Sunday, October 20, 2013

TOS Review: God's World News (a magazine review!)

I do enjoy thumbing through a good magazine. Of course, my some of my favorite articles are those that include an interesting recipe or craft project. Often, I find that some magazines that publish current news stories do little reporting of the news and more commentating. Now I firmly believe that everyone is entitled to his or her opinion. Goodness knows that as a writer of a little blog I appreciate the privilege of free speech. However, I also feel that I can pick and choose what kind of “free speech” I allow in my home.  I’m the mama….I get to do that. 

When I was young, current events were an important part of our education. My Dad is a “newsie” (not the paper delivering, musical kind). What I appreciated most was the frank conversations my parents were able to have with us. They didn’t shy away from uncomfortable topics. They were always careful not to overwhelm us with scary or unnecessary information. They also didn’t depend on other sources to help entirely shape our world view. I think it is so important to be in constant conversation with your kids. If you don’t talk to them about a hot button topic…someone else will.  

 Even if you choose to shelter your children now eventually in life they are going to be confronted with a different view or opinion. That is why I believe we need to start some of those conversations now. Why do we believe this? Why is this current event important? What does God’s Word say about this issue? 

Obviously, it is more difficult than ever to find reliable sources of news. Ironically, we are inundated with news. But it is edifying? Is it instructional? Is it reported from a Biblical World View? All those things important criteria for my husband and I. God’s World News is magazine for kids and teens from the publishers of World Magazine.  We recently had a chance to review the News Current edition for 5th and 6th grade students.

What I Received

Full-year subscription (includes 10, full color magazines) of News Current - $28
1 world map 

Do you have kiddos of different ages? God’s World News has many different options. There is a discount for families who subscribe to more than one magazine. 

God's Big World (PreK - K)
Early Edition (Gr. 1-2)
News Flash (Gr. 3-4)
News Current (Gr. 5-6)
Top Story (Middle School)
Trak (High School)

I need to make you aware of some of the fabulous features that come with the magazine subscription.

A World Map
PDF lessons to go with the news stories (You can check out a  sample)
A weekly newsletter
Weekly quizzes to go along with news articles & answer keys

All of these are available on the The God’s World News website for parents and teachers. At – You are able to download current and past issues of the magazine. I love this! I can see all sorts of possibilities with this option. Sometimes I like to teach in themes. I love being able to use current events to tie in with something we are studying. 

Two new websites… God’s World News Kids and God’s World News Teen are two brand new websites. You are able to access them with your computer (obviously), a tablet and a smartphone. Content is specifically tailored for the different grade levels. Stories that might appear in the print magazine are included as well as web-only material. You can see from the screenshot below that there is all manner of fascinating information and activities available.

The map that is included is terrific.  When a location is mentioned in an article there are coordinates given so that your child can find that location on the map. Purty cool!

How We Used It

I need to say up front that I did not receive my magazines for review until recently. That happens on occasion, but as a result I didn’t have a much time with the product as I would have liked. However, thus far, I have been thrilled with what I have seen. 

Josiah is an interesting kid. Often, I frequently find him watching one of the News Programs on PBS before bed. He has always been interested in stories and people. I knew that this product would be a hit. I wasn’t wrong. I found him flipping through the magazine quite often. He was full of questions and opinions. 

More than just keeping us informed we were able to use the magazine in a more scholarly manner, as well. 

I teach Josiah and a buddy (Cory) a Language Arts class every Thursday morning. We do all manner of reading and writing activities. I have found with Josiah (and most boys) that they are always fascinated with true-to-life stories and other non-fiction material. 

For this particular class, we read King of the Wind from the July issue of News Current. This article was all about tornadoes. 

We live in Tornado Alley and have seen the destruction of these monster storms first hand. Josiah, himself, has a fascination with weather and had recently finished a severe weather unit. The article gave some interesting statistics and even some tornado safety tips. More importantly, it spoke of God’s perspective and what the Bible says about His faithfulness in every situation. 

The boys enjoyed illustrating their report with their own "monster storms."

After reading the article, the boys summarized what they had learned and wrote it in their journals.
The October issue had an article about the Diana Nyad, the woman who swam 100 miles from Cuba to Key West. Josiah read this article aloud to all of us. He being the swimmer that he is appreciated her dedication and effort. Maybe he won’t complain as much during swim team practice about the countless laps he has to swim! 

Another article Josiah and I enjoyed reading was about Gabby Douglas, the Olympic champion. The article gave a good perspective on overcoming obstacles and reaching for a goal. The first and foremost goal being to be more like Jesus. Yay! 

In contrast, the October issue had a series of very thoughtful article about refugees.
The magazine is filled with a great combination of “heavy news” and fun articles and facts. We got a kick out of some of the cartoons (I think you will, too!)

Because of our brief review period I was unable to utilize the new God’s World News Kids website to its full potential. We did take a “look see” through the website and I can’t wait to use it on a consistent basis. This is one website I won’t worry about Josiah exploring! We took a screenshot of this article that caught Josiah’s fancy. You can see why! 

A young man in China lost part of his nose in an accident. A surgeon took part of his rib cartilage and grew a new one on his forehead! Josiah told me, “At least the guy can pick his nose and scratch his head at the same time.” O, the wisdom of youth. 

I am really excited to be able to implement this magazine into our homeschool and our lives. It really is an exceptional product. I think I had just about as much fun reading through the articles as Josiah. 

You can check out more reviews (including those for every subscription available) at the TOS Crew Blog.


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