This school year we are studying different countries around the world. We are using Around the World with Picture Books (Part 1 & Part 2) from Beautiful Feet Books as our main guide and trying to spend around 2 weeks learning as much as we can about each country. As we finish each country, I will be putting together a quick blog post of our favorite books, projects, and activities that we did in hopes to help you with any future studies for your homeschool.
Our first 6 weeks of school we are focusing on the continent of Asia. Our first stop was China! We the best time learning all we could about China the last 3 weeks.
For each country I am also choosing 2-3 topics that we will be focusing on. These main topics help me narrow down everything to easily find great books, crafts, and experiments we want to complete. For China, we focused on The Great Wall of China, Pandas, and Chinese New Year.
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INTRODUCING THE COUNTRY
To introduce the country, my kids first find it on our world map in our schoolroom. We have a simple airplane cutout (from Google images) that we stick on the current country we are studying. Next, they are painting the country and labeling its main features (rivers, mountains, etc.) as well as the capital or other major cities. We spend time looking in Maps by Aleksandra Mizielinska and DK Countries of the World. They are also writing down the current population, capital, and most popular language spoken. We then paint or color the country’s flag that we hang in our schoolroom. Traveling the World by the Waldock Way has been the best additional resource to add, providing great worksheets to fill out, flags to copy, animal profiles to study, and lots of games to play! As we start a new country, we also watch a few YouTube videos- great playlists provided in Traveling the World.
Of course we had to watch an episode of Wild Kratts too all about China! Wild Kratts A China Adventure
Each day we did a lesson or two from Around the World with Picture Books (many are very short and simple.) It guides you on what picture books to read, discussion questions, or activity ideas. My kids favorite books were The Story of Ping, Tikki Tikki Tembo, and The Seven Chinese Brothers. They did NOT like Anno’s China. It is a wordless picture book that has descriptions about each of the pages/scenes in the back of the book. They thought this book was very boring and glazed over every time I read the descriptions (which I too thought were a little dry and too much for them to grasp.) So, we stopped reading it, and that’s OK. If your children don’t like a particular book, skip it, even if the curriculum is telling you to read it. We added in so many other picture books they enjoyed instead, leaving out Anno’s China did not affect the lessons.
We love a good unit study, so we also included books based in China for personal reading and our family read aloud. My 3rd grader read and loved A Year of the Panda and Good Luck Ivy. We read A Perfect Time for Pandas as a family for our read aloud.
THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA
Our favorite books: The Great Wall Through Time is a fascinating book to see the history of the Great Wall and it is almost like an ‘I Spy’ type of book that my kids really enjoyed. You Wouldn’t Want to Work on the Great Wall of China was another great book that taught the history and reason for the Great Wall that is relatable to children and with funny graphics.
We had so much fun building this 3D puzzle of the Great Wall of China. It is an actual puzzle that links all together without having to be glued. It has thick pieces that are sturdy and was fairly easy to put together (everything was labeled with numbers that match together.) My kids created their own soldiers, fire, and horses out of modeling clay and played for hours.
We read lots of panda books, but my kids favorite is the Mr. Panda series. There are quite a few different ones and we checked them all out from the library to read multiple times. Dinner at the Panda Palace was a great counting book for my four year old and Panda Pants was a cute and funny story.
We did a drawing and copy work from this Draw Write Now book all about panda bears. We watched Born in China on Disney+ (highly recommend, we loved it!) and we made the cutest panda bears out of egg cartons! Instructions found HERE. It was actually very easy to make and my kids played with them all weekend.
Wild Kratts also have a great episode on Pandas: Wild Kratts Panda Power Up
HERE is another panda 3D art project that we did a few years ago.
CHINESE NEW YEAR
We love the book Children Just Like Me to read about children from other countries, but we also love Children Just Like Me Celebrations to read about all the different holidays other children celebrate around the world. In this book we read about Chinese New Year, watched the Peppa Pig Chinese New Year episode for fun, and made similar paper Chinese Dragons to THESE. We looked up the Chinese alphabet on Google and wrote their names, as well as did THIS art tutorial and found what the new year animal was for their birth year.
Another additional resource we are adding to each country is a handicraft project from Handicrafts of the World by Little World Wanderers. We learned about Chinese block printing and made our own versions. We also looked up some videos on how they make paper and printed on scrolls in Ancient China.
To end our studies of China, of course we had some Chinese food for dinner and watched Mulan for a family movie night .
For each continent we cover, we will also be studying different biomes for our science subject this school year. Our first biome for the entire continent of Asia we are working on is the Mountains (alpine biome), specifically the Himalayas and Mount Everest. We will continue to work on this as we study Japan and Thailand next too, so I will have a separate blog post later all about the fun books and experiments we plan to do.
We had so much fun learning about China and this week we are moving on to Japan! I will share all about the great things we learn when we are finished. Until then, continue to follow me on Instagram where I share our studies daily.
Have a great week!
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