Before we begin school, I spend a considerable amount of time researching and putting together our curricula for the year. I teach one child who is starting 3rd grade and another entering 5th. Their math and reading lessons are taught separately, but I teach all of their other subjects together.
One of the best parts of homeschooling is that we can branch out beyond the traditional subjects taught in a traditional school and learn about topics that intrigue my children, or that I want them to understand. So as a result, one of our favorite subjects is World Cultures. We enjoy exploring the communities and traditions of countries around the world. I choose to teach it because it helps my children to develop a sense of global citizenship and it breaks down ignorance and (hopefully) stereotypes.
So I wanted to share with you five of my favorite tools for teaching world culture to my children. Which ones would you add?
1. National Geographic Kids
This website is a treasure trove for young explorers. You can travel the earth in 30 minutes a day/week depending on how much time you want to allot this subject. The site is vibrant and colorful, engaging for children. My favorite part is the different opportunities for kids. They can participate in the International Photography Contest for Kids, join the Ice Cream Expedition, and watch a video on oceanographer Sylvia Earle. They can explore the ocean depths during Shark Week or scale Mexico’s Sierra Madre mountains.
2. The Great Global Puzzle Challenge with Google Earth
An amazing travel adventure, this book was created to explore places across the globe using Google Earth. From New York to Tokyo to the Himalayas, you can zoom in and discover famous landmarks. You can even travel back in time! Along the way, you’ll search for flags and collect souvenirs. Google Earth takes the experience to the next level.
3. Kids Discover
I love this fantastic magazine that explores so many different topics in depth. They even have special issues devoted to culture. They are filled with beautiful photographs and engaging text on places like the Caribbean, the Amazon, and ancient kingdoms of Africa, Greece, Rome, and many others. You can download educational printables directly from the website and the digital magazines can be purchased for your tablet.
4. The Usborne Book of Peoples of the World: Internet Linked by Gillian Doherty
This fabulous little book introduces children to groups of people all over the world. Organized on a continent-by-continent basis, it describes the different ways of life, cultures, cuisines and faiths of the six billion people who inhabit our planet. The amazing photographs complement the informative text, fostering in children a greater understanding of the people who live in the world around them. This book comes with fully-updated internet links to extend the learning possibilities.
5. Passport to Culture® Game
I love this game that circles the globe testing (and teaching!) your knowledge of cultures. You’ll learn about people, places, food and drink, gestures, customs and traditions. It comes with 740 questions covering 60 cultural scenarios. Best suited for children 10 and older.
About the Author:
Monica Olivera is a homeschooling mom and freelance education writer. Her website MommyMaestra.com, is for Latino homeschoolers and parents who want to get more involved in their children’s education. She is also the co-founder of Latinas for Latino Lit and one of the creators of the Latino Children’s Summer Reading Program. You can find Monica on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.