In prepping to teach the Littles all things China next year, I have been learning a lot myself. Today my favorite thing about homeschooling is that so often while planning what to teach them I find myself learning things I didn’t know or re-learning things I forgot. In the case of China, I’m having trouble remembering if I learned more about it in school than where it is, that it is a communist country, and that it is shrouded in mysticism.
In my desire to teach the Littles ever so much more than that, I have found some seriously interesting facts about China that I wanted to share. If you already know them, forgive my ignorance. If you don’t, I hope you are as awed by them as I am.
1. China has been a cohesive nation for nearly 4,000 years. That makes the United States look like a baby, no? Imagine having a culture that dates back 4,000 years. Here in the melting pot, we have to reach out to our ancestors to find that, and often we don’t find any real connection to it. No wonder so many Chinese people honor tradition the way they do.
2. China spans five time zones, but the entire third-largest-country-in-the-world now runs on a single time zone (UTC+06:00). This is so completely fascinating to me. Talk about being cohesive. Imagine if was 7:51 right now on both the east and the west coast, not just here in the middle of the U.S. It would have gotten light way too early in Bangor, Maine, and wouldn’t get light until way late in L.A. But we would all know when to call each other without having to think about it!
3. We think of the Himalayas when we think of China, but nearly 1/3 of the country is covered in mountains. That’s a lot of mountains. Considering China’s size, that means about 1.235 million square miles of mountains. You read that right. Million. Whoa.
4. China’s topography ranges from rainforests in the south to deserts in the north. North? That’s close to Russia, right? And all that Siberia stuff? And there are deserts there?!
5. Not only that, but the Gobi Desert is the 5th largest desert in the world. That might not sound impressive until you realize that two of the larger deserts are polar deserts and so don’t really count. (Just kidding, but really, how often do we think of Polar Deserts when we think of deserts?) So the Sahara and the Arabian are the only two hot deserts that are bigger than the Gobi. In the same country that has 1.235 million square miles of mountains And rainforests. Impressive.
6. The Grand Canal, which connects the Yellow and Yangtze Rivers, is the longest man-made river in the world. Even more impressive? Parts of it date back to the 5th Century B.C. B.C! Whaaaa? That’s what happens when you have a millenia-long history. Your stuff sticks around and you keep using it.
I have always been fascinated by China. Now I am amazed by it. And I haven’t even started putting together the history portion of our program. Stay tuned… I bet this gets Really Interesting.