So I've been teaching the girls lessons on World Geography since December, with one country spotlighted each week using video tours, map work, worksheets, and fun country-specific activities. So far we have covered the assigned countries in our curriculum for Europe, Asia, and North America.
This week, we studied Mexico, with the first part of the week focused on learning a little about the history of Mexico, including the history of the native Mexican people and how Spanish Conquistadors explored and later claimed Mexico for Spain until Mexico became it's own independent nation. Later in the week, as part of our studies we created a "quilt" of images that are representative of the culture and peoples of Mexico. We colored images of Chichen Itza, a cactus, a sombrero, the flag of Mexico, etc.
One of the last images added to our patchwork of Mexico was of a bull. When we got to that image, Sarah's eye's lit up with a spark of recognition... "Momma! Is that bull there because they have bullfights in Mexico?!"
"Yes," I replied,"bullfighting is the national sport of Mexico"
"But Momma," Hannah said, "that's the sport for Spain, too!"
"Mmm-hmm. Why do you think Spain and Mexico would have the same sports?" I asked.
"Ooh ooh, I know!" Hannah said excitedly. "It's because Spain and Mexico are neighbors!"
Mentally facepalming myself... I sighed and composed my patient, kind-Mommy response. "No honey, remember we learned about Spain, that it's part of Europe, and that the explorers who came to Mexico came all the way across the Atlantic Ocean from Spain. It was a far voyage, so they're definitely not neighbors. Try again. Why would Mexico and Spain have the same sport?"
Sarah chimed in, "Ooh, it's because they both speak SPANISH!"
"Oooookaaayy. But why do they share the same language and sports?"
"Remember girls, we learned that Spain ruled the country of Mexico for many years? That means that people from the country of Spain owned and lived in Mexico, and so they would have similar language, foods, sports, etc."
"Do you remember, girls, when we learned that Great Britain used to own and rule the 13 original colonies of what is now the United States? Remember I told you that?"
"YES!" they beamed cutely.
"Ok, well we speak English here and for many years had many things in common with the people of Great Britain because it was British people who originally helped start our country. In Mexico, it was the country of Spain that helped make Mexico what it is today, so the people there speak Spanish and have more in common with the people of Spain."
"Sooooooo, Mommy," Sarah asked, "Most people here in America speak Spanish?"
(Losing my cool)... "What? Where did you hear me say that?? Most people here speak English. That's the official language of the United States."
"Ohhhh, ok," Hannah mused, "so that means in Spain people speak English,too?"
"Gah!" I decided to start again, "Ok, listen. In Spain they speak..."
"Good! And what do they speak in Mexico, since Spain ruled Mexico for many hundreds of years?"
"Good! And since the United Stated was ruled by Great Britain instead of Spain, what do we speak here in the United States?"
Is it this hard when teaching in public schools?!
In their defense, they're mostly right nowadays for a big part of our country. :)