Japan Unit Study

Before we started Story of the World: Volume One, Jenna and I were learning about different countries every week. We’d get books from the library, watch YouTube videos, and (attempt to?) cook some ethnic foods from that country. At the end of the wee, we’d do a lapbook or she’d write an essay. I tried to keep things interesting for her, but after a while, she was pretty tired of it. Which is why I found it so funny that she decided she wanted to pick back up with a new country, when we finished SOTW last week.

This time, we’d be including Simon in our studies. They agreed on studying Japan first. Below are some of the resources we used, some of our projects, and a lapbook, some parts of which were gleaned from a favorite website, HomeschoolShare.com.

Books We Used
Exploring Countries: Japan, by Colleen Sexton
Social Studies Explorer: Japan, by Barbara Somervill
Japan Country File, by Michael March
Discover Japan, by Susan Crean
Country Topics: Japan, by Richard and Sheila Tames

Videos We Watched
Geography Kids – Japan
Mouk Discovers Japan


I found this technique to be really, really cool, and it held my kids’ attention. Their pictures are easily discernible from mine, as they were more creative and used more colors. You’ll need cardboard (for the fan template), a pencil, some good paper, crayons, watercolors, water, and brushes. You can read more about this awesome technique here.

I chose for them to do mini lapbooks this time, because full lapbooks can  take FOREVER unless you’re steadily working on them all week long, and we tend to save them for Fridays.


I don’t know how to rotate pictures in WordPress. Is it even possible?


Nice socks. 😉



Story of the World

Back in February, during one of our many trips to our local library, I stopped by at the shelves they keep books for sale. Hardcover books and books on CD are $1, and softcover/paperback books are 50 cents. We are trying to significantly pare down our book collection (as we are admitted book hoarders — we have literally thousands, mostly of children’s books), so I don’t often get anything unless it’s *really* good, and this time it happened to be REALLY, REALLY good.

Any homeschooler worth their salt knows about the Story of the World collection from Peace Hill Press. They are great for many age groups, and have accompanying activities and pictures and maps with each chapter. I wound up with the readers (pictured above right, all 4 volumes), the first volume on CD (also in the above right picture), and the student book and activity pages  (in binders — makes it SO handy to make multiple copies for my kids), for a whopping SEVEN DOLLARS. These were in amazing condition, too, so I know anywhere else they’d be selling for at least a hundred bucks, altogether.

I felt a tad guilty (in spite of the librarian assuring me that it was fine, they really were that price, and that she was glad I got such a great deal – they know us well, there), so I gave them an even $10, and they put the extra $3 down as a donation to their children’s department. We just finished Volume One this week. Each day I would make copies of a coloring page from the chapter we were doing, and while I read the chapter, all 3 of my kids (even the little one, I’m sure, got something out of it, if only just by feeling included) would color their pictures (which went right into their portfolios). After I finished reading aloud from each section within the chapter, I’d ask them questions found in the accompanying books. I was always surprised by how much they remembered!