Around the World Books

As you know, we’ve been traveling Around the World with our unit studies this year.  I have so enjoyed this, as it’s allowed me to learn much I did not know about the world outside our country’s borders.
For many of our units, we’ve referred to the same basic books or series, so I thought I’d share them here in one post for reference.  You can click on any book to go to a page about it specifically.
Most of our information has been gathered from books by Bobbie Kalman.  Our two favorite series are The Lands, Peoples and Cultures Series and Spotlight on My Country, with the latter having the perfect amount of text for Jacob’s level.  After we read the book, I’ll make Jacob a list of questions or activities to complete, giving page number hints if needed, and he’s learning how to research a little bit.
The “Look What Came From” series has a been an enjoyable one as well.  It offers facts Jacob can relate to about the origins of many of our favorite things.
This is one of my favorite resources for a general overview.  I usually forget I have it and end up getting a book from the library, but I’m always happy when I pull it out!
This is a great book that gives snippets of what a child’s life is like in their country.
In addition to non-fiction books, we’ve read a lot of picture books that illustrate the culture in them as well.  These give us some snuggle on the couch time.  They also give me a way to connect Mattie to 
This book in general is a bit over Jacob’s head for sure, but it does have some useful information to show him.  It’s a great coffee table book that provides a quick reality check about how good we have it here in our wealthy country.  Once I sit down to look at it, my nose is  buried in it for an hour.  There is another book authored by the same people called What the World Eats.
This one we used only during our study of the Middle East and Holy Lands (is that redundant?), but it proved to be invaluable.  I have looked for it several times since then during my own personal Bible study! Honestly, I understand the nightly news a whole lot better after using this book as a resource!  Rose Publishing has a lot of great resources.  (I think I’m about to buy this timeline, because I’m doing such a poor job of keeping mine up.)
And last but certainly not least, this is a book we just added recently, and I’m sad I didn’t order it in the beginning.  It has a one page spread on many countries or people groups which shares cultural information about them.  The neatest part is that it includes religious information from a Christian world view, most importantly, how we can pray for them.  If you chose only one book to order, this is the one you want.  One of the main focuses of mine in doing this Around the World study was to help Jacob see how big the world there really is around us.  It’s really hard to imagine for me even, so I know it’s hard for him too.  But this book has helped us pray and focus on the most important needs of the people God created that seem so far away because they live in different lands.
If you decide to do an Around the World journey via books, these books should certainly get you started!  If you know of any others I’d enjoy, let me know!  We still have 3 more continents before we land!

Bringing WWII to Life

In our Around the World Travels we’ve landed in Japan for a few weeks.  And one of the things I’ve introduced is World War II.  Jacob has really enjoyed it!  I supposed there’s not much to not enjoy for a boy… airplanes, weaponry, battles, etc.  It’s been fun to see him jump in with both feet!
My grandpa on my mom’s side fought in WWII, but we weren’t ever allowed to talk about it with or around him, so I honestly have no idea what part he played. (He also died when I was 18.)  I do remember hearing that he had to pretend to be dead as the opposing soldiers came around shooting anyone still breathing among the carnage on a battlefield.
But Candace’s grandpa also fought and is alive and well, so we went for a field trip to hear all about it (on a 7 year old’s level).

Some photos of the young soldier and his squadron.

 Mr. Rosser looked in his old records and told us what his mission was on November 6, 1944!

 He flew all of these planes.  Mr. Rosser told Jacob when he asked what his favorite plane was to fly, “If you want to show off a little, fly this one. [bottom, middle]  But if you want to come home at night, fly this one [bottom right].”

These were the names of the 4 men (out of 20 in their initial group) who survived.  One of them bought a piece of wood cut from the same log for all of them to have to remember.

 Here they are at a reunion some years ago.

 Mr. Rosser’s pilot’s license.


 His flight log book… this was fun to read! He wrote how he felt after flying certain aircraft for the first time, flying his first independent mission, practicing landings, etc.

This photograph of his beautiful bride traveled with him on 68 missions.

This flag was attached to the back of a pilot’s flight suit.  Each grouping is the same paragraph translated into many languages.

Here is the text in English.  A bit sobering, I thought.

Mr. R did a great job and we really appreciate him sharing with us!  Jacob said he’d like to talk to him some more.  I’d love to hear more too, I enjoyed it.

And what grandpa doesn’t like finishing up with a few magic tricks for the kids??

Christmas Gifts that Help Others

As I make my Christmas list this year I’m asking the Lord to help me be a good steward in my plans, be reasonable about what I write on the list for my kids, and seriously rethink the way I’m going to do things.
This is a really important post.  There are two ideas I wanted to share with you all as we all plan our lists of things to buy:

They have books for all ages, calendars, note cards with Joni’s artwork, music, and a lot more.  All of the local Joni and Friends offices are self supported, meaning they have to raise their own support.  One way I can help them do that is to purchase some of their catalog items directly from a local office and they get a portion of the cost directly in their pocket.  (They are a dollar or two more than CBD, but it’s worth it to me.)  I’m trying to make my list based on what they have to offer so I can support them this way.  I have my eye on several of the children’s products!
IMPORTANT NOTE:  When you look online, please don’t order directly from that link!  No harm in doing that, but if you did it that way, the California office will get that profit, and the Knoxville office could really use your help!  If you make a list of the items you’d like to order, call the Knoxville Office to place your order and you will be helping my local office and the missionary my Sunday School class has adopted!  (The number is at the bottom of the screen.  Tell them I told you about them!) 

Gospel for Asia is a ministry that trains and sends native missionaries to share the good news of Christ with those who have never heard.  Many of their gifts are funded by way of their Christmas Gift Catalog.  But it’s a very different kind of catalog!  Instead of ordering an inanimate object that will arrive in your mailbox in a few days, you can order a goat or a pig for a needy family or missionary in Asia!  (The true meaning of a gift that keeps on giving!)
You could purchase a rickshaw for a man so he can support his family.
For five dollars you could buy a blanket for a child who has none.
For forty dollars you could purchase a winter clothing packet for a missionary who has a need.
For three dollars you can purchase a Bible.
For eleven dollars you can purchase a chicken.
The list goes on and on.
I must warn you, if you’re like me, by the end of the catalog you’ll be utterly finished with Christmas as we know it here in America.  So don’t be offended if I send you a card that says I bought a goat in your name for a family who has a much greater need than anything we will ever know here in America.  And I sure won’t be offended if that’s what you do for me.  PLEASE go look at what you can do for a very small amount of money.  There is a short video there to watch or show your kids too.
If you choose to purchase a gift in another’s honor, Gospel For Asia will even send a Christmas card explaining your gift directly to them or to you so you can personally send it!  As we’re focusing our studies on chidlren’s around the world and praying for all to know Jesus, this has been a neat way to give Jacob an opportunity to make a difference too.
Please join me in helping others this way this year!

Third Grade!

It is really hard to believe that Jacob and I are starting our fourth year of homeschooling together! Well, we started our year in early August, but you all know I’m a bit behind on blogging! I have a lot of fun things I was going to put up, but felt like our school year needed its own introduction so I’ve waited. Just a little OCD coming out, I suppose. We started heading in a different direction this year, as I felt like we needed to spend some time learning about the world beyond the United States. We have done some of this already, but just small snippets, and I really wanted to do some more in depth study of each continent. Not just the land of each continent, but learning with a goal of understanding how much we really have here in America and how much people really don’t have in other areas of the world, including Jesus. It just so happened as I was going down all sorts of planning rabbit trails (trying to figure out what to do) that Candace wanted to do some around the world stuff too, and she told me about Serendipity. It’s a blog that has some book lists/plans to get me started. So it has enabled us to do some literature based travels around the world without starting totally from scratch! Here’s what we’re doing for this year…

Geography and Culture Studies: A Child’s Geography is our spine book for the geography and culture studies. It’s a good book, but a little bit too wordy for Jacob’s attention span. Even so, we’ve enjoyed learning a LOT of new information together! It’s written in the style of Hillyer’s A Child’s History of the World, so I hear. While it is creatively written, it is still a textbook, and that really isn’t the way Jacob learns best. So I use it as our spine and add in library books with more pictures on his level to explain and bring to life the concept we’re learning. Some books we use for reference for each continent: ~Material World ~Children Just Like Me ~Kingfisher My First Picture Atlas (I got this at TJMaxx and LOVE it!) ~Dover Traditional Houses Around the World coloring book (Jacob really enjoys coloring these Dover books.) ~Passport and flag stickers (We add the flag sticker for each country we encounter in our reading just for fun! Each of the kids has their own.) Missionary study: We’re learning about a missionary or two for each continent. My goal is to find a chapter book for each missionary as it gives us good things to read together. Plus, I enjoy learning these things too! Notebooking: We’re doing our own form of notebooking, I guess, as well. As a review at the end of an area, I write up some questions asking about the details I most want Jacob to remember. If it’s an answer he’ll have to look for, I provide the page number of the Geography book where he’ll find the answer. Then he completes it and reviews what we learned. This has been his first experience with this kind of learning and he’s doing a really great job! We’re dividing our notebook into continents and put all of the questions, animals, maps and other things in that one section.

Animal Study: I’ve learned that school is just boring without some form of animal study! Sometimes we’re learning which animals live on the continent, and sometimes we’re learning more in depth about some specific animals. We’re using ZooBooks as much as we can for this. (Thanks, Mom!)

Math: Jacob started Teaching Textbooks 4 in July, and it has been a very welcome addition to our homeschooling routine! He is generally quite happy about doing his Math lesson and learning quite well with the program. It does a better job of teaching new concepts than I was doing. It also provides the perfect amount of review for Jacob. (In our old program, I was crossing out half the assignment because it was way too much busywork for him.) It actually seems a bit easy for what would be considered a 4th grade curriculum, but I guess it doesn’t matter what it’s called as long as he learns what he needs to before he graduates. And maybe I just thought it should have been harder.

Language Arts: We’re still very slowly working through Queen’s Language Lessons for the Very Young for a general introduction to grammar. It’s not slow because it’s hard. It’s slow because I often forget about it! At this point, it’s way too easy for him! I’ve kind of taken the better late than early road with grammar/language arts and it’s worked just fine for us. Jacob will not ever need a spelling program (thankfully!) and has quite a varied vocabulary without any curriculum thus far. And I’m not very excited about a boring grammar book as I see him developing writing skills just fine on his own. I’ll add something eventually, but we’re doing okay for now. I did finally get a handwriting book for him, just because I thought if he wants to learn cursive soon, he probably needs to be making his letters in the right direction before we move on. We’re doing Handwriting Without Tears. Co-op: There were 3 other things I wanted to do with Jacob, but I was afraid I wouldn’t stick with them if I did them on my own. And Candace had the same struggle so we started our own little coop – the perfect answer for my fear-of-coop-commitment self! We’re getting together once a week to do three things: Latin, Science and Music/Piano.

Latin: I’ve known for awhile I wanted to do Latin with Jacob as he and I both enjoy knowing the why behind something. But I knew I probably wouldn’t stick with it on my own. We’re into week 9 of Prima Latina and doing great! We (yes, we) have learned about 50 words/phrases and almost 2 prayers. He is really enjoying this and applies it to words and conversations every day! It’s also giving us a great introduction to grammar that’s complimenting our other language arts stuff. Mattie is enjoying learning some too! 🙂 Science Experiments: I do the science portion of our coop. We’re doing experiments and learning general science concepts. The kids seem to really enjoy this, and we’ve done some cool experiments so far! Because this is an area that requires more planning from me, it’s really good that I have the accountability to get it done. It would be very easy to push it off “just one more day” it if it was just Jacob.

Music: This is Candace’s portion. She does some piano and composer study with the older three kids and some fun stuff with all of them together. Jacob seems to be enjoying learning to play the piano, and it gives me the accountability to stick with it. So that’s pretty much what we’re doing for now!! It seemed to me like we needed to step it up a bit for third grade, and we’ve done just that. Jacob was a little shell-shocked at first, but he’s adjusted well. He seems to be more challenged than he’s been in the past, and while he doesn’t always love that, it’s good for him. So now I can write some posts that show some of our fun school things individually. Being anal really screws things up some times!