Asian Adventures

As part of this year's around-the-world home learning journey, we've spent the past four weeks "touring" China and Japan.

We had a nice segue into it when, as we were wrapping up our study of India, we hosted a friend, LM, for dinner. LM is on furlough from her job doing literacy work in Thailand so, since part of our learning for each continent involves memorizing the locations of many countries - including Thailand for Asia - this was great timing. She shared stories and pictures of her life there and even demonstrated what it's like to plant rice, pretending our living room rug was a paddy!

Then a few days later, we were off to China.

I continue to be amazed at the great resources - both fiction and non-fiction - we've found at our library relating to each country we've studied, and China was no exception. So, through the books and various activities, we learned much about the country, including information about:
  • Buddhism
  • tangrams
  • The Great Wall of China
  • Hudson Taylor's missionary work
  • Chinese New Year
  • silk
  • pandas
  • porcelain
  • Chinese calligraphy (i.e., Chinese letters/characters)
  • paper-making
  • Chinese food
  • the ocean habitat
  • the country's large population and one-child policy
  • the Hmong people (who originated in China and lived in Southeast Asia before immigrating as refugees to the West following the Vietnam War)
One especially delightful resource was a chapter book, Little Pear, we read at lunch each day. Through a fun, engaging storyline, it gave us a snapshot of life in pre-Communist China, and I highly recommend it.

The girls also enjoyed:
  • playing Chinese checkers
  • meeting Daddy for lunch at a Chinese restaurant
  • painting porcelain vases
  • making paper lanterns
  • creating their own sets of tangrams
  • eating a Chinese-style lunch at home
  • watching Mulan and Mulan II

Of course, we only spend two weeks in each country before moving on and so - all too soon - we were "sailing" across the East China Sea on our way to an overview of Japan. While there, we read and learned about:
  • Shintoism
  • Buddhism
  • Japanese food
  • the ocean habitat
  • the Japanese people's interests in and skill with technology
  • the rigorous school system
  • Japanese involvement in World War II
  • Sadako Sasaki, the girl whose post-war battle with leukemia has been told around the world
  • haiku poetry
  • samurai and ninja warriors
  • bullet trains
  • the country's crowded conditions
  • sumo wrestling
  • Mount Fuji
  • kimonos and obis
  • the interior design of typical Japanese homes (i.e., tatami mats, paper-covered sliding doors, nature-based design themes)
  • earthquakes and tsunamis (particularly relevant, as our "visit" occurred shortly after the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck the country in early March)

And the girls:
  • made origami crafts
  • enjoyed a "Japanese feast" (including rice balls, ramen noodles, and rice crackers) at home
  • learned to count to 10 in Japanese

We are off to Russia on Monday, followed by a week's "furlough" to celebrate Easter. Then we'll be off to Australia and Antarctica before "heading home" for the summer.

Photo Credit: momoyama (http://www.flickr.com/photos/michaelchandler/3099129497/)


RoryBore said...

Stopping by from the Blog Party...thanks for visiting my Blog Time out For Mom. I LOVE this idea of home journeys! I don't homeschool, but I still think this would be something really neat to do. Especially since my kids do hear about mission trips at church. Good also lead to some great "theme" dinners. Look forward to see how the rest our your journeys' go!

Carla Gade said...

Thanks for the visit at my blog for the Ultimate Blog Party! You have a beautiful family and its so nice getting to know you!



Hands to Work, Hearts to God said...

Oh you didn't visit the Philippines! Just kidding! What a great time your kids must be having! Do they have "passports"? I remember when my son was "touring" around the world, he would get his "passport" stamped, and the kids were just thrilled! Patsy from

A Homemaker's Heart said...

Thank you for sharing your year of ECC. I've enjoyed browsing and bookmarked your site. We are getting ready to start ECC and look forward to a wonderful year.

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