A Review of the “Walking with the Waodani” by Stacy Farrell
Overall, this unit study is fantastic. We were lucky to have the opportunity to review “Walking with the Waodani” from the Home School Adventure Co. There were some moments during our readings that go down as those moments you remember of your kids forever.
The material is designed to accommodate a wide range of learning styles and an even wider range of ages. There are reading comprehension questions, as well as questions which stimulate further conversation and investigation.
How We Used The Material:
We sat in our living room each afternoon and spent an hour reading through a section of the book and then discussing it and looking up additional information in books or on the Internet, stimulated by the reading. My kids are 14 (they are twins) and so don’t really like reading comprehension questions but I made sure that we covered the concepts in the questions during our discussions.
A Diary of Our Experiences:
“This is fantastic! This is the best thing ever!” – my daughter
Day 1 – We sat down in the living room and I read the introduction aloud to my kids. Then my daughter volunteered to read the first section of (blue) lesson 1 out loud. I have to give you a little background about my daughter at this point. Every time she is presented with new homeschooling curriculum, she rips it to shreds (figuratively). If it is new, it must be a horrible waste of her time – that is how she goes in to every new homeschooling book or curriculum. BUT, today she knocked my socks off – she began reading aloud in a stilted fashion, stopping to say that she was horrible at reading out loud, and got about halfway through the first paragraph when she shrieked, “This is fantastic! This is the best thing ever!” The only disappointment was that I made them stop once we got through the first section, but I promised that we would do a section each day. My son looked up the height of the sierra mountains to benchmark that against the elevation of the Waodani tribe in Ecuador.
Day 2 – Today it was my son’s turn to read about the culture of Shell Mara (then). Both my kids really enjoyed the reading and we ended up investigating how a poison could be fatal and yet non-toxic at the same time.
Day 3 – It was my turn to read today. The kids really enjoyed learning about the different types of animals in Equador. The discussion turned from the anaconda in the wild to a story I heard when, as a youth I volunteered weekends at the California Academy of Sciences. Apparently an absolutely immense python decided that the chickens being tossed into its enclosure would not be as tasty as the biologist and so grabbed/bit him by the shoulder and chest. It took three other men to pry the jaws loose and more men to keep the python from curling around the unfortunate biologist, who escaped with nothing more than a bruised chest and a whopper of a story to pass on to young volunteers many years later. I love that this curriculum easily fits into our learning style and naturally expands into additional mostly-educational enrichment!
Day 4 – The best part of today was when my kids entered into a long, drawn out discussion about missionary work and places around the world that need it most. And I realized I was a spectator. They were developing their critical thinking skills and engaging each other without me to lead the discussion. Yeah!
Day 5 – I love the layout this book. By color-coding each day’s reading/activities, you can easily tell where you are in the lesson for the week.
Day 1 – Today’s reading on the animal life in Ecuador led to an animated discussion about piranha. My son decided that it is now his goal to go fish for piranha when he grows up.
Day 2 – The material provided in the text is perfect. The author provides the just the right amount of information to stimulate further study and animated conversations!
Day 3 – I thought that my kids would not understand the concept of missionary work and why the Saints went over and over to the Waodani tribe. But they got the concept of evangelism completely.
Day 4 – We entered into a long, long discussion about the difference between helping someone by enabling them to stand on their own versus saying you are helping someone when you hand them money or food or ‘stuff’. It really comes down to the difference between teaching someone to fish versus feeding them yourself.
Day 5 – By linking the story of the Waodani and the Saint family to the young man whom the author’s children met, the entire curriculum has a consistent flow. Also my teenage children could really relate to the young man and his fantastic journey to go visit the Waodani. I cannot say enough good things about this study!
What You Get:
Walking With The Waodani by Home School Adventure Co. is divided into lesson units covering the life, culture, environment, and history of the Waodani tribe. One unit focuses on life at the time of the first missionary contact. And another shows how the tribe changed as a result of contact with the missionaries and their children. There is even a section covering general information about Ecuador (the home of the Waodani). Overall, this unit study covers geography, culture, history, writing, and some good old-fashioned moral lessons in a flexible and easy to use format that should work well for any style of learning and with any family.
Thank You, Stacy Farrell. My children have gained a deeper understanding of what you must draw on, from deep inside yourself, to forgive others and the grace you find upon granting that forgiveness and striving to enable those who have trespassed against us to redeem themselves. This is a fantastic curriculum and a wonderful story.
Additional Products by Stacey Farrell reviewed by other members of the Homeschool Review Crew: