Keeping Up with Current Events, North Korea, South Korea and Japan | Sonlight

This post, Keeping Up with Current Events, North Korea, South Korea and Japan, was written for Sonlight Curriculum

In this edition of your guided tour through History / Bible / Literature F, we careen through North Korea, South Korea, and Japan. Our top travel tip this edition features the elements of a Current Events study. We're hearing a lot about North Korea and South Korea in the news, and Sonlight schedules a study of Current Events beginning in Level F, so I'll share how we approach the study with the goal to cultivate a habit of keeping up with Current Events.

Keeping up with Current Events | Sonlight F

What is going on in the world, how does it affect my family, and does it matter?

To answer this for my family, I asked my husband what he thought.

Why study current events?

  • to help our children appreciate where they live and what they have; to keep things in perspective 
  • so they are not ignorant of what's going on in the world; current events are history in the making
  • to be aware of storms, natural disasters, and other troubles brewing, so we can be prepared 
  • to learn how we can help, volunteer, and pray for others

Keeping up with Current Events | Sonlight F

Reading the newspaper or a news magazine can be educational because it is another opportunity to practice reading skills. Students can improve vocabulary, word recognition skills, fluency, and comprehension, while reading the news. In the same way, they gain valuable listening skills while watching the news on TV or while listening to the news on the radio.

Read A Rationale for Studying Current Events in Week 1 of your Instructor Guide for more!

The elements of a current events study include:

1. A type of news media:

  • print media like newspapers and magazines like WORLDteen
  • broadcast news like radio, television, and documentaries
  • Internet news websites, blogs, and apps *

To find A Brief List of Magazines and Newspapers for Current Events Study - Christian and/or Kingdom Oriented Periodicals, click on the downloads tab in your Sonlight account.

*The Internet has a way of drawing kids in, sparking their interest, and encouraging them to dig deeper, but the Internet can be dangerous, so when your student takes an interest in web-based news sites, be sure to check out Tips When Using the Internet which is also in your downloads tab. Even if you use an internet filter, you should follow Sonlight's tips for browsing safely, choosing better keywords, and getting specific results faster. With these tips, you can know what to ask for and how to find the right information. 

2. A type of news coverage:

  • local or community news
  • state or regional news
  • national news
  • international news
  • weather and forecasts 
  • business and finance 
  • economic news
  • politics 
  • entertainment or celebrity news
  • health and education
  • arts and culture 
  • sports news
  • science and tech

3. A frequency of news study:

  • daily
  • weekly
  • monthly 

Weekly or monthly periodicals and journals can give your students a deeper understanding of the news over a period of time because it gives more than just the facts. For news over a longer period of time which focus on a topic or theme, documentaries are powerful learning tools that kids enjoy because they tell a story.

Keeping up with Current Events | Sonlight F

We recently started watching BBC's World News at 5 o'clock on television and look forward to it at night before dinner. After not having a television in our home for many years, I picked up an antenna to see what local channels we could tune into. Just like in the old days when people excitedly gathered around the set for the first time, the kids like watching the news simply because they are watching it on TV. So on evenings we are home, our routine is to have our school done by 4:00, then tidy the house, cook dinner, and watch the 5 o'clock news together.

We like BBC World News because it tells about people’s stories, events, and experiences in a documentary style, and while watching on PBS one night, Boaz, 6, asked, "Why would North Korea attack South Korea when they are on the same team?" Malachi burst out, "Because they had a civil war that nobody ever won so the country divided in two!" which was something he read in the Journey to the Eastern Hemisphere book as a part of our Eastern Hemisphere studies.  

Whether you choose a print media like newspapers and news magazines, online media such as news websites or podcasts, the radio, or the 5 o'clock news, students can profit from studying current events.

Travel tip: Change things up and watch the news from a foreign perspective. What do other countries think about what's going on?

Keeping up with Current Events | Sonlight F

Your turn: What do you use for current events? Do you use the library? Do you have any print or digital subscriptions? Do you have your students write a report or give an oral report at the dinner table?

Books we unpacked and read for our studies of North Korea, South Korea, and Japan:

Keeping up with Current Events | Sonlight F
Keeping up with Current Events | Sonlight F

Our favorite books this trip: 

  • Eliana: The Kite Fighters
  • Malachi: Born in the Year of Courage
Keeping up with Current Events | Sonlight F

Travel tip: Bookmark Instructor's Guide Links - a compiled list of hyperlinks found in the Instructor's Guides. These links are updated, checked for accuracy, and all in one place for your convenience.  For example, in Week 10, the notes for Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes includes a hyperlink to learn how to fold an origami crane. The book has detailed instructions, but the link also contains video instruction.

Our Choose Your Adventure for North and South Korea was to try Korean Kimchi.

Keeping up with Current Events | Sonlight F

Here are some relevant current events we recently found on North Korea: Secret State: A Journey into the heart of North Korea. You can even see what an ordinary day in North Korea is like using virtual reality or 360 degree views.

Our Choose Your Adventure for Japan was to make sushi, but it was a flop, despite three cookbooks and two YouTube videos. First, we used Jasmine rice instead of Japanese rice, and then we used maple syrup instead of brown sugar which didn't yield a sticky, compact-able rice. When we tried to roll it, everything just fell out, but the kids ate it anyways!

Keeping up with Current Events | Sonlight F

Tip: Order sushi at a Japanese steak house or try your local supermarket for sushi in the deli, haha!

Or make Japanese fried rice which was so much easier.

Keeping up with Current Events | Sonlight F

Well, friends and fellow travelers, I hope you are enjoying my little guided tour. :-)

Coming up in the next edition — a travel tip on how to double up when you need to catch up. Stay tuned!

Previous editions, in case you missed them:


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  1. I'm enjoying some moments of rest and visiting my blog friends that I have missed so dearly (although I've kept up with all on a reader). It's fun to "see" the blogs again and not just a scrolling feed.

    Happy New Year!

  2. We love WORLDteen magazine. We also get a weekly email from them that Brandon (12) likes to read. :-)

  3. It's fun to have you visit! ❤️ I don't expect visitors much these days because I can't pay many visits now that my internet is so slow, so they are a treat!

    Carissa, I'm curious if the weekly email a part of the subscription? I will have to take a look! I think Malachi would really like it, so I'm hoping for a special or a sale this spring. :-)

  4. Michelle,
    Our subscription for the magazine and the weekly email was part of our curriculum package from My Father's World. Brandon likes both and if it doesn't comes with next years curriculum (which I think it will), we will look into purchasing a subscription, he likes it that much.