[I know, I know. I’m not keeping a consistent brand, veering off here into homeschooling when I’m supposed to stick with Faith, Fiction, and Love No Matter What. World poverty is anything but fiction. Still, as a lay Dominican, I’m called to contemplate and share the fruits of my contemplation. Hence the breakdown in branding. Anyway. Read on, if you’d like. Buy books or review them as I’d like.]
2017 is bearing down on us. Christmas holidaying is once again threatening to turn my kids into self-centered brats (threatening; they’re still pretty amazingly caring people, even after a lot of chocolate and no alarm clocks for a week]) We are so behind on school that I almost skipped our January Month of Service. Almost. I’m now scrambling to put it together.
The older kids during January month also get an assignment to research a country or region that has been scarred by poverty and stripped of opportunity. In 2014, they had to pick one of the 50 poorest countries of the world and answer a series of questions about life there. Last year, same thing but for a Native American reservation. This year we’ve been going through the first volume of TAN’s amazing resource, The Story of Civilization. I highly recommend this history curriculum. We just got to Greece after spending the first part of the year in the ancient Levant. What better time to have the kids research one of the countries of said region?I’m sharing this year’s research questions here in case you’re looking for something similar. I took our questions from the 50 Poorest Countries project and made some minor modifications. You can do the same. Just keep in mind that the goal is to help kids learn to care about the suffering of others and see themselves connected to that suffering.
Get to Know Another Country
What country are you researching?
Where is this country located? [BONUS: Copy and paste an appropriate map of this country into this document, or include a link to a map.]
What’s the country’s official language?
What is the infant mortality rate?
What is the life expectancy?
What are the most common causes of death in this country?
What are the most common diseases in this country?
What is the median annual income in this country? How does that compare to the median annual income in the United States?
How do people acquire food in this country? What is their diet like? How many times a day do they eat?
What are the country’s natural resources?
How would you describe this country’s current system of government? Has there been a change in government in recent times?
What does it mean for a country to be politically stable?
Look up your country on the Global Economy ranking for political stability (make sure you’ve set the year to the most recent year available). What is this country’s ranking overall? Has the ranking gone up or down over the past five years? Compare this country’s ranking to the political stability ranking for the United States for the same year.
How has this country’s level of political stability affected its infrastructure: roads, hospitals, public transportation, cars, electricity, running water, radio, TV, internet access, etc.?
How are children educated in this country?
What are some reasons children in this country might not receive a good education?
Is this country at war? Has it been at war in the past 100-200 years? What were the effects?
Was this country ever colonized by another country? By which, and for what years? What mark has colonization left on this country?
Would you want to be a child your age in this country today? Why or why not?
If you were in the government of this country, what changes would you make to help the people of your nation?
What other questions would you add, Dear Reader? Have you done something similar to this with your kids? What was the result?