We started this study the day that the winter Olympic games in Pyeongchang, South Korea started. It was exciting for the boys to see the opening for the Olympics after we learned a little bit about its history earlier on in the day. It was actually the perfect way to learn about it! We got to celebrate cheering on the people in each event while seeing the Koreas walk under the unified flag and understand why that is such a huge thing. They also got to learn why there were two different Koreas. It seriously was a great lesson day.
We also made some crafts with paper dolls while learning about the hanbok (and jeogori, baji jeogori, and chima), the form of traditional dress in Korea (here’s a picture of me wearing one back in third grade in 1992/1993 – I told you my love for learning about Asian countries started from a young age).
My boys had fun learning the original pog game‘s history stemming from ancient Korea called ttakji/ddakji that involves making a paper slammer and trying to flip the opponent’s ttakji by hitting it hard. Micah actually did flip Leto’s but that was the only success they had in the game. It is really difficult.
All the books below were found in our library! There are links to them in case you want to buy them.
Chapter Books We Read:
South Korea: Enchantment of the World
Have you ever wondered why there is a South Korea and not just a single Korea? This book talks about the history of Korea in general and explains the border of the Demilitarized Zone. It also talks about the way people live in South Korea, what the government is like there, the wildlife seen, and the culture of how they live.
North Korea: Enchantment of the Wold
We worked our way into learning about North Korea. This book uncovers some of the problems in North Korea, the government, the way of life there currently, religion, and oppression. I think it gives the basic ideas of everything without being scary so that the kids will not be terrified while learning, but it is definitely a scary thing while we were studying it. The copy we got was up to date as well.
This chapter book is pretty short, but the story doesn’t really seem final to me. This was probably our least favorite of the chapter books, but it did explain very well what family life in ancient Korea would be like and how outsiders were treated as well. I feel it did a good job in explaining the way girls and boys lived within society for the wealthy and the poor. The story focuses on a young girl who is very close to her young aunt making some pranks in between doing work in the house they barely are ever allowed to leave. The aunt gets married and the young girl suffers without her. The story stems around how she handles that.
Clara Lee and the Apple Pie Dream
This book was a blast for us all. Clara Lee is a second generation Korean American who loves her grandfather, gets irritated by her little sister, and tries her best to obey her parents. She has a few dear friends at school as well. There is a competition to become Little Miss Apple Pie, where a grammar school student can be chosen to be in a town parade and festival. Clara Lee wants to win, but some other people make her feel a like she isn’t American enough to. The entire story has a lot of humor around it too, so we laughed a lot while reading it, but it definitely shows the reality of racism in our country too.
The Kite Fighters
This is set in ancient Korea around two brothers who love to make and fly kites. The beginning is a little dry at first, but as we got through the first few chapters, the boys really loved this story and kept asking me to read more. It is a fictional story to explain the origin of kite fighting. Considering my sons are brothers, they related a lot to portions of it. It teaches how to work together while showing respect and admiration to one another. It also shows the results of hard work.
Picture Books we Read (All came from our library):
The Pumpkin Sparrow
The Rabbit’s Escape
The Love of Two Stars: A Korean Legend
Korean Children’s Favorite Stories
The Firekeeper’s Son
My Name is Yoon
Yoon and the Jade Bracelet
Land of Morning Calm: Korean Culture then and Now
Halmoni and the Picnic
The Have a Good Day Cafe
Lady Hahn and Her Seven Friends
The Korean Cinderella
The Royal Bee
My Freedom Trip: A Child’s Escape from North Korea