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Question about ancestry project

Posted by on Apr. 1, 2010 at 12:23 PM
  • 11 Replies

My son is in second grade and he has to do an ancestry project. He chose to do it on my Grandmother who came here from Poland before WWII broke out. He has to make a paper doll showing how people dress in that country and do an oral report. Should we just dress the doll in the "traditional" folk dress of Poland even if it didn't reflect how my Grandmother lived? Also, the Jewish people in Poland had a very different experience than other people in the country. I feel like I can't give my son an accurate picture of what life was like there without talking about anti-semitism and the Holocaust. I checked out some children's book on the topic from the library. Do you think he's too young to introduce this topic? I think I may be overthinking this assignment.

by on Apr. 1, 2010 at 12:23 PM
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Replies (1-10):
celestegood
by Member on Apr. 1, 2010 at 12:25 PM

no, what you wanna do sounds right on for his age.  We think our little ones are more fragile than they really are.  Keep the terms age appropriate, as well as the info.

natesmom1228
by on Apr. 1, 2010 at 12:26 PM

I guess it would depend on how you think he will be with it. I would not with my son because its not something he would understand. I would stay with the clothes, the food, the music and different cultural items about it. Good luck and I hope it turns out well.

auroragold
by on Apr. 1, 2010 at 12:29 PM

 I think you're doing a very good job of overthinking the assignment! Shows that you care about what he learns and that you're investing time in his education. JMO

Since it's about HIS ancestry - I don't see why you should stray from the Polish Jewish way of life that your grandmother lived. Go for it. 

And - only YOU can assess how much of the Holocaust he can handle. I'd consider a gentle introduction about discrimination due to religious beliefs and not get into the devastating dirty details just yet.

It's sort of like a black family doing family heritage - you have similar issues to confront trying to figure out how much to say when, etc.

GOOD LUCK - and show us his paper dolls when you're done.

kmrtigger
by Kandice on Apr. 1, 2010 at 12:34 PM

 

Quoting auroragold:

 I think you're doing a very good job of overthinking the assignment! Shows that you care about what he learns and that you're investing time in his education. JMO

Since it's about HIS ancestry - I don't see why you should stray from the Polish Jewish way of life that your grandmother lived. Go for it. 

And - only YOU can assess how much of the Holocaust he can handle. I'd consider a gentle introduction about discrimination due to religious beliefs and not get into the devastating dirty details just yet.

It's sort of like a black family doing family heritage - you have similar issues to confront trying to figure out how much to say when, etc.

GOOD LUCK - and show us his paper dolls when you're done.

 She nailed it! Great advice. And yes please share pictures of his project. Best of luck!

natesmom1228
by on Apr. 1, 2010 at 12:47 PM


Quoting auroragold:

 I think you're doing a very good job of overthinking the assignment! Shows that you care about what he learns and that you're investing time in his education. JMO

Since it's about HIS ancestry - I don't see why you should stray from the Polish Jewish way of life that your grandmother lived. Go for it. 

And - only YOU can assess how much of the Holocaust he can handle. I'd consider a gentle introduction about discrimination due to religious beliefs and not get into the devastating dirty details just yet.

It's sort of like a black family doing family heritage - you have similar issues to confront trying to figure out how much to say when, etc.

GOOD LUCK - and show us his paper dolls when you're done.


Great advice.

StephanieSH
by on Apr. 1, 2010 at 12:49 PM

I'm really bad when it comes to the Holocaust.  I get tears in my eyes reading the children's books so I have a hard time discussing it with my kids.  I know this is terrible, but it always makes me think about how I would have felt standing in line at the gas chambers and trying to comfort my kids.  I internalize it a lot.

hepmommy
by on Apr. 1, 2010 at 1:56 PM


Quoting auroragold:

 I think you're doing a very good job of overthinking the assignment! Shows that you care about what he learns and that you're investing time in his education. JMO

Since it's about HIS ancestry - I don't see why you should stray from the Polish Jewish way of life that your grandmother lived. Go for it. 

And - only YOU can assess how much of the Holocaust he can handle. I'd consider a gentle introduction about discrimination due to religious beliefs and not get into the devastating dirty details just yet.

It's sort of like a black family doing family heritage - you have similar issues to confront trying to figure out how much to say when, etc.

GOOD LUCK - and show us his paper dolls when you're done.

Everything she said was spot-on, but I like the part in red best.

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Barabell
by Barbara on Apr. 1, 2010 at 3:52 PM

Your post has really gotten me thinking about how I would approach this subject.  It's a very sensitive issue.  You know your child better than anyone else, and so I'm confident you will do what is right for him.  So I'm going to approach this question from how I would handle the issue.

I would want my child to represent how my grandmother would have dressed because I would want to pass on the pride of our specific ancestry to him.

I also do not think 8 years old is too young to approach the subject.  We actually talked about a few other negative things in history with our son younger than that.  He was also in 1st grade when he studied the story of Ruby Bridges at school, and that cannot be told without discussing segregation in our country.  And when we discussed that story at home, the topic of segregation lead to a discussion about slavery.  So thinking about that got me trying to remember when we first discussed the Holocaust with our son, and I think he was about 8 year old.  I'm feeling bad because I cannot remember the details of having a discussion.  I believe the discussion revolved around a media reference we had seen about Hitler, and that discussion inevitably brought about the Holocaust.  My son is 10 now, and I was just discussing something related to the Holocaust a few weeks ago in front of him and he seemed to understand what I referring to.  (Odd, I know, but it was discussing what I had seen during some travels, and one of the memories I talked about involved a tribute to Jewish people living in Prague that died during the Holocaust.)

I think allowing your son to see how passionately you feel about the Holocaust may not be as bad as you think.  I remember sometimes learning more about an issue when I saw my mom be passionate about it, as opposed to just reading it from a book.

Good luck, and I would also love to see pictures of the final product.


hholllyy426
by on Apr. 1, 2010 at 4:07 PM

I think its good to talk about it and stuff, especially if your grandmother experienced it. Just make sure the information is easy enough for second graders to understand. And if you want to you can make 2 paper dolls, one with the folk dress and one on how your grandmother lived/dressed.

rkoloms
by on Apr. 1, 2010 at 6:36 PM

Hannah's Suitcase is a wonderful book about the Holocaust that I think will be at your son's level.

Robin in Chicago

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