I would have never thought that in my thirties I’d get the chance to be an American kid.
But homeschooling has given me the opportunity to see the world through my children’s eyes. I get to experience what it’s like to grow up as an American child, and to learn about traditions and a heritage that was foreign to me growing up in Italy.
Because I home-school, I’m fully immersed in my children’s learning patterns and vision of the world around them.
Recently, we’ve been focused on American history and had been gearing up for the Fourth of July, amidst the chaos of upcoming trips, the challenges of juggling their work, the house, which is the biggest casualty at the moment, and my own work.
I wanted to make sure that my children got the full Fourth of July experience, so we had been talking about it both in terms of what it means to the country and what they think it means to them personally.
It’s important to me that my daughters have memories of Independence Day not only in their school work but also personally.
Perhaps it’s because I didn’t grow up here, but I remember being fascinated by the Fourth of July and drawn to friends’ fond memories of going to Uncle Jo’s house for Independence Day, watching the fireworks and spending time with family.
Now I’ve gotten to actually experience what it’s like to be a child celebrating Independence Day with my offspring.
It’s not exactly a barbecue at an uncle’s home, instead of hot-dogs and burgers and a family gathering, we get my husband deployed and me, the Italian mom, who’ll probably cook pasta for the Fourth of July. But I think it’ll still be memorable.
Just so that my kids didn’t focus too much on the food, I encouraged them to make a small presentation about the Fourth of July as part of their ‘fun’ school projects.
My kindergartner’s presentation was particularly entertaining.
I’d say it was top notch and would have held the attention of any audience. Anna started by telling us about the facts surrounding the Fourth of July and the meaning of independence and freedom, and quickly moved on to her plan to write her own Declaration of Independence with important rules, such as the ability, better yet, the right to have unlimited quantities of candy at any time, day or night.
My second grader Luisa couldn’t get over the fact while the Declaration was not completed until August, the Fourth of July holiday was accepted as the official anniversary of U.S. independence.
She found this fact rather unsettling.
Luisa also liked to learn some random information around this holiday.
The fact that there’s a 1-in-6 chance that the beef on your backyard grill will came from Texas was fascinating to her. And the probability that the majority of fireworks used during the Fourth of July usually come from China was even more interesting.
It was precious and we look forward to celebrating another Independence Day together.
Anita Tedaldi is a freelance writer, mother of five and wife of an Air Force pilot. Contact her at: email@example.com