Japan Notebooking/Unit Study

Hello lovelies. Would you like a peek at this weeks home school adventure? This week we have had a focus on Japan. I generally take a notebooking and unit study approach when we study countries. So we have experienced a bit of Japan’s history, food, music, geography, religions, traditions, language, currency, and statistics. 

Yesterday we did our overview of Japans ancient and more recent history with our beautiful world cultures book. A friend gifted us a Zen garden kit, so naturally we played in the fabulous garden for a bit. Although the overall concept may have slightly been lost on the kiddos, they did have beautiful ideas, they had wonderful stories for their gardens, and I was pleasantly reminded of the ease of childhood imagination and the powerful tool it is for learning. 

Who-Rae built her garden to the the two little cranes a home. She was pretty concerned about their safety, so a mountain was not adequate, she formed an island for them to stand on. 


Sweet Pea’s story was very similar. She protected her cranes so that they could go fishing and feed their babies. There was dark scary water that was not safe for the cranes, but there was a lot of friendly good fishing water also. Sweet Pea comes alive with her story telling, animals, and sweet creative mind.

Pumpkin was fascinated with the rice patties we read about in the different books we researched from. So he made mountains which surrounded and protected the rice patties that the cranes lived by. He was very careful to make sure that his crops had a straight and distinct growing pattern. 


Shortly after our zen garden fun we moved onto some Japanese drum line music. We watched several clips on YouTube. Pumpkin observed in a couple of clips that they looked as though they were battling. 

Some of our favorites…
~Japanese Drum Line Playlist

In our world history and culture’s big book of fun filled facts we learned that Japan went through a long period of time closed off from the rest of the world in order to protect its citizens from the Christian culture. This was certainly something that Pumpkin grasped and responded too. The depth of the discussion we had about people and countries after that was wonderful. I loved his thoughtful questions. I am continually taken by the size of my children’s hearts.

For our notebooking projects I printed a workable map of Japan, we mapped out the capitol, the names of the main islands, Mt. Fuji, various waters, and other important geographical locations. We also colored a picture of the Japanese flag to add to our notebook pages. 

We also wrote down a couple of words we learned in Japanese, some fun facts about their day to day life, and some geographical facts to compare to other studies we have done.

In our collection of books we have a book that has traditional stories from many different countries. We got to read about a sparrow a husband and his greedy wife. Stories from Around the World was a fun addition to our unit style study.

We went to the library and found many books on Japan. We learned a bit more about their animals, and the kiddos drew their version of what the red faced snow monkey looks like. We are currently working our way through the book I Survived the Japanese Tsunami by Lauren Tarshis. The kids have enjoyed the story so far.

What sort of self respecting mom would I be, if I did not fill the tub and let the kids make tsunami waves of their own? Yes…. I did that, and yes they LOVED IT!!!

 Of course where would we be if we did not try our hand at home made sushi? Not bad for my first try. I really enjoyed making something new, trying and playing with new ingredients, and watching the kids excitement as it came together.




Yes, these are my beautiful girls, nervously exploring new textures, flavors, and utensils. Do you think they look pleased? (no they were nervous for sure)

Who-Rae please be careful, you could poke yourself in the eye with those chop sticks (the running theme for a good tens minutes).


Not to worry, good sport Pumpkin to the rescue with his fearless attack on his sushi. Yes, this is the child that is my pickiest eater. How this works I have NO idea, but it did. He ate his sushi, used his chopsticks for his rice noodles, and even tried out some oysters I added just for the fun of it. Later he decided the seaweed was just too much, but I was so proud to see this finicky eater explore something so new and so foreign to him.

On a side note, I was very proud of the gang for their efforts. Although they ate very little of the fun food adventure, I did not send them to bed hungry, chocolate cake all around for my Japanese food victims. Kinda eased the pain, even for Conan who swore he’d never eat sushi (heeheeheeheee). 

~ Thanks for Stopping by!!
                    ~ Jenn aka. Mom


~Sensually Yours~
Shy Willow

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