Welcome to our post about our virtual visit to China in our homeschool! I’m a little embarrassed how far behind I have gotten in chronicling our learning about Children Around the World this year. After learning about Canada, our Winter Promise curriculum had us scheduled to study Mexico, South, and Central America next. When I began to plan for our Mexico study, I saw that the cultural gathering suggestion was to have a Cinco de Mayo celebration together.
I was already feeling a little frustrated because we were right in the middle of Chinese New Year celebrations here in Malaysia (so you can tell how behind I am!), and I had also just received some wonderful books about China for review from Tuttle Publishing that I wanted to share with them (and you!)
Looking ahead at the calendar, I realized that we were scheduled to study China right around the first week of May and that the cultural gathering for that week was a Chinese New Year celebration. Call me crazy, but it seemed a bit ridiculous to miss out on the all the Chinese New Year stuff that was happening all around us to celebrate a Cinco de Mayo celebration three months early only to stage our own Chinese New Year celebration later in May.
So I made an executive decision and re-routed our virtual itinerary to head to China and the rest of Asia first and then come back to Mexico in time for Cinco de Mayo.
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First, we had to get ready for our Chinese New Year celebration. When we went to the market for our regular veggie run, we were greeted by a troupe of dragon dancers! It happens every year, but it’s always a fun surprise anyway.
I was sent a review copy of a new Chinese New Year Math and Literacy Unit by Becky Morales of Kid World Citizen. It is an excellent resource, full of fabulous hands-on activities for learning about Chinese New Year. I particularly enjoyed the cross-curricular nature of the activities! Our favorite activities were making Chinese paper lanterns (pictured above) and learning about how Chinese people get ready for Chinese New Year. Becky includes a fun story with prop suggestions to learn all the things that must be prepared for the holiday. You can see the girls above with their props of cleaning supplies, angpao envelopes, new clothes and a few other things.
Once we had our decorations and cleaning done, it was time to prepare the meal. I modified the recipe included in our Winter Promise Children Around the World activity guide so that the girls could make a simple slow cooker meal for the family. They are already pros at making rice so they did that and then they threw the following ingredients in the slow cooker and set it on high for 4 hours.
- 1 pound (approx) of boneless bite-size chicken pieces, can be breast or thigh
- 1?4 cup soy sauce
- 1?4 cup water
- 1 Tablespoon honey
- 1 Tablespoon sesame oil
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
When we were ready to serve it, we sprinkled some sesame seeds on top. It was such a huge hit! Everybody loved it! We served it over rice with some steamed sugar snap peas. What a yummy meal! And the girls were so proud of themselves that they had done pretty much everything to prepare the meal.
I made a concerted effort this week to include more hands-on activities for everybody, but especially for the 3-year old and the kindergartner. This was a huge hit as the little guy was especially delighted to have “schoolwork” to do. He is pictured above scooping and measuring rice, which he did every single day for long periods of time! He and his big sister also made several models of the Great Wall of China, first with our Lego Quatro blocks and then with our homemade chocolate playdough.
We also practiced using chopsticks by having a relay race in which the kids had to carry marshmallows! It was challenging and so much fun! We celebrated our victories by roasting them on our gas stove and eating them for snack – not exactly Chinese, but yummy nonetheless!
A lovely Chinese calligraphy kit came along with Sonlight Core F, which Bignificent is doing this year in conjunction with the Winter Promise stuff that we are all doing together. We are very fortunate to have a daddy who, though not proficient at making Chinese letters, knows a whole lot more about it than I do! He demonstrated for the girls how to do some basic strokes, and they had a blast all week practicing what he had shown them. It is really challenging!
We read a lot of books together to learn more about China. It is such a fascinating country!
- What Was it Like, Mr. Emperor?: Life in China’s Forbidden City by Chiu Kwong-chiu (Author), Nancy S. Steinhardt (Editor), Ben Wang (Translator)
- Bowls of Happiness: Treasures from China and the Forbidden City by Brian Tse (Author), Nancy S. Steinhardt (Editor), Alice Mak (Illustrator), Ben Wang (Translator) – These first two books are the books I was sent for review from Tuttle Publishing. I’ll link to my review of them as soon as I get it up!
- Bold Believers in China, a free download from The Voice of the Martyrs Kids of Courage website – This has lots of stories as well as coloring sheets, crossworld puzzles, and other activity suggestions
- The Story about Ping by Marjorie Flack and Kurt Wiese – This was the little guy’s favorite; he wanted to read it multiple times every single day.
- Gladys Aylward: The Adventure of a Lifetime by Janet and Geoff Benge – While I enjoyed this book immensely, it was a bit much for the girls. You can see my review of it on Goodreads.
Bignificent can never get enough books so she read everything she could find about China while we were studying it. Here’s her list, many if not all from Sonlight Core F:
- Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin
- Homesick: My Own Story by Jean Fritz
- Mission to Cathay by Madeleine Polland
- God’s Adventurer: Hudson Taylor by Phyllis Thompson
- Li Lun, Lad of Courage by Carolyn Treffinger
- The House of Sixty Fathers by Meindert Dejong
- Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze by Elizabeth Foreman Lewis
We had a great time studying China and are looking forward to learning more about ancient China next year when we learn about ancient history. It was fun to focus on modern China this year with little hints of what we will be learning about next year. Thanks for joining us on our adventure around the world! To see our other posts, check out our Children Around the World landing page! Please consider sharing and pinning this post!
Coming up next: Iran and Iraq