LEFT: Islam has become more popular in rural Mongolia as missionaries from Turkey and Saudi Arabia have been some of the biggest
supporters of building and education among the Kazakhs. RIGHT: The author occasionally rode on horseback in order to reach more
remote sites for interviews.
research to learn how others have understood the same cultural groups.
As homeschoolers, we have the freedom to do just that! At a local level, your
children could observe a church you
don’t normally attend or a new library,
sports center, or coffee shop. You could
cultivate friendships with a different
family or help out with a cross-cultural
for People Groups
• The Joshua Project by the U.S.
Center for World Mission (www
. joshuaproject.net). Provides statistics on people groups in a more
complex manner than simple
country=people, but see the CIA
world factbook or other sources
for more detailed information.
• eHRAF World Cultures by HRAF
.htm). Your local library may have
a subscription, or ask for other
• OCM Subjects by HRAF (www
ocmshort.htm). This is a detailed
checklist of cultural topics that
you could use for writing assignments both about your culture
and that of your people group.
ministry. If you plan to travel as a family or are living in a cross-cultural situation, this would be a great chance to
incorporate reading about and practicing anthropology in your homeschool
curriculum. You could always arrange
. . . I was part of an
studying the nomadic
Kazakh people of
through church networks or with friends
or relatives to spend time in such a cultural setting. Once in that place, anthropological handbooks can provide tips on
how to watch, ask questions, and take
notes about that culture.
It’s also important, of course, for your
budding students of culture to learn
about cross-cultural ethics. While ob-
servations in public places are usually
fine, it’s vitally important to make sure
that families or organization members
are comfortable with your project before
sending kids in with clipboards! A gen-
eral code of ethics involves asking for full
permission and letting others know how
you’ll use your notes before talking with,
observing, or taking pictures of people,
and refraining from anything that could
harm other people.
Picking a People Group
I also recommend picking a people to
study: Arabs in Dubai, Russians in New
York, Korean farmers, Indian entrepreneurs, or Uighur farmers in Xinjiang.
Spend your year of anthropology learning all you can about these and similar
people, even studying their language
or meeting pen pals online. The Joshua
Project or HRAF (Human Relations
Area Files, Inc.) online can give you statistics about the group, and children’s
novels, local news online, and cultural
studies can help you learn more. Using
the OCM (Outline of Cultural Materials)
subjects list, you can develop writing assignments that encourage your students
to explore all aspects of a people’s lifestyle
and compare this to studies that have
been written about American culture.
Your local reference librarian can suggest
more books or articles that concern this