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Thread: Who Owns the Sun- it didn't "click" with my daughter

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    Question Who Owns the Sun- it didn't "click" with my daughter

    When I previewed this book, it brought forth so much emotion in me and I was hoping that it would do the same in my 6yo. Prior to the reading, we wrote a list of things to wonderful to own... and "people" was the first thing she had listed. Well, she seemed to file it (slavery) away in her mind like another boring fact. Later in the day, I had asked her to throw something in the trash for me and she said, "I'm not your slave"!!!

    So... it obviously didn't click with her. Any ideas to help? I wonder if she's too immature for this (beautiful!!!) book?

  2. #2
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    Not sure how old she is, but this is an inconceivable concept for many little people to grasp. Have you looked at this book? If You Lived When There Was Slavery in America.

    Also, there are some very poignant children's books that narrate from the slaves' perspectives, and help the child grasp just how painful this would be. I remember reading one about a child and her quilt (that was used to document the runaway slave route), for example. Perhaps reviewing a few (age-appropriate) biographies would also help. The Who Was series is a great one for elementary age groups.

    I loved doing Who Owns the Sun with my kids, but we had already done a lot of contextualizing by the time we got to that one. I'd say stay with it a while; it is important to help her work this out. (If you feel she's ready or ought to by now.) Maybe row Follow the Drinking Gourd as a follow up as well might help.
    Mama of two lovely ladies: Carina (10) & Madelyn (8).

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    This is one of the books that I waited to row until I thought/knew my child was ready. You're right. Slavery is a big idea, and it may be a really difficult concept for young children to wrap their brains around. Vicki's book suggestion is a good one; in fact, there's a whole series of If You Lived... books. Did you select any other books to read, too? If you need suggestions, there's a good list in the Volume 1 archives.

    It's okay if you decide to put this title away for now, or you might choose to ignore her first responses and continue anyway. You know your child best.
    Mom to Grace (14), Sarah (12), and Hannah (10)
    Using my college degree in ways I never imagined....

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    I, too, waited on Who Owns The Sun.

    I like Vicki's suggestions

    Have you done any other "slavery" type books with her? Any info on the Civil War? Anything about Harriet Tubman or runaway slaves?
    I remember doing Civil War books, in general, with my kids and then talking about the Underground Railroad. We actually toured a plantation house and the site of a civil war battle and slave quarters. Once they understood the circumstances and history a bit more, we did Who Owns the Sun.

    Of course, you could also take it from a different perspective and be very basic about what slavery is. Do you know there is still "slavery" in the world? Not many years ago, there was info released about children who were enslaved and were picking cocoa beans on plantations. It was hushed up because the "West" decided that they wanted to be able to SELL said chocolate and didn't want people worried about "how" they were getting it. Again, that's a lot for a 6 year old to understand.

    If you intend to continue, I'd definitely give some historical background The basics are definitely understandable.
    Wife to Jim and Mama to Katie (1/01), Mattie (9/02), Cale (4/05), and Ben (8/08)

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    Who Owns the Sun was chosen for FIAR as book that "introduces" an important topic in the history of our country. But it was only meant as an introduction so that children are slowly taught about slavery and not overwhelmed with the topic when they are older. I didn't imagine that a lot more would be added for young children but just that they would have touched on the subject.

    The deep emotions that are stirred by adults as they read the story are based on great amounts of information and life experiences that children are not expected to have. Therefore, your student won't react as you do and that is fine. Through Who Owns the Sun students are gently introduced to the topic. As they move through their studies in years to come more information will be added and their understanding will grow.

    Also, reactions from a student such as "I'm not your slave," does show a partial comprehension of the subject though perhaps misapplied. I would use that response to dialogue about the important difference between one person "owning a family" versus the privileges and responsibilities of "being a part" of a family. To rightly grasp the dynamics of parents respecting their children and children respecting and obeying their parents, and of how families live and work lovingly together, is an essential part of growing up.

    These are just a few more ideas to consider as you work through this book.
    Jane Claire
    Author of
    Before Five in a Row , Five in a Row
    and Five in a Row Nature Fall, and Winter, Spring and now Summer!

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    I just LOVE this book but I too waited until my girls were older to share. I think the timing was appropriate because...each of my daughters wept when they were first introduced. I liked the suggestions you received from Vicki, Laura, Paige and Jane . I just wanted to add that when my girls were younger and we were rowing, there WERE times that we decided that a particular book wasn't a good fit. It was a really good time to remind the girls that one of the blessings of homeschooling is that we had the flexibility to choose which direction their learning would travel. It empowered them, it made them active participants/partners in the educational process and it helped to reinforce their self confidence. Just something to consider. Sorry to just drop in, but when I saw Who Owns the Sun I couldn't help but open the thread!
    IN THE END, ONLY KINDNESS MATTERS
    Mom to 5 girls and 5 furry kids too
    20 Years Homeschooling and still learning

  7. #7

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    Thank you for your suggestions, ladies! I decided to persist with the book because, like Jane mentioned, it seems to be a gentle way to introduce this concept. She seems to be "getting it" more and more each day- asking appropriate questions and whatnot. She seemed quite disappointed to learn that this happened here, where we live, in the South, and said she wanted to move to Ohio or Colorado! haha. I did get her "The Drinking Gourd" from the library and we're going though that as well. I think that is all we will do for the slavery aspect of the book, because a lot of it is just really over her head.

  8. #8

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    I'm struggling with this as well...my six year old started crying! We watched a couple of videos and read a few go-a-longs, but it seems it was too much for her little heart. She even looked at my with eyes full of tears and asked, "Mama, you're white, would you do that?!?" uhg, my heart!
    Eva~ child of God, wife to James, and homeschooling, ASL using, IEP advocating, encouraging Mama to my Special Lovely Blessings :Beauty 10, Bubbles 8, and Baby 6 via the miracle of adoption.

  9. #9
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    You know your child best, but making too much or too little of something can be disastrous. We covered the Civil War, in great detail due to children's interest, around 2nd & 3rd grade level. There were no tears just genuine curiosity, genuine shock by some things, stances for what they felt sure they might have done. There are children who break down over hearing Christ dying for them too, because let's be honest in a child's innocent world the idea that anyone could be so horrible to another human is hard to fathom. My children, have never coped well with books where family members, especially children, are ill treated at the hands of other family members. They cannot fathom that type of cruelty.

    Maybe putting the book away & saving it for another year or two would be wiser than stirring up unnecessary emotions when there's a lack of maturity to go with it. Keep in mind I am a "Better Late Than Early" kinda Mamma & it's worked well for my family.
    Kendra, wife of Lawrence, mother of three.

    I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves.

  10. #10

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    I think you are right.. She is one of those that cried hearing about Jesus on the Cross. She also cries when she sees people asking for money, and the homeless.
    Eva~ child of God, wife to James, and homeschooling, ASL using, IEP advocating, encouraging Mama to my Special Lovely Blessings :Beauty 10, Bubbles 8, and Baby 6 via the miracle of adoption.

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