This week, I’ve been teaching writing classes at a local art camp. The theme of the camp is “Art Around the World,” so in my lessons I’ve incorporated folktales from around the world. Throughout the week, the students will hear folktales from various countries, then they’ll work to write their own.
Although you can find folktales in print today, these stories were originally meant to be told orally, passed down from generation to generation. In a folktale, something magical usually happens, and often animals in the story act and behave like people. The stories will usually have a lesson or moral to them, or sometimes they try to explain how something came to be.
Folktales are easy to incorporate into your homeschool curriculum, especially if your family enjoys unit studies. As you study the culture of a particular country, you can find stories at your library from that country to read and discuss. Or, if your children are studying U.S. History, you could include Native American folk tales or folktales from the Appalachia region. You might also choose to use folktales as the basis or a writing lesson, like we’re doing at the camp.
If you’d like to make folktales a part of your school day, here are a few for you to consider:
- The Old Woman and Her Pig adapted by Eric Kimmel (British)
- Beautiful Blackbird by Ashley Bryan (African)
- Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears by Verda Aardema (African)
- The Boy Who Lived With the Bears retold by Joseph Bruchac (Native American – Iriquois)
- The First Strawberries retold by Joseph Bruchac (Native American – Cherokee)
- The Mud Pony retold by Caron Lee Cohen (Native American – Skidi Pawnee)
- The Boy Who Lived With Seals by Rafe Martin (Native American – Chinook)
- The King Who Tried to Fry an Egg on His Head by Mirra Ginsburg (Russian)
- Why Snails Have Shells retold by Carolyn Han (Chinese)
- Two of Everything by Lily Toy Hong (Chinese)
- Turtle Knows Your Name retold by Ashley Bryan (West Indies)
Homeschooling Reading Curriculum by SmartTutor.com
Guest Blogger: Samantha Bell
Picture By: Pratham Books