You may have noticed that I’m a bit political. I stay apprised of current events and I go out of my way to be informed on many of the issues facing us today. While the majority of my focus is domestic I do make an effort to be informed about what is going on in the rest of the world as well. I usually read current events, discuss them with my husband, and then tell him everything I would do to fix it :) I don’t often get a chance to explain or teach my children about world news unless it comes up in casual conversation (which is not often) or it somehow applies to our history lesson (again, not often). Another problem I have is that the world is, you know, BIG. There is a LOT of stuff going on and it’s impossible to keep up with everything. I end up missing a lot of really important and/or inspiring world events because I only have so much time. I know a lot of people wouldn’t bother including current events in their children’s education, but I am so drawn to it that I can’t help but think one of my children has a future in bringing about world peace. (Really, Courtney? Delusions of grander?) :)
News Flash is aimed at children usually in grades 3-4. In it, your child will read stories about all kinds of things going on in the world. The age appropriate articles cover things like modern technology, history, struggles in third world countries, current political issues, scientific discoveries, biographies, art, and more. There are also crossword puzzles, cartoons, and interesting pictures with funny captions. It REALLY is a world news magazine for kids.
Along with the magazine subscription ($28 for ten issues), you receive a world map with the September issue (presumably to coincide with the beginning of a new school year) to help you locate the places the articles are about, and access to the online resources (which are plentiful). On gwnews.org you have access to pdf versions of your magazine, answers to the questions and quizzes posed in the issue, biographies, activities (organized by subject), and lesson plans that correspond with the magazine issues. A second website is also available to you. At kids.wng.org you can access all of the information that is in your magazine (and past issues) by subject. In addition to the info in past issues, there is new material that is always being added that coincide with the news of the day. For example, there was an article on the government shutdown and the politics behind it even though it wasn’t in any of the issues. It was informative, factual, unbiased, and kid friendly. Some of the articles (including many of the biographies) can be downloaded in PDF format for future use in your children’s education.
I have been very pleased with News Flash. So far I have been able to use three issues with my kids. The first time I pulled it out we opened up the October issue. The first few pages had a story called “Into the Empty Mines of South Africa”. Together we read about the abandoned gold mines of South Africa and the circumstances in which illegally mining for gold becomes a desirable “profession” for these poor South Africans. While the story was only a two pages long, it spawned a two hour long lesson. My family lesson record for the day (not including individual studies) looked like this:
I would say that is a productive day, wouldn’t you? This 32 page issue included articles on the following subjects:
- Into the Mines of South Africa
- The story of a man aprox 123 years old
- A badminton champ in Thailand
- An 11-year-old university student in Texas
- Dolphin Study and Echolocation
- The first person to swim from Florida to Cuba without a shark cage
- a 8 page story about people moving from country to country for various reasons including seeking asylum. This story talks specifically about people from Pakistan, Australia, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Iran, and those living in Diaspora (those who are scattered around the world).
- Hank Aaron
- Political cartoons with explanations of the politics behind them
- FotoFile (photos with captions)
- An article on coin collecting
- What is Market Value?
- The Hyperloop
- Crossword Puzzle
- Map work
- Ames Rooms
- A family who just had their 12th son (no girls)
- Prosthetic leg made from legos
- hand knitted panels covering Andy Warhol’s bridge in Pittsburgh
- Mushroom hunting
- Exploring how to make meals for people who would go to Mars
- Meals Made Easier
- The Experimental Aircraft Association’s AirVenture
- Vocabulary words found in the stories
Amazing. That is a LOT of information all packed into the October issue of News Flash. The other issues I had were just as packed. The September issue came in very handy when Spencer asked me about robots. In this particular issue I noticed how well the publishers weave delicate principles into some of their articles. As you can probably guess given the name of the company, God’s World News is a Christian company with a biblical world view. Since my world view is similar to theirs, I found the references to God and bible verses in select articles helpful (though the bible and God were not referenced in every article, only where it would have been appropriate). I like being able to liken the scriptures to things happening in my life. Specifically with the Article on robots, Spencer and I read about several different types of robots, the difference between robots and machines, and the kinds of jobs that robots and machines can do these days. For example, there are some prototypes available who’s sole purpose is to comfort the sick and elderly. These seals blink when the lights are turned on, turn towards the person who talks to it, and moves as if it is alive. They can help calm people in the same way that real animals can.
Now this sounds very good on the surface, who wouldn’t want to comfort those who stand in need of comfort? But is this the best way to go about it? If you want to help those who need it YOU need to do it. You can’t hand over our responsibilities as human beings to objects. How is it helpful or good to replace real, human interactions and relationships with pretend ones? I remember seeing a preview for a movie in which the main character falls in love with his computer’s operating system. It was so life like and responded to his needs in such a way that he felt he didn’t need “anyone” else. This article talked all about the wonderful things and amazing things that the technology is capable of, but it also asks you to question the ethics of certain technological advancements. Ethics is something that is sorely lacking in all aspects of society today and just because we CAN do something, doesn’t mean we SHOULD. (On a side note, any doctrinal differences between mainstream christianity and my own faith were easily clarified to my children).
Lest you think (as too many mistakenly do) that a Christian world view makes it “anti-science”, the very same issue also had an article on Dr. Zoltan Takats’s invention: the iKnife. This is a cauterizing knife that connects to a machine that will test the smoke samples from the tissue that is being cauterized. It can find cancerous cells within seconds rather than the 30 minutes or more with traditional lab tests. That day we learned all about cauterizing and I showed the kids a scar on my foot from when I had a plantar’s wart removed (TMI?) Another article prompted a discussion on why many chemotherapy patients loose their hair and the kids of things that can be done to help prevent it.
I can’t tell you how impressed I am with News Flash. Even though the articles are written in on a 3rd and 4th grade level, they don’t dumb it down either. There is so much content and information packed in there that I believe that you could easily educate your children with nothing more than News Flash as your “scope and sequence” and a library card. Science, history, current events, ethics, and SO much more!
God’s World News has subscriptions for every grade level from preK to high school.
Many of the articles overlap, so you might want to pick one and customize for your children. I found News Flash to be easily customized to each of my children’s needs. With Emma it was just right, I was able to explore in more depth with supplemental resources with Lucy (grade 5), and go a little slower and explain a little more with Spencer (grade 1).
I did receive a subscription in exchange for a review but I think it is very likely I will renew when it runs out. Since I don’t part with my money very easily this is quite an endorsement.
I just want to leave you with a funny thing I saw in the fotofile section :)
Prices are accurate as of the publication of this review
Click to read more reviews from the Schoolhouse Review Crew