hemisphere Explorer curriculum is filling so many gaps in my own knowledge and understanding of the lay of the land and oceans beyond Europe! The continent of Australia stayed pretty much down under my radar all these years, surfacing only occasionally via grand dramas like the Thorn Birds, my husband’s Crocodile Dundee jokes and Aussie waiter accent, and the delightful episode when Bart Simpson runs up an exorbitant phone bill while seeking confirmation on the gravitational rotation of toilet water in Australia.
In any case, the daughter and I loved learning about Australia and New Zealand! We watched the movies Rabbit-Proof Fence, and Australia, (I skipped a few scenes…), read poems by Australian Aborigine writers in the book Rainbow World: Poems from Many Cultures, edited by Bashabi Fraser and Dobjani Chatterjee writers, and enjoyed the book Red Sand, Blue Sky by Cathy Applegate. We continued studying explorers with Captain James Cook and his amazing contribution to cartography, and continued our Zoology 3 studies by hopping to the chapter on marsupials and focusing on Red Kangaroos for a report. Netflix has a number of wonderful documentaries on the Pacific and The Great Barrier Reef so we watched sections of those, and created an Aborigine dot drawing! Whew!
New Zealand almost gets short shrift after Australia, but we enjoyed reading the Drovers Road series by Joyce West, and watching the heart-wrenching movie, The Whale Rider. It was rather sobering to study the WW I battle of Gallipoli. You Tube has fun videos of exuberant Maori dance, and haunting Maori song. We especially enjoyed Dame Kiri Te Kanawa sing traditional Maori folk songs.
*Update: Lately as part of keeping an eye on the tension between New Zealand and Australian naturalists and Japan’s whaling industry, we were very sad to see the high numbers of whales that stranded this past weekend.
Note – Australia and New Zealand are weeks 3,4 and 5 of Sonlight’s Eastern Hemisphere Curriculum. I’m just a tad behind in posting!