Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Feudal Japan Unit Study



 We've spent the past couple of weeks in Medieval Japan, learning about everything from samurai to shamisen.  

We read many books, but these were our top four favorites:
You Wouldn't Want to be a Samurai!: A Deadly Career You'd Rather Not Pursue by Fiona McDonald: We adore this series. You can find a book for just about any time period in history.  Each book is packed full of fascinating tidbits and hilarious illustrations. They contain a ton of information, presented in a fun, silly way. 

Little Oh by Laura Krauss Melmed:  Beautiful illustrations accompany this sweet story with a surprise ending.  A wonderful reminder of the beauty of love and families.

The Crane Wife by Odds Bodkin: The illustrations are lovely in this retelling of a traditional Japanese folk tale.  

Easy Origami by Keiko Hori: Honestly, we didn't find the origami in this book very easy.  It was a struggle for us.  However, we enjoyed looking through the pictures and dreaming about having enough talent/patience to complete the impressive projects. :)

Ellie completed her first oil painting: pretty pink sakura (cherry blossoms).  We are both dreaming of attending a cherry blossom festival in Japan someday.


Ethan worked with intense focus on his samurai costume (made out of cardboard) and then, naturally, he adamantly refused to wear it while we were at Culture Club (a favorite monthly get-together with our dear friends where we share our cultural/historical learning).

 Not surprisingly, Ethan chose to focus his learning on Samurai and the animals of Japan. He is just beginning to read and write and, my, how I love this stage of learning.  The whole written world is expanding before him.  He's thrilled each time he successfully reads a word or writes a difficult letter.  His enthusiasm for learning is contagious.


He learned about animals native to Japan, how to write his name in traditional Japanese characters (top left), where Japan is located in the world (and he was amazed at how "teeny" it is comparatively), and he learned about the samurai code or Bushido.   


Ellie's lapbook has a broader focus.  She included information about samurai, the feudal system, kimono, religion (Buddhism and Shinto), and the geography and climate of Japan.




She also made a sweet little replica of Little Oh. 
Isn't it adorable?

In case you're wondering what Elijah does during our school time:


He's usually there right along with us, but finds the material a touch boring.  :)



Resources:
Excellent lapbook resources at Tina's Dynamic Homeschool (scroll down to the bottom of the page)
Animals of Japan resources at Confessions of a Homeschooler
We used this site to translate our names into Japanese
Here is an amazing resource for historically dressed paper dolls.  Ellie and I are both in love with this site!

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