Tuesday, October 15, 2013

News Flash - God's World News Magazine {Schoolhouse Crew Review}

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If you are looking for an educational magazine for your children that includes not only news, current events, and other engaging information but also trains children to think critically with a biblical perspective, God's World News has the perfect magazine for your family!

God's World News provides six different levels from Pre-K through high school, so there's something for everyone. Each edition highlights subjects such as economics, science, history, religion, and more. Most importantly, all of the information contained within the pages of these magazines points children to back to the Creator and develops their understanding of the amazing world He made.

My daughter and I received a full-year subscription to News Flash which is written for children in 3rd and 4th grades. A full-year subscription includes 10 full-color issues delivered every month except December and May. For review purposes, we received the August, September, and October issues all at once. Full-year subscriptions to News Flash or any of the other magazines pictured above can be purchased for $28.00. (You do receive a discount if 2 or more subscriptions are mailed to the same address.)

We also received a 20" x 30" world map (Map-It poster) which is included with the September issues of all magazines except Trak. Often, there are small maps that accompany articles throughout the magazines which have coordinates that correspond to the Map-It poster. This is a nice feature that allows children to see where the story took place in relation to the rest of the world.

About News Flash

Each issue of News Flash contains 32 pages of age appropriate stories and articles with lots of colorful photos and illustrations that appeal to children, and most of the stories are pretty short which helps keep young, easily distracted minds interested. Here's a sampling of what some of the stories and articles that my daughter and I have seen in the three issues we received so far are about:
  • Archery competition at the 2012 Summer Olympics
  • How butterflies help scientists to stop people from making fake money
  • All kinds of flying machines
  • 97-year-old finally receives high school diploma
  • Youngest person to reach expert level in chess
  • What robots can and can't do
  • Oldest living person ever documented
  • Echolocation studies with dolphins
  • Baseball player, Hank Aaron
  • What people would eat on Mars
  • Various animals
Besides stories and articles, News Flash includes other kinds of reading material and activity pages such as:
  • In Toon! -- depicts political cartoons that are mostly educational
  • But Seriously . . . -- shows an interesting photo with a brief, informative description
  • Foto File -- couples non-related photos with funny captions
  • Puzzling Times -- offers activities such as crossword puzzles, fill-in-the-blanks by reading clues, and more
  • News Mix/News Shorts -- briefly highlights global stories that are in the news 
  • Quiz Page -- provides short quizzes on a few of the articles included in the magazine issue

    With our subscription, we also have access to various online resources that correlate to the magazine we are receiving. Features include:
  • Over 120 biographies listed in alphabetical order covering important people past and present - Alfred the Great, Joan of Arc, William Bradford, Julia Child, John Deere, Walt Disney, just to name a few. The list of biographies includes dates and a short description of each person for quick reference. Here's an example of what an entry looks like: Leif Ericson: 970 - 1020 Viking Explorer.
  • Extended news lessons in PDF format offer more in-depth information in a variety of subjects.
  • Answer keys to the puzzles, quizzes, and other activities that are included in the magazines.
  • Weekly email newsletter, Teaching God's World News - This feature offers a convenient way for parents and teachers to get links to the PDF versions of the magazines, the answer keys to quizzes and puzzles in the magazines, and links to additional content – biographies and extended news lessons.
  • God's World News Kids is a website that magazine subscribers can access online, on a tablet, or on a smartphone for more engaging content, amazing images, and fun activities. Some of the content is the same as the information found in the magazines, but some of it is web-only content. Website categories include: MySci, Creation, Time Machine, People/Places, Know Me?, and Fun Stuff.

How We Use News Flash

When we first received News Flash, I read aloud articles as part of our school in addition to all of our normal subjects. I do like reading and teaching History, but I lack in the area of current events. I figured having this magazine would help us to stay up on what's going on in the world around us without having to sift through all of the junk on internet news sites.

In the beginning, my daughter wasn't all that jazzed about reading educational magazine articles, but as time when on, she realized there was much more to News Flash than just boring news stories. (Not that they are boring; it was only her perception at first.) She actually started taking the magazines to her room to read articles that interested her and to work on some of the activity pages without being told.

Her favorite kinds of stories are the ones involving animals. She's read articles about monkeys, giraffe babies, a two-headed turtle, dolphins, pandas, and harp seal robots. She also likes the activity pages and thinks the Foto Files are funny.

I still read some of the articles aloud, usually the ones she's not too keen on reading herself like stories about historical figures past and present and any story longer than one page. We've also begun to utilize the online resources. We've started reading biographies; she chose Esther first, but I picked second so we could read about Gustave Eiffel since my daughter was briefly introduced to him in a book about France. Online lessons provide extra information about some of the articles found in the magazines. We enjoyed learning more about the intriguing Ames Room located in Berlin, Germany.

Right now, I am debating whether or not to use News Flash and the online resources exclusively for the subject of history/current events/geography. My daughter is extremely bored with our current history program - one I really love, but it doesn't seem to be working for her at the moment. My daughter seems to like the idea of switching, however, it will be quite a stretch for me to navigate away from a chronological study of history!

My Opinion

Before I received News Flash, I was already familiar with God's World News since my oldest son had a subscription to Top Story last year to use along with his writing program, Write With World. I thought it was a quality product then, and I still do now but even more so because of all the online resources. I think News Flash or any of the other magazines make a great addition to any existing history curriculum, or with some dedication they could potentially become the history curriculum.

I think $28.00 is a very fair price for all that you get in this magazine subscription! If you are still not sure if this would be a good fit for your family, be sure to check out the website for a sample issue, a sample lesson, a sample answer key, and a sample biography. And then go read all of the other Crew reviews since members reviewed different magazines!

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