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You might be laughing reading the title of this post. It sounds very idealistic, oldfashioned, and narchist. Nationalism is rarely considered in the education world. It is just a formality of being accreditated in the education world. That is what happens mostly in the public school here in Indonesia.
Civics and social studies have been a very tormenting subjects for most students here as it contains easily forgettable fact memorization. As it is closer to our boy scout camping event with our homeschooling community, it is great building nationalism in homeschooling with real civics.
Before we go further, let’s see the definition of nationalism according to Merriam Webster,
na·tion·al·ism noun \ˈnash-nə-ˌli-zəm, ˈna-shə-nə-ˌli-zəm\
: a feeling that people have of being loyal to and proud of their country often with the belief that it is better and more important than other countries
In other words, nationalism is the sense of loyalty toward country. I cannot imagine how the world will be without nationalism. No country will get its freedom as nobody will defend it. None will work hard for the country at all as they might get more money by working in other country. Can you imagine if all people think the same way?
The schooled children will have a lot of time for sure to know more about their country as the government required them to. In Indonesia, it is required on paper, but in practice, none knows. Civics and social studies as a graduation requirement subject would not be enough to make us know and love the country without real practice and action.
How can we love and be loyal to our country if we don’t know about it. Here are some activities you can do to boost your homeschooling children’s nationalism:
- Know your national anthem
How many of you and your family can sing the national anthem? It sounds very silly learning the national anthem without going for the flag ceremony. That is what we are doing right now. The lyrics of the national anthem usually reflects the soul of the country. It is hopefully can grow the love to the nation.
- Read some books about national history and geography
Knowing more about your country in terms of when and where should be something enjoyable so that learners could have the feeling of being grateful of whatever country they have. Thus, they can love their country for whatever it is. That is one beginning of a sense of nationalism.
- Find out the story behind the national holidays
Usually we are just too excited to find the red number in the calendar as it is the holiday time. We don’t care whatever holidays they are. Starting to discuss and find out about the story behind holidays, especially the national holidays beside the traditional holidays.
- Read the newspaper or find out about some current event
As a citizen of our country, we try to get kids read the news paper regarding some important news about the government. If it is too difficult, we read it with them and discuss about it. Of course we try to censor some inappropriate news and ads which is found around the newspaper. However, it is great also to discuss some of the inappropriate news as long as it is acceptable on their limit.
- Participate in scouting activities
That is what we are doing right now. Based on Indonesian scouting website, http://www.pramuka.or.id, scouting adopt family education center. Homeschooling and scouting can go together hand on hand. The main purpose of scouting at first was to grow the attitude of patriotism and nationalism among children and youth. At the moment I really want to read the book written by Lord Baden Powell: Scouting for Boys: The Original 1908 Edition (Dover Books on Sports and Popular Recreations). There is also the kindle version of this book, but I am not sure about the quality: Robert Baden-Powell: Scouting for Boys, The Original (Illustrated)
- Minimize the sense of racialism in society
Indonesia is a country with a lot of tribes live in. In real life, we meet people who are not in the same race with us. There are some issue of racialism sometimes and it is good that we try to minimize and even eliminate the issue of racialism among people so we have a sense of unity in diversity that makes up our country. The facts of multi races life should not be a barrier for people to build the country, but it should be a challenge to build up and support each other.
- Know your national heroes
There are many ways of getting information about the national heroes. The text book should be the worst way for us to know about the national heroes. There are some documentary movies and story books. If we cannot find living books, we can use a compilation books sold in the local book stores. By knowing the national heroes, we can learn how people defend the country, to what extend the heroes love the country and also some motivation and messages behind the stories.
- Know some traditional cultures in your country
Well, as I said previously, Indonesia is a country with many cultures. I don’t know with other countries. Knowing traditional cultures can fertilize the love to the country. Many things that we can experience from different cultural backgrounds: greetings, food, folk dances, folk songs, and even traditions.
- Participate in some national events
How lucky you are when you can participate in any international event representing your country. That might be too sophisticated for you. Attending some national scale events such as carnivals and public market or festivals can give some sense of proud to the country, especially if there is a competition between countries that involves your country.
- Find out some basic governmental system of your country
This is the hardest part of civics lessons in my country. The young kids have to know and even memorize the governmental system. It seems very impossible. For us, the best part for doing this activity is during the general election or any kinds of election in our country that involve the government. During the campaign period we have time to introduce ourselves and kids to the governmental system. We know the governmental system through making the ID cards. Involving kids whenever we make important documents such as certificate, ID, and passport will help them know the citizenship things.
Honestly, the image of civics and social studies in my country has been very terrible so far. Government can say it is an important subject by it is not easy to plant the right seed to the younger generation. For homeschooling family, why don’t we make it as simple subjects?