Monday, October 14, 2013

Schoolhouse Review: God's World News (Early Edition)

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Are you looking for an evolution-free world news magazine for your children? I was blessed to receive a full-year magazine subscription to God's World News. I chose to review the Early Edition of God's World News for children in 1st and 2nd grade approximately for ages 6-8. Although, I believe this magazine level would be suitable for children ages 5 through nine. Ten colorful magazine issues will be delivered on a monthly basis. Each magazine issue contains 24 pages of meaningful information relevant to our lives today.  I am currently reviewing the August, September, and October issue in addition to the Map-It world map poster.
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Your Early Edition Subscription Includes:
  • 10 full-color issues of the magazine excluding the months of May and December. Summer issues exclude quizzes which begin again in September. 
  • 20" X 30" Map-It World Map Poster (September Issue Only) The map includes several mini maps including the 50 United States of America, the continents, color-coded religions around the world, the Midwest, and Europe. There is a compass rose in the bottom-right corner of the map. You can also access a digital version of the map on their website. There are letter and number coordinates on both sides of the map making it easier for the user to locate places mentioned in the stories. You will see a Map-It logo next to certain articles telling you the coordinates for locations enabling children to identify countries within the context of a story. The following photos shows you one of the mini maps and the logo symbol.
  • God's World News has online features as part of your subscription including archived and current digital editions along with PDF lessons covering a variety of subjects, Puzzling Times answer keys, grade-level based samples, biographies, Today in History activities, and Explain It activities. Use your zip code and customer number to access the online materials. 

  • They also have two brand new websites that can be used on your computer, with a tablet, or on a smartphone which contain additional resources and teaching tool extensions to supplement and use in conjunction with the magazine. The sections are divided into categories: MySci, Creation, Time Machine, People and Places, Know Me,and Fun Stuff. You'll have unrestricted access to ALL World content for the duration of your subscription. I love that I can differentiate the readings by viewing other grade levels covering the same topic online just by moving the highlighted white circle to another grade level! This feature opens a world of new learning opportunities.
    God's World News Teens
    God's World News Kids - We used this one! 

The content is very interesting and informative with regards to current events around the world. I feel confident that Alyssa will gain exposure to and gain an understanding of current event news in a safe way while developing critical thinking skills. God's World News subscriptions are available for children in preschool through high school. The magazine focuses on giving your child the News, Knowledge, and Wisdom they need in today's world. I value the fact that my daughter has a Christian education and this magazine is just one way that I can accomplish this goal. This is the first children's magazine that I have come across that includes age-appropriate content based on a Biblical perspective covering current events. I don't know about you but the news aired on our televisions today sickens me. I know that I don't want my daughter to listen or watch it just yet. I can trust that God's World News will benefit my daughter by providing her with updated information.

A Few Articles Covered In Our Issues:
  • Butterfly Science
  • Leatherback Comeback
  • Western Heat 
  • Remembering Gettysburg
  • A Boy and a Bird
  • New Trees from Old
  • Wonderful Trees
  • She Did It
  • In 1492 . . . 
  • Good News for Creatures
  • Old-Time Stargazing 
  • Burglars
  • A Dry Land
  • Chincoteague Wild Ponies
  • Checkmate!
  • Growing Up Fast
  • No Ordinary Delivery
  • Not Your Usual Bank
  • Keep Hong Kong Free
  • A Time For Change (David Malloch and Centreville)
The full-year subscription for one copy of 10 monthly issues of the Early Edition magazine will cost you $28 (retail price $32).

Magazine Subscriptions
The company offers five other magazine subscriptions in addition to the Early Edition. One of the following magazines may be geared more towards the grade level of your children. There are sample editions for each level.
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How We Use God's World News in Our Homeschool
Alyssa (Age 5) devoured the contents of our first issue upon its arrival. She immediately opened the magazine and rambled on and on about its contents before I was even allowed to take a peek. Our goal is to read and discuss 3-4 pages or 3-5 articles a day for approximately 15-30 minutes as a supplement to our history and geography curricula. We included geography lessons as often as we possibly could. She was exploring new locations and discovering tid bits of information about different cultures and people. On several occasions, I extended the readings with hands-on activities.

Discussion Starters
Alyssa and I verbally discussed the questions found in the magazine articles in addition to other thought provoking questions. The intriguing articles sparked many interesting family conversations. It also opened up my eyes allowing me to see even more of Alyssa's interests. Our friends commented on how interesting the article topics were and often discussed several of them with our daughter giving her insight into other people's perspectives and additional content information.

Story Starter Writing Prompts
My daughter chose a picture from the Puzzling Times Story Starters found on their new website under Fun Stuff. She glued the photo at the top of her page. Then, she wrote a story about the picture answering the question stated at the bottom. These picture prompt stories were great additions to her writing curricula. It allowed her to creatively write silly stories. I would often ask her to brainstorm a bulleted list of her ideas before choosing and writing the story in complete sentences. I wanted this activity to be more relaxed so we didn't spend a lot of time editing and revising her work.

Research Enrichment Projects
It never fails! My daughter insisted on researching ANY animal that was mentioned in the magazine. She has a strong desire to learn about animals so these articles consumed most of her time and attention. There were many days that I had to ask her to wait until after we finished reading the article to begin researching. She eagerly researched information online about the olinguito, lionfish, pocket mice, Carolina hammerhead shark, leatherback sea turtles, manatee, horses, dinosaurs, Puerto Rican parrots, red-tailed falcons, and more. I hope to utilize graphic organizers or an animal research template in the future. We also looked up Matt Lautner's Facebook page and viewed other photographs of his cows and bulls. His bull, Texas Tornado, was featured in the August edition. Alyssa thought they were adorable and liked how he fluffed and primped them.
Olinguito Research
Copywork and Handwriting
You can use the Puzzling Times pages to work on handwriting skills. For example, I gave Alyssa the rocket page found on page 8 of the October issue to complete. She still writes big so I provided her with primary lined paper to write her answers to the puzzles. Otherwise, I am sure it would not have been readable because there wasn't enough space for her to finish the sentences.

After reading the article titled, "Practice Needed," in the August issue, Alyssa decided that she needed to practice writing her signature (first name only) in cursive. She hasn't learned all the letters in her last name yet.

Bible Verse Memorization
We added certain verses mentioned in the articles to our scripture memory system and verse memorization app. I loved how the verses were related to the article content which helped her make a better text-text connection to the Bible. One of the unique aspects of this magazine was that Bible verses were included so we wanted to take full advantage of this feature and utilize it in our every day schedule. Furthermore, the noted Scripture verses in the magazine could be easily created into handwriting worksheets using an online worksheet maker.

Geography Lessons and Flag Studies
My ABSOLUTE favorite feature of the magazine was the Map-It activity! I appreciated the integration of geography. Map-It coordinates were provided for several articles. The coordinates matched the map enabling my daughter to easily locate the places mentioned in the articles. We did geography almost every single day! Some days she searched the globe for locations in addition to using the maps. If a location was mentioned she would run to the globe or map to find it. Some articles include a flag image next to a country as seen in the October issue about "A Dry Land." You can teach your children about the flag and have them color or complete a flag craft.

One biography that I immediately printed and used in conjunction with her Chemistry and Physics curriculum was about Archimedes. We snuggled on the couch as I read aloud the article. Alyssa narrated the text and answered the reading comprehension questions. She completed a notebooking page about him too. I may have her narrate the biographical information, complete notebooking pages, sequence the subject's life in timeline format, and even use the biographies for copywork sentences. We also used the Christopher Columbus biography and article in the October issue on Columbus Day. The notebooking page below was not part of God's World News.
Archimedes Notebooking Page

Current Event Report
I asked Alyssa to choose one article or topic to present each week. She had the choice to present it verbally or summarize the content in written format. If she chose a short animal article, then I would have her research the animal further or combine several animals into one report. She focused on the 5 W's: Who, what, where, when, and why. She was also asked to relate it to the Bible and to include an illustration. I googled current event reports to find a printable, but we may decide to use a current event notebook journal.

Quick Math Journal Problems of the Day
In the October issue, my daughter decided that she wanted to figure out how many days and hours it took Diana Nyad to swim from Havana, Cuba to Key West, Florida. The article stated that she reached the beaches of Key West in 53 hours. Alyssa found out that it took her 2 days and 5 hours. I also gave her several weights to feel how heavy an olinguito would be if she were to hold one.

Puzzles and Activities
I have to admit . . . I have this thing about children writing in magazines. I can't tell you how happy I was when I found out that some of the Puzzling Times handouts were available in PDF format under the Fun Stuff category on their new God's World News Kids website. At first, I had my daughter verbalize her answers. I eventually started downloading and printing the puzzles for her to complete. I do wish that some puzzles were also available as black and white printables to save on ink cost. We took the puzzles to restaurants and also completed them while waiting for Alyssa's extracurricular classes to begin. My favorite Puzzling Times pages were those that taught how to use map coordinates or read maps.

Field Trips
Many USA locations were mentioned in the magazines. Depending on where you live, you could possibly take a field trip to a nearby location mentioned making the current event come alive.

Other Hands-On Activities
The articles are great leads for additional hands-on activities.

1.) After reading the September article titled, "Found An Answer," we used string, dinosaur figures, and a meter stick to measure the height of the T-Rex dinosaur so that Alyssa could see just how tall the replica was in Queensland, Australia (26 feet). A plastic dinosaur marked every 2 feet. Then, she skip counted to check her work.

2.) You can make a fossil after reading the article titled, "My, What a Big Nose You Have." The article defined the word fossil. I love how the magazine promoted vocabulary development! Alyssa said that she didn't know that a Nasutoceratops was a real dinosaur, because it wasn't in any of her books. She couldn't believe that they found a NEW dinosaur! She wanted me to contact the companies so that they could update their "old" books.

3.) The October issue included a short story about "Paper Then and Now." You could actually make old-fashion paper with your children.

What We Liked
  • I appreciate that the answer keys were NOT provided at the bottom of the page in upside-down format or on another page. My daughter knows that she can easily peek at the answers if desired. I like that she has to think on her own and that we still have access to the answer keys online if needed.
  • I love how geography is integrated into the articles. The map-it coordinates are provided for parents and children making it very user-friendly especially for parents with a limited knowledge base of geography.
  • I was thankful that the advertisements appeared at the beginning or end of the magazine. They weren't intrusive appearing in the middle of the articles we were reading. 
  • The material is presented in manageable snippets that children can quickly read. They can read the entire magazine or particular content in chunks. 
  • I finally found a magazine for my daughter that I can TRUST! The content is not over her head or overwhelming, because the information is geared towards younger children. The text print is large with many photographs. Not to mention, the information has a more positive tone or attitude than what you would find on the television. 
  • They have a large biography collection containing over 120 biographical stories about people from the past and present times including but definitely not limited to Johann Sebastian Bach, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, George Washington Carver, Aesop, Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, John James Audubon, Leif Ericson, Geronimo, Squanto, Betsy Ross, and Harriet Tubman. Those were just a few of the biographies I hope to utilize this year. 
Possible Cons
  • Our first magazine didn't arrive inside a plastic covering which protects magazines from delivery damages. I have received far too many torn magazines and would hate for this one to be ruined upon arrival due to individuals not handling mail with care.
  • I have a love-hate relationship with the next possible con. As with any magazine, this magazine also includes advertisements. The advertisements appeared at the beginning or end of the magazine almost like a cover. Thankfully, the ads weren't within the article itself. I am grateful that the advertisements did support Christian stores or products. We usually tear the ads out, but we couldn't because they were stapled as part of the magazine. I do like hearing about homeschool curricula so it wasn't as bothersome as others.
  • It was difficult at first figuring out how and what I could download online. A printer icon would indicate which pages can be downloaded and printed. I eventually figured out that I needed to click on the colored box or person's name. 
Possible Vendor Improvements or Suggestions
  • I recommend using a thicker or laminated paper for the map poster. The paper used was extremely thin. On the other hand, the thin paper made it easier to fold and deliver to our home. I also suggest making the map double-sided. You could include a map of the United States of America on the other side. I did notice that a mini map of the USA was featured on the larger map. There were many articles that mentioned specific states. This is a great way to add even more geography into daily lessons while familiarizing children with locations around the world and the USA. We utilized the smaller mini maps, but we prefer using a larger map as seen below.
  • I would include more nature or silly photographs in the magazine that can be turned into visual writing prompts for children. We absolutely LOVE the Story Starters as seen in previous archived editions and samples, but noticed that the three issues we received so far haven't included this feature. We suggest that each issue have Story Starter photographs. What a fantastic way to add more writing into the day! 
  • I would LOVE it if God's World News included their own age-appropriate current event report printables for each grade level! I never did find one I was 100% happy with online. 
  • Alyssa requested that more Puzzling Times activities be added to the magazine such as word and sentence scrambles, crossword puzzles, logic puzzles, secret coded words, and word searches. She also suggested that you add "Getting to Know You" articles to the magazine about current and popular musicians or actresses. The article could contain information about their beliefs, hobbies, and interests. 
  • Is it possible to add simple Bible crafts or prayer crafts related to the articles? The prayer crafts could focus on a particular country or group of individuals. I also suggest adding more simple hands-on activities for younger children to complete related to the articles making the magazine subscription even more versatile. 
  • I think it would be fun to add animal classification trade cards to the magazine or website for the animals mentioned in articles. Furthermore, miniature animal pictures could be included to pin on a map. 
  • Would you be willing to add timeline cards to the biographies? This helps children learn more about the person and what happened in their life sequentially giving them a visual overview. You could also create notebooking pages that correlate with your biography collection. 
Overall Thoughts
God's World News is a terrific magazine for children especially if you are looking for one that emphasizes a Biblical perspective on current worldly events. It was a great supplementation to our history and geography homeschool curricula and can be used in a variety of ways.

Alyssa's favorite topics from the October issue were about Diana Nyad, Christopher Columbus, olinguitos, astrolabe stargazing, and the bee bearded man. She was curious and actually started digging through her piggy banks in search for precious and rare coins after reading about the 1943 copper penny and the 1965 silver dime. Unfortunately, she didn't find any unusual coins. She did ask me when she would go to college after hearing about Carson, the eleven-year-old college student, attending Texas Christian University.

She enjoyed reading about the Chincoteague pony swim in the September issue. She also thought that the articles about Carissa Yip and T-Rex were interesting. The articles about the Tennessee walking horses and the children that worked as mailboat jumpers caught her attention too. She said that she wanted to try jumping on the boats too!

The article that grabbed her attention most in the August issue was the "Saving Parts of a Sunken Ship." She's been extremely interested in pirates and Blackbeard was no exception. She also wished that she had a red-tailed hawk like the falconer, Cole Pliura. She really wanted an eagle, but I explained why she couldn't have one. She enjoyed reading the jokes in the Just Joking section of the magazine. I can't tell you how many times I heard the joke, "What did the mummy call the doctor about? His coffin! Ha-ha-ha!

I love that we were able to add a little extra science, Bible, language arts, writing, math, history, and geography into our day. This magazine has unlimited potential for learning opportunities! I will continue using this magazine for as long as I possibly can. Thank you God's World News for providing my daughter with a magazine that will truly give her a more positive and accurate aspect on the today's worldly news. I can actually relax and trust that the material presented will be appropriate and of interest to my daughter. Alyssa is definitely growing into a better Christian by reading this magazine.

I would definitely whole heartily recommend this magazine to everyone I know! Christian homeschooling families will appreciate the evolutionary free content. God's World News is a top-notch children's magazine with an emphasis on presenting world event news that I highly recommend for ALL families, private Christian schools, Sunday schools, and churches. They can possibly be used in a Christian co-op setting as part of a small group current events discussion or as a presentation. I suggest you sign-up for the Weekly E-Newsletter so you can conveniently receive the answer keys and digital edition of your grade level magazine.

I wish all the pediatrician, doctor, and dentist offices could replace their adult magazines with the high-quality publications from this company. I also received a sample issue of the adult version of the World magazine (green cover). I am a God's World News subscriber, so World magazine has automatically enrolled me as a member of their NEW World Fellow Member Program giving me unrestricted access to all WORLD digital content. This is an outstanding benefit!

Be sure to visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew to read additional reviews written about God's World News.
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  1. I haven't used it but I have heard a lot of great things about it from people who have!

  2. This is an AMAZING review. I love the many many ways you used this!