By Jenny Stephenson
We have journeyed to far off countries in our series, “Homeschooling Around the World,” and this month’s focus is a very fun country—Australia! Take your family on a journey down under and experience all that Australia has to offer.
Australia is an island continent and is the sixth largest country in the world. Australia was discovered by a Dutch navigator named Willem Janszoon in 1606 and was named “New Holland.” Though the Dutch charted the island in the 1700s, it was not colonized. In 1788 the British government sent out a fleet that started and built the first settlement in Australia. This settlement was the beginning of Sydney.
There is so much more history to Australia including a Gold Rush; the largest barrier reef, called the Great Barrier Reef; and many other amazing facts, too. As always, I encourage you to head to the library to find some books on this country we are studying. A few ideas on topics to check out would be Australia, The Great Barrier Reef, the animals that inhabit the Great Barrier Reef, and other Australian animals. By the way, did you know that over 80 percent of Australia’s mammals, reptiles, and frogs can’t be found anywhere else in the world? A few well-known Australian animals to check out would be the kangaroo, koala, dingo, platypus, wallaby, and wombat.
Australia has some great tourism online videos that would also help your kids experience seeing some of the amazing sites of Australia. Just search “Australia travel” and you will find several really good travel shows all about Australia.
- Head to the zoo with your family and see how many of the zoo’s animals come from Australia. Write down each animal that comes from this country down under and do some extra research on them throughout the month.
Aquarium. Another great trip would be to a local aquarium. Study the Great Barrier Reef before heading to the aquarium and see how many plants and fish you can find that come from Australia. Before heading to the aquarium I highly recommend picking up The Aquarium Guide by Answers in Genesis. It’s a great Bible-based resource to take with you to read up on each animal you see in the aquarium. My family owns this book and we love it. The book brings scripture to life right in front of your eyes as you learn about our Creator and the amazing sea creatures He made. If you don’t have The Aquarium Guide yet, visit Answers in Genesis’s website to learn more!
TV. We aren’t a huge television-watching family; in fact we don’t even have a TV in our living room. If we want to watch it, we have to pull it out of the closet (how’s that for discouragement on watching TV?). However, there are some really fun movies and shows about Australia that might be worth your family’s time this month. A couple of fun shows and movies would be Rescuers Down Under; some Crocodile Hunter shows; or his daughter, Bindi, on Animal Planet. If you have older children, Rabbit-Proof Fence is based on the true story of three half-caste Aboriginal children. It’s rated PG and, not only is it visually beautiful seeing the sites of Australia in the movie, it is also a well-made true story.
Australian food. There is a great website called Australian Food that is packed with fun recipes (and pictures) from Australia. Visit the website and, as a family, pick out a few fun recipes to try this month.
Ministry and Missions
There are a lot of exciting ministries and missions in Australia. One missionary family that I would like you to meet is the Booker family. The Booker family is a missionary family in Australia with YWAM. To learn more about the Bookers, visit their website. You can also find them on Facebook and follow their blog. I think your family will come to love the Booker family!
Here is a fun twist on Missions and Ministry in Australia—Ken Ham. Ken is the founder of Answers in Genesis and he is a missionary from Australia to the United States. I don’t have enough time, space, or words to talk about all the reasons my family loves Answers in Genesis. We have learned together so much about the Bible, have grown as a family, and have had a lot of fun in the process. If you have never heard Ken Ham speak in person, check out his travel schedule and get to the closest church or event that he will be speaking at; I promise it will be worth your time. Furthermore, check out Answers in Genesis and their Creation Museum (I’m actually headed to the Creation Museum next week with my family!)
These are just a few ideas to get you started on your discovery of Australia. I hope you have a fun month with your family as you explore this amazing country together!
Jenny Stephenson lives in Texas, with her husband, Ben, and five children ages 12, 10, 8, 6, and 5. Ben and Jenny adopted two of their children and have a heart for missions and adoption. Jenny enjoys blogging about adoption, homeschooling, and family life. Check out Jenny’s blog at vintageburlapbarn.blogspot.com.