(If you must have politics, please keep scrolling)
The parents of the two students of Ethiopian descent grew up in Ethiopia and immigrated to the United States several years ago. It is my understanding that this couple, both of them well-educated individuals and practicing Christians, came here for the freedoms and the other opportunities that America offers. I've heard some mention of persecution of the parents in Ethiopia, but haven't pursued classroom discussion of the topic as the two girls are not enrolled in my history courses.
Anyway, the point of this post is not to discuss politics. Rather, I want to share information about how one of these girls, M, is such a fine student.
Every week or two, M's parents load all five of their always-immaculately-dressed-and-groomed children into the family's minivan and make a trip to the public library. They return home loaded down with armloads of books as if treasures. In their home, which I have visited several times, rarely does a child greet me without telling me about the "new" book that has brought delight into that child's life. The younger children clamor to be read to, and, of course, the parents do so constantly – even when their mother was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer last spring. Nothing gets in the way of education with this family!
As one might expect, M is one of the most avid readers I've ever encountered among all the students I have ever taught! She reads Shakespeare for fun – and has done so for at least two years, She does research on the web She reads the newspaper. You name it, she reads it.
M, not yet twelve years old, knows more about the history of America than most other homeschoolers I have encountered even as compared to students at the high school level. M's parents find the time to take their children to museums and to patriotic events. These children know America's heritage – their heritage. Furthermore, nobody in the family, including the extended family, refers to Ethiopia as "my country." Instead, America is "my country." Assimilation!
VFW's Patriot's Pen contest: "What Would I Tell America's Founding Fathers?" M chose to discuss Jacob Broom, "a plain good man" and perhaps the least known of the men at the Constitutional Convention. She knew a lot of details about Broom because, over the summer, she had read a biography about him and his role in the American Revolution and at the Constitutional Convention. For over 300 words, M's words leaped off the page and brought the man to life – her point being that a person whom one might consider insignificant can make a substantial contribution to establishing a nation – the best nation on earth as far as M is concerned and so stated. She garnered an A+ from me, and I rarely put that grade on a composition.
When we cover material new to M, her whole face lights up! Last year, with FreeThinke's help, I presented an Emily Dickinson unit. Although M reads and writes a lot of poetry, she had never before heard of Emily Dickinson. With new material coming to her attention, M got an intense look on her face – a look of joy, really – and participated more actively than any other student in the discussions of the poems in the unit. M took notes during the biopioc of Emily Dickinson's life and, after class, searched out as many Dickinson poems as she could find. This year, when we read a few of the Belle of Amherst's poems in class one day, M showed how much she retained of last year's poetry unit. I might as well have had M teaching the class!
M is way ahead of her grade level in every subject. I attribute her academic success and her joy of learning to her parents' commitment to education – and to her great intellect, too, of course. I also must not omit her dedication to the Lord. She does everything as unto the Lord: And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord...(Colossians 3:23).
America needs more immigrants like M's family.