India is what I always say is my heart string country. It is the country that I have felt yearnings to go to as a missionary. It is the country that I first wanted to learn about when I was a child. It is the country that is so colorful but so sad and oppressed. I used to work with and for some who emigrated from India. They told me stories about their home country and about their beliefs. They’d make me food and had really great work ethic.
When we began our Asian countries study, I anticipated this one. It is one of those countries that is so old and mysterious that it just makes it so much more fascinating. There is a lot of oppression there, especially for the Dalits (the untouchables who are under the lowest caste system peoples). As always, I tie our lessons in with Christian values and beliefs.
I had them watch a few movies such as The Amy Carmichael Story (my favorite historical missionary), the 1990s version of A Little Princess, The 1941 version of The Jungle Book, and the 1980s version of The Secret Garden. I have read the books for each of these stories myself, as well as read about four of Amy Carmichael’s books (I recommend Lotus Buds if you get a chance to read it).
Some resources I used were from Education.com. They loved doing some of the worksheets about India.
Chapter Books We Read:
Who Was Mother Theresa?
This was a good book to explain how Mother Teresa was raised, what caused her to decide to become a nun, and why she wanted to help the poor so much in India. It was a lovely story with some illustrations on the pages and some extra information pages (such as the caste system explained and what Catholics believe to explain priests and nuns). Definitely enjoyed reading this to my sons because it caused us to have a great discussion together.
India: Enchantment of the World
I find these Enchantment of the World series are the best at explaining countries to children in general. This book teaches the history of India and it’s diverse culture, the constant wars they faced up until more recent years, the caste system, the religions practiced, and the great poverty and economic growth they currently have at the same time. I don’t think this was the best of the cultural books we’ve read, but it taught a few things we didn’t previously know about.
William Carey: Obliged to Go
This missionary from England pretty much reset the standard for why mission work was important. He grew up in a time (1760s) where Christians were comfortable where they were and didn’t feel it was necessary to go out into the world to preach the gospel, since the disciples were told to do that, not them, and they had all died. He was raised with the state church, the only church allowed at that time (King James church). When his world is rocked (after learning both Hebrew and Greek) and he realizes that the teachings of the church were not in line with the teachings of Jesus, he decided to challenge his country. In the process he decided to go to India himself. This book explains a lot of the struggles he went through personally with his calling vs. how his health, financial situation, and family situation were. The first half is a build up of his journey into India. The second half talks about his time inside the country of India and his desire to write the Bible in Bengali.
The Ocean of Story: Fairy Tales from India
This book has 18 stories (some are very long and others are quite short). All of them have some explanation for why things are how they are and some just are to bring hope to people who may feel they have none. They are magical, include animals that talk, and sometimes have similarities. They usually try to show a battle of wits. My sons found these stories so intriguing and looked forward to when I’d share them with them.
Picture Books We Read: