We are taking a trip around the world and our first stop is in the Arctic. I’m using four different books as our spines in our journey.
The Great Commission is important to our family so I wanted to approach the study of the world and cultures through a missions perspective. I searched around and found a great book called Window on the World. It covers people groups around the world, provides information about their culture, and shares a story about how God is working in their lives. It is full of colorful photos to keep my son’s attention too. Since we are traveling through the world slowly it will probably be 4-5 years before we complete the book.
Also as a basic text I am using People Around the World. It is full of informative text from every continent. It doesn’t necessarily cover every country, but it focuses more on covering areas of a continent like North Africa or the British Isles. It has colorful pictures, but I use it more as an informative text. It gives general information as well as maps and sections where it lists the countries in the continent with information like capital, population, life expectancy, religion, language, and currency. We have used it for studying the Arctic so far. The book is 255 pages, but the Arctic was only a couple pages. I guess that is reflective of the number of people who live there. Still we learned about Inuit life and saw colorful pictures of life in the Arctic.
I didn’t have to purchase Children Just Like Me to get started this school year. I purchased the book over 10 years ago and have read it to my kids several times already. It shows what life is like for other kids around the world. They don’t feature every country, but they have a nice selection of kids from around the world. When studying the Arctic we read about 2 boys – one who lived in Alaska and one who lived in northern Canada. DK books are a favorite in our house!
We also use a book called Material World. I had my eye on this book for awhile before I decided to purchase it. It is full of pictures and is an interesting read. It takes households in various parts of the world and removes all of their possessions from their house and the family is photographed with all their possessions in their front yard. It gives a stark contrast to the wealth of North American and the simplicity found in developing countries. Now, I haven’t used this book in our trip around the world yet, but I plan to. It doesn’t cover every country or area, but it hits many that we will be covering this school year. I do wish it came in hardback though because I would love to be able to lay the book open without it closing on me!
So how do we use these books? I chose a couple countries from every continent around the world and I looked in each book for information about the country or area we are learning about. After figuring out which of these “text books” had information about the area we were studying I put them on my master list for each country. Once we started studying a country or area I would read from the text books interspersed with hands-on activities, online games and activities, and stories from that culture.
I am pleased with our “text books” in our study of the world. Even if we weren’t studying the world, these are books that would make a great addition to our library. We will likely use these books for many years to come.