Harlow has always been interested in nonfiction, both history, and current events. It’s why her favorite books are biographies. She has an uncanny ability for memorizing names and dates, and she likes to watch the news. She likes to deliver the news, too— remember Harlow’s News? That was back when the topics of the day were Olympic figure skating and the release of Descendants 2. In more recent years, the stories on the news have become way more dire, but when we go to turn it off, Harlow always says, “Keep it on! I’m interested.” We’ve learned a lot as a family because Harlow is very curious and never shies away from asking tough questions.
About a year ago, an issue of The Week Junior showed up on our doorstep, which is a weekly magazine on current events geared towards 8-14yos. It’s packed with news, science, animals, nature, sports, entertainment, and puzzles alongside reader-submitted stories and causes kids care about.
Harlow was immediately intrigued. We sat and read through it together, leafing through national news, international news, human interest stories, all told in an age-appropriate way, providing facts, without any bias. (Imagine that!) I even remember which article captured Harlow’s attention the most. It was about an auction that sold items recovered from the Titanic. A cracker was sold for $23K. Harlow was both fascinated and appalled. “$23,000?? For a cracker??? I bet it was stale!” She retold that story to different people, numerous times over the next few days, as if she had been brushing up on her cocktail conversation. Everyone was so impressed! And that’s how her love of The Week Junior started.
We’ve been receiving The Week Junior every week for about a year, and Harlow looks forward to each issue arriving. She checks out the cover story and then turns straight to the “Photos of the Week” section which features striking full color photos from around the world – like an aerial view of a Chinese tea garden, monks praying during a Buddhist ceremony in Thailand, a flooded forest in Vietnam, a close up of a turtle hatchling in Australia. “Photos of the Week” is always the centerfold, and usually includes a reader photo among the professional shots. I think the photos have really opened her mind to how amazing nature is, how different other cultures are and what is out there to explore across the globe.
Harlow and I set aside time to go through the rest of the issue together, with Harlow pointing out the articles which interest her the most. Together, we’ve learned about climate change’s effect on the coral reef, congress debating voting rights, the NCAA making changes to the women’s basketball tournament so that it’s more equal to the men’s, and the launch of the James Webb telescope.
Harlow was particularly excited about the telescope because she also learned about it in science class at school. I find that the current events which resonate the most are often things that she learns about in school and then are reinforced with an article in The Week Junior, or vice versa. That’s when she’ll ask me to delve deeper so she can find out more information and bring it up for future discussion. For instance, she made our whole family watch the launch of the James Webb telescope on Christmas morning.
Harlow will usually ask so many questions, which lead from the topic at hand to other issues, that we only cover one article at a time and come back to the issue over and over throughout the week. It’s become a great bonding activity for us, and I love seeing her use her newfound knowledge to impress adults we know. We’ve even had her teachers tell us that she shared a surprising fact with them or that she was already educated on a topic that she learned again in class. Nothing makes a parent prouder than finding out your kid raised her hand and identified Judge Ketanji Jackson Brown before being told.
I also love the section called “The Big Debate,” with topics like “Should schools eliminate gifted programs?” and “Should kids have to make their bed everyday?” which gives arguments to both sides of an issue and lets kids make up their own minds. It’s become a really great tool for conversation starters at family dinner.
At the end of each issue are always a few sections that are more interactive. There are puzzles, craft ideas, a recipe, and a quiz to test you on everything you just learned. In the back is also where you will find the “Charity of the Week”, the “Teacher of the Week” and reader submitted news items with inspirational endeavors like an 11yo who recycles her The Week Junior issues and turns them into paper cranes and an 8yo who sells her artwork to raise money to rescue tigers. It’s great to learn about real kids who are making a difference and opening up Harlow’s mind to all the good one person can accomplish. I can see her wheels turning every time.
Today, I’m giving away subscriptions to The Week Junior (which includes 25 issues) to five winners! Just tell me the news story that interested your child the most this year in the comments below!
Congratulations to Erika S, Laura, Angela C, Rachel C, and Natalie C. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to claim your prize!
If you think your family would benefit from receiving The Week Junior, you can try six issues RISK-FREE by subscribing today! If your child enjoys The Week Junior, you’ll get 19 more issues (25 in all) for $49.95—that’s a savings of 66% off the cover price, less than $2 per issue. Plus, your child will receive the Out of This World Puzzles magazine for free.
This post is sponsored by The Week Junior, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.