Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Emily has a new found interest in reading--possibly because her friend from Albuquerque is reading independently now. I didn't hear too much being said about that, but maybe enough that Em picked up on it and decided that she was ready to practice some more. So, she's been reading several pages from The Witch Who was Afraid of Witches, a Level 3 reader, each night. She's reading with her father, and it's amazing what a great job she does when the motivation is her own. Practice and familiarity are all she needs with most of the words, and she'd be reading chapter books on her own. It'll be interesting to watch all this unfold. Right now, I'm just a bit apprehensive that her father will push her, but I think he's gotten the whole unschooling thing, and I may not be giving him enough credit.

We received a promotional issue of National Geographic this month that has articles on Egypt and the Afghani refugee with the haunting eyes, so Emily, Julia and I have been reading a bit and talking about the different pictures. Em opened to one of the pictures on Egypt and gasped, "Look at all those hieroglyphs!" and she pointed out the step pyramid designed by Imhotep, the villified priest, scribe and healer from The Mummy--both WB's kids' version and the comic/movie. She's really fascinated by Egypt and has learned so much!

We also talked a lot about Afghanistan, refugees, women's rights, the science behind identity verification, stuff like that. The girls were incredulous when we talked about wearing a burka and that women weren't allowed to go out in public without them. One of the recent pictures of Sharbat Gula shows her seated with her daughter, brother and husband. Her face is exposed, though her headwrap is still in place, and she looks so incredibly uncomfortable, an expression that stands in sharp contrast to the ease with which the men gaze into the camera. By Islamic law, she is not allowed to smile at any man other than her husband, but her expression is more than that--she's angry that the photographer is penetrating her veil. Of the burka, she says, "It is a beautiful thing to wear, not a curse." Some very interesting conversations.

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