Welcome to our summary of all we learned about the Middle East as part of our year of learning about Children Around the World with Winter Promise (and Sonlight) curriculum. If this is your first stop on our journey, you might want to check out our Children Around the World landing page so that you can see all the other places we’ve learned about so far this year and where we’re headed next!
I realized this week as I looked back at my previous posts about our virtual travels that I’ve been mentioning our Winter Promise curriculum but not really telling you all the great things it involves. My other posts are pretty much just the extras that we did, assuming that you already knew all the great “spine work” we were doing and reading, but I realized that unless you have seen the curriculum, you wouldn’t know about all that! I’m so sorry for this oversight!
What’s Included in Winter Promise Children Around the World?
So I’ll start this week’s summary by showing you a few snapshots of the spine book for the curriculum Children of Many Lands, which is written and published by the Winter Promise folks. This is one shot from the chapter about Saudi Arabia and one from the chapter about Iraq. When we finished reading the chapter about Iraq, I felt like I understood the series of wars that has happened there throughout my lifetime better than I ever have before!
I’ve also included a shot of my favorite part of the curriculum, which is the World Travels Diary! This is a massive collection of notebooking pages that the girls add to each week. All three of the girls’ notebooks are pictured above; they are in grades K, 3, and 6, and I absolutely love that they are each able to work at their level using the same basic resource! We opted to bind ours from the get-go because we don’t do well with loose papers, but many people wait until the end to put theirs together so that they can pick and choose pages and add projects and pictures as they go. Some people even do small notebooks for each place they study.
I was very excited that our study of The Middle East happened to fall on Noruz, Iranian New Year! We enjoyed celebrating it with a few of the ideas included in Winter Promise’s activity guide, Fun and Traditions of Many Lands, which is also included with our curriculum.
Our Favorite Activity for Learning about the Middle East
Everyone’s hands-down favorite part of our studies though was designing and making their own mini Persian rugs, just the right size to use as coasters!
We learned that every Persian rug design must be symmetrical, include an emblem in the middle, and have a border all around with fringe on two sides. Some friends who recently visited Turkey had brought us back souvenirs that were Turkish rug coasters so we used those for some inspiration. (The little guy is holding one of those in the top picture, but he did end up making one with lots of help from Grandma!) I gave each of the girls a piece of graph paper and the dimensions of our pieces of plastic for embroidery, and they had a ball counting and making their design, picking their colors and then sewing. This was such a fun learning activity, and we will treasure our creations for years to come, I’m sure!
At the end of the week, we used a recipe from Fun and Traditions to make Lebanese pancakes which were absolutely delicious. The kids were so excited to have their drinks on their coasters for the meal! (I know I’m no photographer, but I am pretty proud of that top picture and how I caught the little guy’s reflection in his plate!) 🙂
Books and Resources for Learning about the Middle East
I’m sure it will come as no surprise to you that we read a whole lot of books to augment our learning! Bignificent especially has been reading like the wind lately! Here’s the list of books we enjoyed! Many of these are Amazon affiliate links for your convenience.
- Shadow Spinner by Susan Fletcher
- Ali and the Golden Eagle by Wayne Grover
- King of the Wind by Marguerite Henry
- Star of Light by Patricia St. John
- Habibi by Naomi Shihab Nye
- Seven Daughters and Seven Sons by Barbara Cohen and Bahija Lovejoy
- The Arabs in the Golden Age by Mokhtar Moktefi and Veronique Ageorges
- Bold Believers in Iraq, available as a free download from Voice of the Martyrs Kids of Courage
- Bold Believers in Saudi Arabia, available as a free download from Voice of the Martyrs Kids of Courage
Just recently, I was introduced online by a fellow blogger to author Carole P. Roman, who is currently writing an incredible series of children’s picture books, If You Were Me and Lived in ___________: A Child’s Introduction to Culture Around the World. These books are absolutely fabulous! All of my children enjoyed and learned from the one Carole sent us about Egypt, and now we are hunting them down on Kindle to enjoy the other countries she has completed. I am so impressed with how Ms. Roman has managed to write in such a way that all of my children, ages 3-11, find engaging. I admit that I even did some flipping through it myself when they weren’t looking! It is just packed with information in a way that my children just loved! I highly recommend this series if you want to teach your kids about other cultures!
Well, I think that wraps it up for this week! Thanks for joining us for our adventure in the Middle East! Our next stop is India! See you next week!