March 9, 2006

Country Study: Mozambique

Yesterday we started a unit study with two other homeschool families. Just a short 4 session unit study on the country of Mozambique. We have friends who are currently missionaries in the country with children near our kids ages. Having done country studies before we thought it would be fun to do one on the country they are in and with friends.

The first day of the studied opened at a friends house. We had 8 children there with two primary ages groups of PK/K and 1/2nd grade which we taught together. Sirah also wanted to do everything the older kids were doing and she participated more than I expected. The baby in the group, a one year old blessed us with a nap almost the entire time!

The Mozambique lesson began with the kids assembling at the kitchen table and listening to a children's song about Mozambique. Then we talked about passports and they got country flag stickers to serve as their passport stamps. Then they located Africa on the globe. Then they were handed out an outline map of Africa and located the main oceans and wrote them as well as locating and coloring in Mozambique. Brief discussion about Africa and climates and all the zones that it crosses. Then they worked on their Mozambique map. They drew in the rivers and learned some facts about them. They put a star on the capital, Maputo and wrote it out. They talked about other geographical features of Mozambique like the coastline and islands. Also learned about some of the national parks and conservation attempts.

We stopped for a snack and during snack time the kids listened to a book on "Counting through Africa" which talked about different things in Africa in Swahili. They learned how to count to 10 in Swahili and sang a song that counted to ten in both English and Swahili.

The kids then made a replica of the Mozambique flag. We had an actual flag from Mozambique brought to us by our friends who live there this Christmas. The kids made their flags out of big pieces of foam, cut to shape. A photocopy of the red triangle with all the symbols was glued on last. The kids learned about the reason and symbols for the flag design and glued a piece of paper with this description on the back of their flag.

The kids then had a lesson on African drums and finding rhythm and beats. They began with the teacher (one of the moms) showing them how to hear and find rhythm with their hands on their legs. Then they played a game with a partner, clapping on their knees twice and then patting hands with their partner twice. They had great fun with this. Next, they sat in a circle on the floor with several drums being passed around. They listened a CD with children's african songs and had to try to find the beat with the drums. We had two more traditional drums, from Africa (though not Mozambique) that were given to us by a friend who lived in Benin Africa a few years ago. We also had a few plastic drums - the kids played one drum for a song and then passed it until each child had a turn with each of the drums (they were short songs).

Then we stopped for lunch, everyone brought a lunch from home. We ended lunch with the reading of another really cute book about an American child who lived in Africa and had to come back to America but considered Africa home. It was called "When Africa was home." Then they all tried a homemade coconut rice candy and a bit of fresh coconut. Then the kids had some playtime while we wrapped up and cleaned up.

It was a fantastic day! The mom who taught the class did an outstanding job and the kids all really enjoyed themselves. It was very educational, even to me, I never knew that Mozambique is the only country in the world that has a machine gun on their flag. It was great fun! It is so much more enjoyable to take a break from our usual studies and work together with other parents to teach in such a fun and relaxed environment. Three more to look forward to!


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