02 Apr Teaching Mayan History in Modern Guatemala
Those who have visited Dorie’s Promise understand the juxtaposition of our world. We live within the modern conveniences of Guatemala City and our community outreach programs stretch into very rural communities. Flowing throughout is the rich history of our indigenous Mayan culture. As part of our homeschool program, we’re teaching Mayan history in modern Guatemala.
Studies in Mayan History
Given the many advantages a modern city holds, exchanging Mayan culture and heritage for conveniences more closely aligned with international business would be easy. But, we want a way to celebrate the rich history, traditions, and culture that define this country.
Several years ago, our children began new classes at school aimed at expanding their connection to Mayan history. In addition to Spanish and English, they began studying a third language—Kaqchikel. Diversity within language is a strong part of Guatemala’s history. Even now, more than 20 Mayan dialects are spoken in addition to Spanish in Guatemala.
Kaqchikel is integrated into our homeschool curriculum as well.
Bringing History to Life
Although you may not be aware, our Missions Trip Leader Karen studied history in college. This year, she has stepped in to help teach part of our homeschool program. Her previous teaching experience and extensive studies make her the perfect person to help our children in these areas.
To complement what her 7th grade students are currently studying, Karen organized a visit to the National Museum of Archeology and Ethnology and the Kaminalijuyu archeological site. Our 6th graders came along on the field trip too.
Alejandra, Silvia, Merary, Monica, Ulices, and Lester were accompanied by Miss Heidy (one of our teachers), Karen, Oscar (our driver), and Rafael (a local tour guide).
Although our children have been to the museum previously, Rafael was able to connect the artifacts they saw with the ruins. During this trip, they saw the ruins for the first time and could get a better idea of what life was like for early Mayan cultures.
Before this visit, it was hard for our kids to understand how people moved from place to place and what their cities looked like. They also learned about traditional Mayan clothing, how jade was used for trading, and influential leaders like King Jasaw Chawn Kawil.
Mayan history came to life during the trip.
More Trips in the Future
Each year, our children choose an annual project. This year, Silvia and Alejandra have chosen to study the arts. In the next few months, they will enjoy a special visit to the Modern Art Museum with a local Art Professor.
Thanks to great teachers, our children are enjoying a balance of Guatemalan tradition and modern innovation in their homeschool program this year.