Are you studying Asia?? Then this is a great place to be for a heart warming Asian Cultural Study with great ideas to help you in your homeschooling journey. If you are following the Libraries of Hope rotation with the Well Educated Heart (WEH), this would fall under month 1. There are many areas you can go while studying Asia.
Last year, my daughter met a friend whose mom is from Japan. As Marlene (the founder of WEH) so beautifully teaches us in the WEH philosophy, children connect to the familiar. When it was time to study an Asian country, my daughter instantly wanted to learn more about her friend’s native country.
Asian Cultural Study Idea #1
We started off by reading two stories that are beautiful picture books and have wonderful acts of kindness that stick with your child’s heart. The first book we read was Crow Boy, written by Taro Yashima.
Crow Boy talked about a little boy who was often mocked at school, yet he chose to be kind and ignore cruel words and actions. A teacher took notice of him and built more confidence in him. When it came time for a talent show, he was encouraged to shared a talent in the school talent show. He shared his ability of mimicking the sounds of a crow. The children were surprised, instantly grew to love his talent, and forever called him “Crow Boy.”
My children loved this story and could connect to the pictures and message of it. It was fun to look up the sounds of a crow on the internet to make more of a connection to the story.
Asian Cultural Study Idea #2
The next story we read was The Tale of the Mandarin Ducks by Katherine Paterson.
In this story, it talks about a beautiful duck that gets separated from his mate and taken to the Lord’s dwelling. The drake seemed sad and incomplete without his mate and did not bring pleasure to the Lord. The Lord cast him away to a far corner in his dwelling.
A female maid felt sorry for the duck and released him. As a result, the Lord was angry and wanted to imprison whoever dared to overstep his authority. Shozo, the chief steward to the king, took the blame for the maid who released the duck. Shozo was punished and became a low servant. The tale continues to unfold as a beautiful story.
I talked with my kids about courage, standing up for what is right even when it is hard, and taking care of the beautiful creations around us. This story was longer than the Crow Boy, so it may be too long for your very young children. It is an easy story to summarize. It has beautiful pictures that bring Japan to life.
Asian Cultural Study Idea #3
We learned the meaning behind the Cherry Blossom Tree in Japan. It stands for “beauty, purity, and the fleeting nature of earthly existence.” People in Japan love to gather under these beautiful trees for picnics and parties. We found this description of Cherry Blossoms in a book called Japan in Pictures from the Visual Geography Series.
Then we painted our own cherry blossoms to remember these trees.
We used washable paint and experimented mixing the colors we had to make the colors we desired. We didn’t have the pink we wanted for the blossoms, so we mixed red and white together.
Here is the finished Cherry Blossoms on the tall branches that my daughter and I worked on together. We kept it simple for the early elementary leveled aged children in our home. It can be done at a more advanced level if you have more advanced artists in your home.
Asian Culture Idea #4
Samurai warriors were chosen to protect their land from any outside invaders during the feudal Japan dynasties. Of course, my son was captivated by stories of the Samurai warriors! We watched this video and then created our own Samurai swords.
Although the video says “English Heritage”, I liked this simple and short instructional video to quickly help me through the steps of constructed a sword. I find that as a mom who isn’t your typical “Pinterest or crafty mama”, it’s nice to have something short and sweet to follow.
He’s ready to become a Samurai warrior himself!!
We hope these ideas spark some more ideas and creativity for you as you begin your rotation schedule in the Well Educated Heart! -XoXo