A dear friend of mine officially adopted her second son and we were thrilled to get an invitation to be at the courthouse on that special day.
As an unschooler, I immediately saw the educational benefits of attending with my kids.
When I was thinking of fun ways to teach this concept, it occurred to me that one of my favorite Disney cartoons of all time would be perfect! LAMBERT!
Full cartoon can be watched on YouTube:
Social Science (Adoption)
Introducing the concept of adoption was delicate. One one hand, there is an unwanted child or a child that can't be cared for by their biological mother. It is a sad idea, and I knew my kids wouldn't fully understand. On the other hand, there is a loving family who desires greatly to take in a child and raise it as their own. It's an emotionally complicated subject. Which is why it is an important thing to learn about correctly. I explained to Marley that my friend is legally adopting her son. It took me a few times explaining it, for the idea to click. I mentioned that it was like Lambert the Sheepish Lion (a cartoon she is very familiar with); The lion cub who was obviously from a different family, but the mother sheep who loved her lion son more than anything in the world. I could see her eyes light up. She definitely understood better by making the connection. Disney magic!
Social Science (Legal System)
Our field trip to the courthouse was awesome! We walked around the grounds of the courthouse, and we discussed that there are laws that are made to protect people and make sure things are done correctly. I explained that many of the legal proceedings are completed in front of a judge at the local courthouse. I was so glad I brought to kids to support their little friend and his newly official family. Watching the actual adoption was fun to witness. The judge was funny and very nice offering to take pictures with everyone. It was a beautiful experience for all of us.
Language Arts (Spelling)
We centered the week around the letter "L" - Lambert, Lion, Lamb, Love... etc
We learned the meaning of the word "sheepish"
We also read the lyrics to the song "Lambert." It reads like a story and is a fun way to associate reading with watching a cartoon.
Character Development (Bullying)
Most of us familiar with this cartoon, remember the lamb crew that pick on poor Lambert for being different. My first impression of them was, "What a bunch of little jerks!" But as I've grown up and experienced more, I've realized that everyone (even though they may not realize it) has been on both ends; being both the bully and the bullied.
Bullying should not be tolerated in any shape or form, however, I think it is important to remember that bullies are merely lost and suffering from emotional stress. Sometimes kids just don't realize the harm they are doing.
I often tell my kids that there will always be peers that judge and ridicule. I prepare them by saying that people can make bad choices and do mean things. But I also make sure my kids know that the best way to handle the situation, is to steer clear of a person hurting them and to forgive that person. When we watch the lambs laughing at Lambert and hurting his feelings, it is easy to label them the bad guys... that is until we see a bigger villain --- the WOLF!
After Lambert displays his heroic side, the lambs realize they were wrong in judging him and they learn to treat him as a friend. Aside from the lesson that bullying is not okay, this cartoon gives a great example of repentance and forgiveness. No grudges are held, and once again Disney provides a happy ending. With love and acceptance in our hearts, we can also create many happy endings. :)