Aria has been dying to study Japan for a while, as I have family who lives there, so Asia week was the perfect excuse to focus on a country she has wanted to learn about for a while. This year I wanted to study each of the continents and my goal is that Aria knows location, shape, some of the animals, and several of the countries found in each continent by the end of the year. When it comes to finding free learning materials for Asia, there aren’t many out there, but I did my best to find as much free stuff as possible. It helped that I chose to focus on three specific countries (China, India, and Japan), as Asia as a whole was much harder to find free materials for.
When it came to Asia week, I chose a different subject for each day so that we could really focus the curriculum. We studied Asia as a continent and the animals of Asia on Monday, China on Tuesday, India on Wednesday for our co-op day with friends, and Thursday/Friday were both focused on Japan. My suggestion for formatting your week if you were to do this unit is to focus two days on the country you have the most materials for in order to make the lesson planning easier!
Our Japan days were really fun, as we made our own felt sushi, tried our hand at making homemade paper, played with building a temple out of blocks, and even made origami. We also learned all about a Japanese artist and mimicking his style to paint Mount Fuji. Watercolor fans were easy to make and were also a big favorite of Aria’s.
However, I found our India day to be the most fun. We did boatloads of fun Mandala and Rangoli activities, made our own homemade scented playdough, and listened to music from Bollywood (India’s version of Hollywood). One of my co-op friends brought icing that she dyed different colors and small sprinkles so that the girls could paint designs on cookies. They also used the icing to make “henna” tattoos on their hands, which was of course a huge hit not only to do but to lick off later!
China day was fun as we made our own “Great Wall” out of chairs and blankets. Both girls also loved making dragon masks and running around scaring each other like dragons. And homemade wontons and dumplings for lunch was a great activity for us to do together!
The best part of our week, however, was the field trips we did for our unit. On Tuesday, we went to the local library for a building class. The girls used marshmallows, toothpicks, and play dough to make STEM versions of the Great Wall (they could build anything, but thats what I told Aria to focus on). Later in the week, we visited both an Indian grocery store to make an Indian dinner on Wednesday night and an oriental grocery store to load up on dumplings to have a dim sum movie night on Sunday! On Saturday, we went to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens where they have a beautiful Japanese zen garden we were able to see in person. The Botanical Gardens are amazing, by the way, and I highly recommend getting a membership if you live in the area!
Though this ended up being a very difficult week to lesson plan and prepare for, it truly was wonderful and I learned a lot along with Aria. We are so lucky that where we live has so many things that helped us when it came to more hands-on learning having to do with Asian culture and that we have family that can get us a lot of the materials we used. This week taught me that one of the best things I can do over the course of this year is to collect materials as we go so that lesson planning will go much more quickly next year and I have more hands-on items for the girls to interact with! But I think that the week was successful in terms of teaching Aria the names of 3 Asian countries and helping her locate the continent and countries on a map! Hope this week is just as successful for you!
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Jessica and Ana
Our Homeschooling Mission Statement: We will strive to be patient, godly examples to our children, integrating biblical principles and morality into every subject. Learning should be fun. We will foster an attitude of lifelong curiosity and play while providing the best possible education we can through books, art, technology, food, tactile activities, and cultural experiences. Learning will not be dictated by hours on a clock but will be a way of life for our families.