Monday, February 27, 2012

Back At It; Asia, part 1

So we are back to our MFW Exploring Countries and Cultures curriculum. Well, back at is as best as we can be. Or schedule has had to be very fluid and flexible. I have to give it to Olivia. She has handled it well. We do school whenever we can fit it in. A little here and a little there. She was excited to get back to it. 

Our first stop in Asia was to Saudi Arabia. Then we "traveled" on to India. For both of these countries and peoples, we used lots of library books. Olivia could read and discover many things on her own. She would come narrate to me some of the books and sometimes she would act them out with her paper doll figures for the countries. A really cool resource that I found this time was called, Kids of Courage by Voice of the Martyrs. We read some true stories of people in Saudi Arabia, learned about their culture and religion and spent time praying for them. She was amazed at how girls and women spent their time and the things they couldn't take part in. As part of each country we visit, Olivia learns about their flag. The Saudi Arabian flag proclaims their belief in Allah and Muhammad. We have been learning the Sh'ma (Deuteronomy 6:4) which is the basis and declaration of our belief in One True God and then declaring that Yeshua (Jesus) is his Son! Olivia enjoyed trying to write some of the Arabic and Hindi alphabets. The pictures in our Material World and Hungry Planet books prompted lots of discussion. We talked a lot about clothing and lifestyle. We tasted some spicy Indian "curry". Our read aloud for this time was the story of Amy Carmichael. What an amazing story of faith, courage and endurance. It did a wonderful job of helping Olivia understand the culture and need of the people of India. And, once again, God used the story to speak into my own life. I highly recommend it.

A box to celebrate the coming signs of spring and new growth. This art activity was based on the Iranian new year celebration of No-Ruz. We also talked about Tu B'Shevat, the Jewish New Year of the Trees, which happen to fall right at the time we did this project. We are trying to sprout some millet seed to go with this project. We are thankful for the "produce" of our land and desire to give thanks back to our creator. We also talked about how we compare to trees. That our roots need to be planted well in the soil--a good foundation of in the truth of our God--so that we can grow and produce good fruit.

One of Olivia's big "take aways" was how this sari would mean that she is in a very high caste and that it would strictly dictate what she could and couldn't do (as in work), eat and how she couldn't and couldn't behave. She says she also should be wearing lots of jewelry to be apart of this caste.

This is face painting based on Indian Kathakali performances which mix drama and dance. They wore everyday clothing and not elaborate costumes like the sari O has on but we decided to combine these as she acted out and shared with daddy the things she had learned about India.

I admit to skipping some of the science reading and suggestions for the first two of these four weeks. The focus was on man's impact on the environment. While I believe these are important topics and things for our family, I just chose not to use the books and activities suggested. We did review some of our information about deserts and we also learned more about camels. While in India, the focus was on mountains with the various ecosystems that exist on a mountain. And we discussed the various animals that live on mountains. We built a model and then blew it up as a volcano, which of course was lots of fun. We also went for a hike in the mountains not too far from our house.  

The ecosystems we identified (from bottom to top) were grasslands, forests (deciduous and then coniferous), alpine meadows, and then the snowy peaks. We talked about treeline and snowline. We also talked about how not all mountains have each ecosystem as it depended on how high the elevation of the mountain, at its base and at its top.

She is continuing to read through Matthew. Sometimes she reads to herself and then talks with me about what she read and sometimes I have her read it aloud to the family. She enjoys this. We are also reading some of the psalms because she wants to read more than what is assigned in the curriculum. She has done some picture narrations from her various reading assignments. I continue to have her write letters to a family member of her choice each week and it is interesting to see what she remembers most and wants to share with them.


This activity was based on the seal of ancient kings and officials when they would send important correspondence.

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