We don’t learn about missionaries much in our homeschool, but my kids have been interested and asking me questions lately. Over the past few weeks, we’ve been checking out a new resource called Walking with the Waodani from Home School Adventure Co.
This resource, put together and written by Stacy Farrell, is a unit study that focuses on Ecuador. We were given a sneak peek and only had access to the first two lessons for most of the review period. Each lesson has a similar format that keeps kids learning and engaged. They get to learn about missionaries both in the present day, as well as in the past.
The transformation of the friendliness and acceptance of missionaries in this area over the past several decades is nothing short of miraculous! If you’ve ever seen the movie End of the Spear, this guide talks a bit about the Christian missionaries murdered in Shell Mera in 1956 and what their families did in the aftermath of this great tragedy. I’ll give you a hint: they didn’t pack up and go home! In fact, one of the sons of a slain missionary actually became friends with his father’s killer.
This unit study talks all about how the people in this area changed from intense violence to becoming God-centered. It also followsed missionaries Russell Winter and his family friend Gary as they immersed themselves in the culture and lives of the Waodani people in the present day.
Each lesson is split up into different categories. The first half of the lesson is packed with full-color pictures and the text portion of the study. The inside of that contains:
- Lesson Introduction – Here you will find out the nickname of the territory the lesson will be about, and a variety of exciting snippets of information are introduced to get students curious and ready to learn more.
- People & Places – This contains maps and facts about the area of study, as well as stories about what has happened in that territory or information on people that have been there or live there.
- Meals & Markets – If eating weird or interesting food excites your kid, hang on to your hats! This section talks about the local cuisine and even gives some recipes. Keep in mind that these folks are very traditional and enjoy their locally-sourced meals…including grubs.
- Animals & Agriculture – My kids liked learning from this section the best. You will learn about a variety of different animals that you would find native the the area you’re studying. There are also different plants featured. We would have gladly taken 4 or 5 more pages of information from this section, because we all loved it so much. The pictures were gorgeous, too!
- Worlds & Worldview – This section talks about influences in Ecuador, whether it’s religious or philosophical. It describes the why behind these things as well.
Immediately following the full-color, filled with gorgeous pictures text portion of the lesson, there is a section of worksheets for your students to fill out that corresponds to each of the aforementioned sections of the lesson. Included in the worksheet section for each lesson is:
- Travel Journal Notebook Pages – This is like the lesson review. It asks questions about what they just read.
- Mark Your Map – This gives kids a bit of a geography lesson! Sometimes there are more questions or a graph to fill out, too.
- Rate the Recipe – Your kids will love pretending to be a food critic to draw, rate, and discuss the sometimes unusual local fare. My boys liked this activity the best and the things they wrote were hilarious!
- Draw an Animal – My daughter especially liked this page. You are able to draw and talk about one of the animals that you found most interesting from the lesson.
- Creativity Unleashed – This section gives the students a very detailed prompt. While there’s a lot of “set up” information for them, they are actually encouraged to be very creative with their response to the writing prompt. There are suggestions listed of things for them to include or elaborate on, but it’s up to your student to decide how much to write or what to talk about. Set your timer and let the kids show you what they’ve got!
I was also impressed with the amount of links, books, and videos that were suggested to go along with the unit study. If you wanted to, you could spend a lot of time learning about the people, culture, animals, missionary life, and different territories. As written, it took us about 4 different sessions to complete the first 2 lessons.
For the first lesson (Shell Mera Then), I actually read most of the text portion aloud in one sitting and then printed out the worksheets and did those with my kids during the second sitting. This worked okay, but we ended up going back and forth in the text portion a lot because my kids didn’t remember everything from the time before.
For the second lesson (Shell Mera Now), I read the introduction, and then as we finished sections of the reading, we worked on the corresponding worksheets. I knew my 4 year old would only be interested in the parts with drawing, so I printed an extra for him when we got to the Recipe and Animal pages. For the rest of my kids, ages 7, 10, and 11, I printed out a copy of all of the worksheet pages.
This was really interesting for us. As I mentioned, we’ve never really done a missionary study in our homeschool. They’ve heard about it from church, but it’s never been incorporated by me personally. They had a good time reading (or being read to) and having a chance to ask questions.
Are you interested to see how other families used this resource, or a handful of others from the same company? Click the banner below: