One opportunity that has always excited me was the opportunities my kids have to learn about and discuss other cultures and current events together as a family. News on TV is not always the most family-friendly information for little ones, but thankfully, there is another solution if you should like to expose your children to what's going on in the world around them.
Company Information: God's World News is a family of monthly periodicals for kids from preschool through high school. Each issue includes not just current events, but different articles that takes kids all around the world and introduces them to new people and ideas. The news is presented from an unabashedly Christian perspective and is full of colorful photographs, thoughtful editorials, with lots of puzzles and games sprinkled throughout its pages. Each edition also has a corresponding online component with additional fun activities and learning extensions related to each issue. (Subscription required)
Product Reviewed: God's Big World, a full-year subscription for preschoolers and kindergarteners, beginning with the September 2013 edition. I also received some back issues, a Map-it foldout map and access to the online extras. Each issue is full color, with 24 pages.
Price: $28 for a one-year subscription--10 issues delivered monthly, except May and December. This includes access to the online material.
Age Range: Pre-K/Kindergarten
Parental Preparation: None!
How We Used It: Jonathan and I have some time after lunch to read together, so we simply incorporated it into our reading. We would read a few of the very short articles together and/or work on one of the puzzle pages. Using the map, we would look up the different places that we read about. It took us about a week to finish one of the issues, if we read 3-4 articles/puzzles a day.
What We Liked:
- Each article was 1-2 pages, with short text, large photos, just the right bit of "news" for a little guy. They were upbeat, interesting, and informative.
- The Christian perspective on the news is a great way to train our children to see the world through God's eyes.
- On some of the pages, there is a "Map-it!" box, which corresponds to the larger map. We had fun looking up the different countries, which helped Jonathan to visualize where different places were. This also allowed us to learn where he lived on the map and compare its distance from us and talk about the equator---a nice and easy way to introduce some basic geography concepts.
- The Bible 2 Life gave us a bit of Scripture to discuss, leading to time to either pray for a country or praise the Lord. For instance, we talked about how some people were serving Jesus in other countries and obeying Matthew 25:35-40. We then talked about that passage and thought of ways that we could do the same where we are.
- Jonathan enjoyed the puzzle pages! They were at just the right level for a kindergartner! The corresponding website has printable pages of the puzzles as PDF files (plus more!), which is great if you have a few little ones. Just print one up for each of them!
- With most of the articles is a "Teaching Tip" that gave a little information for the parent. I ended up reading most of these to him.
- The website includes many of the articles in the magazine, if you like to read it from the computer. You can also read articles from the older kids' editions of the magazines if you wish! It appears that PreK-6th grade subscribers can access all the levels on the website, while 7th-12th graders have a separate website with their subscription. Articles on the site may be similar but have increasing levels of detail for the older kids.
- Along those lines, I appreciate the fact that this magazine can "grow" with my kids!
- An especially cool section of the subscriber site is the "Know Me?" section of biographies of individuals: past, present, and future. In the downloadable and beautifully illustrated PDF, there is an article, plus quiz and other activities. This section alone would be fun to browse and enjoy!
- An opt-in newsletter provides lessons corresponding to the magazines, answer keys to the puzzles and links to download the magazine as a PDF so you can read it on your digital device!
What We Didn't Like:
- Nothing much! This has been a wonderful resource for our family in so many ways.
So often, I know we get wrapped up in the details of our own little worlds and forget that there is a greater world out there. God's World News gives us a family-friendly way to help our children to look at the world from a Christian worldview. My prayer is that my kids will not only learn about current news but also begin to see the world they live in as a gift from God, one that they are called to steward and impact for His Kingdom. I think this family of magazines is a great tool to help towards that end.
Note: If you as a parent are interested in a news magazine from a Christian worldview, check out World magazine. My older high school daughter enjoyed reading through it as well.