A Heart 4 You: China serves as an introduction to worldview studies for children in grades 3 through 7. This year-long curriculum covers the history of China along with significant Bible study. You might also consider this part of your language arts program since children read a number of books, learn vocabulary words, work on reading comprehension and analysis of what they have read, and do quite a bit of copywork. With younger children, you might read aloud more of the books and assist them in some of the written work.
A Heart 4 You: China functions like a unit study both because it crosses into more than one subject areas and because it incorporates real books, weblinks, videos, and activities (including drawing, mapwork, daily prayer calendar, timeline, and cooking from recipes in the book).
The entire presentation divides into four sections: The Heart of God, The Heart of China, The Heart of Jesus, and The Heart of a Christian. The Heart of China is the bulk of the study, working through a fairly extensive history of the country via historical fiction, historical biographies, fact books, videos, and script from the teacher's guide.
A number of items are required for the course. The core book titled A Heart 4 You: China serves as the teacher's guide. It has scripted lessons that show student pages along with explicit instructions as to what the teacher is to say and do. This includes instructions for using the student workbook and supplemental resources. All of this makes it very easy for the inexperienced parent/teacher to use this study.
The student workbook is titled My Passport to China. In addition you will need the following resources:
The Adventures of Marco Polo
The Story About Ping
Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze
The House of Sixty Fathers
Hudson Taylor: The Autobiography
Queen of the Dark Chamber
Gladys Alyward: The Little Woman
CHINA - Eyewitness Travel Guide
Chinese Prayer Calendar
The Gospel of John in Chinese/English
The Inn of the Sixth Happiness (DVD)
The Story of Jesus (DVD)
Mah Jong and Old Chinese Coins set
All of these plus the teacher's guide and student workbook are available as a set from the publisher or you can purchase individual items. Two other DVDs are required: Atlas: China Revealed and China: Engineering an Empire. You can purchase these but they are available for much less through the iTunes Store.
Many web resources are also built into the study. For example, the teacher's guide includes a link to a delightful National Geographic video on Marco Polo. This runs only about nine minutes but provides insight into the importance and influence of Marco Polo and his writings about his adventures.
The Quines introduce a graphic “organizer” early in the study that is used as students read some of the books. The graphic has a heart at the center indicating the core worldview. It is surrounded by nine sections indicating that worldview influences customs/traditions, dress/food, art/music/literature, language, government, values, lifestyles, behavior/morals, and rituals. Children fill in the graphic with specific examples and information as they learn about China. This is a very visual way of helping children grasp the idea that what we believe influences all areas of life.
The study of China’s history shows early exposure to the story of God. Fascinating study of Chinese writing symbols reveals some amazing expressions of stories from Scripture. While the study covers political and cultural history, the spiritual history is the stronger theme. A major goal of the study is to inspire children to pray for China and consider missionary work to the Chinese.
Protestant missionaries such as Hudson Taylor and Gladys Alward are prominently featured in literary selections and the study itself, although earlier Christian missionaries are also mentioned. Published in 2007, the study is slightly dated already with its mention of the “upcoming” 2008 Olympics in Beijing, but this is not really a problem. As you complete the study, you might want to go online to study more current events in China. It would be interesting to examine the economic changes taking place in China and consider the positive and negative consequences. Exploring political changes as China opens more and more to western trade and western influences would be a great follow-up study for older students.