What Exactly is Growing Up Wild?
Growing Up Wild is a fun and educational series based on the Wild family, missionaries living in the jungle of Papua, Indonesia. The series is designed to not only show a peek at their life, but to get children excited about foreign missionary work. It's aimed at children 5-12, but the website says it's fun for all ages...and I believe it! My three year old is mildly interested, but my five year old loves it. I do too!
There are a total of 5 Volumes, and I received Volume 1 and Volume 4. Each volume contains 3 episodes (which are approximately 15 minutes each) and a separate CD-ROM with a PDF activity guide.
Home Sweet Hut
Sun and Water
Amazing World Around Us
Adventures in Culture
The activity guide suggests several activities for each episode to enhance the learning experience. The different activities focus mainly on Bible, Life, Science/Nature, Culture, and World Views, but there are also ideas for field trips and hands-on projects.
How We Used the Program
As we watched each episode, we explored some of the suggested activities. They are appropriate for various ages/skill levels, which makes it easy to adapt to an entire family or group learning experience. As a homeschooling family themselves, they encourage you to tweak the activities to your needs! I usually chose one or two activities, and created a mini-unit around the episode.
For instance, I'll share how we explored Volume 1 Episode 1: Home Sweet Hut
The episode introduces you to not only their house, but the houses of the Wano people. It compares and contrasts how different cultures live. The Wild's were accustomed to modern conveniences and separate living spaces, so their house reflected this, while the Wano huts were basically an empty room with nothing but a cooking area.
After we watched the episode, we talked about the beautiful tree that Mom mentions near her house. One of the activities is to choose a tree near your house to sketch. It was the perfect activity for our new nature journal!
|Fall Tree from our backyard|
Another day, we read a book we already owned, Houses and Homes by Ann Morris, which is a photographic exploration of houses around the world. It was a lovely supplement. We watched the clip of the Wano houses again, then decided to do a creative activity from the guide, and I let the boys attempt to make their own "round" house. I provided them with clay, twine and floral tape, and they gathered items outside such as sticks and leaves.
They are building the support walls here. It took a little working and reworking to get it the way they wanted it, because I tried not to intervene.
Iron Man topped it off with a Leaf Roof. He said there had to be a stick in the middle because it needed a hole to release the smoke from the cooking fire. For 3 and 5, they were pretty creative.
Things to Note
I should probably point out that this family has immersed themselves in another culture, so you may want to preview the episodes first so you can be prepared to discuss things like unusual body piercings or the men's clothing as you see appropriate. This is also a a family of boys, so there are plenty of things that adventurous kids find intriguing, such as the family cat devouring a rat, or the kids eating a fish eyeball. My boys are all boy too, so it didn't bother them in the least, but of course this might make a squeamish person uncomfortable.
That being said....
Why We Love It
Not only is it great for family use, it would make a wonderful investment for junior churches or youth groups to get them excited about missions!
This is a great geography resource. All of the episodes give an interesting look at a culture that was before unfamiliar. It opened up conversations about the way other people live and dress, as well as how they use their natural environment to sustain themselves.
There is also a lot of science woven naturally into each episode, which again gives you plenty of different avenues to explore for extension activities.
I Know You're Interested!
The individual volumes are $18.99, or you can buy the 5-pack combo for $80.99. I would love to complete our collection. It's that good! Take some time to look around the Growing Up Wild website, read what other reviewers think and get a feel for the faith, fun and excitement they can bring to your home!
Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Review Crew, I received a complimentary copy of Growing Up Wild Volumes 1 and 4 in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed are based on our personal experiences and were not influenced in any way.