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Sierra Leone West Africa: A Geography/Missions Unit Study Review by Nancy King

Kim Kargbo
8965 Brookhollow Dr.
Olive Branch, MS 38654

I think Mrs. Kargbo has done a wonderful job with this unit study on West Africa, and she is someone who has lived in Sierra Leone, West Africa. This study is for grades 2-6 and is to be used over a four-week time period. The objectives are to learn the demographics, topography, and geography of West Africa; to understand how Sierra Leone relates to the history of the United States; to see how God has worked in the history of West Africa; to gain an appreciation for other cultures; and last (but by far not the least) to learn how to pray for Africa more effectively.

Outside of the Internet, an atlas, and an encyclopedia, there are only three recommended books (with substitutes suggested if those cannot be found at your local library). The most valuable resource that the author recommends is The Sierra Leone Web, located on the Internet at While some issues in the unit are very sensitive for younger age groups (slavery and civil war), younger students can still participate by reading stories, using age-appropriate resources, coloring figures for timelines, and doing word searches and map work. Each week's study provides four days of activities. See the overview of the weeks below:

Week 1 -- Overview of Sierra Leone
This week covers "Sierra Leone in Relation to the World" and gives an overview of the country's geography and demographics. One of the activities is to use an encyclopedia and atlas to look up the location of towns, rivers, and the airport.

Week 2 -- The History of Sierra Leone
This section goes back as far as 1462, when the Portuguese discovered the land and named it Mountain-Lion (Sierra Leone). Because of the many important dates and facts, I would recommend making a timeline that could be hung on the wall and referred to during the rest of this study. An interesting topic is the Amistad Rebellion, and a biography worksheet is one of the activities.

Week 3 -- The Culture of Sierra Leone
During this week, students will learn about the people of Sierra Leone, including their culture, their dress, their food, their languages, and their belief systems.

Week 4 -- Sierra Leone in the 21st Century
This week covers the Civil War, the effects of the war, and the recovery and development. The author recommends reading "A Child's Story--Affected by War in Sierra Leone," which is in the Appendix. Recommended websites include World Hope International (, Mercy Ships (, and World Relief ( For the last day of the study, the author suggests doing a study of missions organizations that are working in Sierra Leone. Find out what types of work they are doing, whether it be planting churches, translating the Bible, or offering education and medical attention.

The Appendix in this unit study is like a pot of gold! There are so many resources, including maps, puzzles, stories, timeline images, charts, proverbs, recipes, answer guides, and report forms for research.

The main reason I wanted this study is because my daughter wants to go to Africa to do mission work when she gets older, so I thought this would give me some information. Not only did I get the information that I wanted, my husband used some of the information in his Sociology class in college, and my daughter loved reading the stories and looking at the maps. The money spent on this unit study will be well worth it. It will be an investment in a child's future if they ever decide to visit or work in Africa. I highly recommend this study!

Product review by Nancy King, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, November 2008