Our Homeschool Adventure Blog

Chronicling our adventures as a small homeschool family with mom and dad both as teachers

Archive for the tag “geography”

Time for an update!-Geography Project

Hello friends! It’s been a while since I wrote! We’ve had a busy several weeks, part of which counted as our “spring break”. We spent about 10 days out of town while hubby and I worked at a conference for my job and NDEW had tons of fun exploring Orlando. Legoland and Animal Kingdom were BIG hits!

For this post I thought I would update how our geography project is progressing and has expanded. As far as postcards go we now have 109 cards from 43 states! It has been SO fun to see them all come in and then post them on our map. NDEW really has learned a lot of geography and lots of interesting facts about each place as well. People have written some really cool trivia and questions on their cards! We are still missing postcards from Nebraska, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Maine, and Delaware, but we’re hoping that we might still get ones from those states before it’s all said and done.

As we’ve been receiving postcards we had the crazy idea to request the free travel guidebooks from each state as well. As all of these full-color, glossy magazines started arriving in our mailbox we started wondering what we had been thinking! They all contain gorgeous pictures and lots of great information, but the chances of NDEW sitting down and reading 50 of these things cover-to-cover was slim to none. After all, they also contain a lot of information that’s not really interesting or useful to a 10 year old….like lists of places to stay, page after page of attraction listings, etc.

So after some brainstorming, hubby and I came up with a way to use the guidebooks that would not only tie into geography but also into math, history, and even occasionally science. Score! When we get a new state guidebook in the mail, I go through it and write questions on sticky notes that I then stick to the pages of the guidebook, creating a type of “scavenger hunt” for hubby and NDEW to work through together.

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The amount of questions for each guidebook varies widely, and I try to tie the questions into other subjects we’re studying, like fractions or types of rocks. Here some example questions for different subject matters:

Geography:
•What route would you take if you traveled from ____________ to ________________?
•What mountain ranges are highlighted from this state?
•What is unique about ______________River?
•What Native American tribes are found in this region?

Math:
•If you made 5 batches of ______________ recipe (recipe listed in guidebook), how much ___________ would you need total?
•How many miles would you travel if you went from ______________ to __________________ to __________________ and then back to ______________________.
•If you hiked 10 miles per day, how long would it take you to hike the ____________ trail?
•How many nights could you stay at ______________ hotel if you had $500?
•If you stayed at _______________ hotel for 5 nights, what would it cost?
•What fraction of the campgrounds listed on this page offer an on-site laundry?
•If you used the 30% off coupon listed on this page, how much would it cost you to get into _____________ museum?

History:
•What took place in ___________________?
•What famous person was born in ______________________?
•What was important about ___________________ (fort, battlefield, crossroads, etc.)?

Science:
•What is unique about the fossils found in ___________________ area?
•What types of rocks do you think are pictured here?
•What scientific discovery was made in ______________________?
•How do you think the rock formation found on this page was formed?

Other types of questions:
•What do you think the people in this picture are thinking right now?
•Go explore more about _________________ online.
•Go listen to and example of _________________ (type of music featured in article) online.
•Of all the points of interest listed on this page which two would you like to visit most and why?

We are still doing separate history, science, math and grammar lessons, but this has been a really fun way to learn a lot of geography and review some other things as well. Plus, you can’t beat free resources! Most states send along a detailed state map with the guidebook and several also send separate booklets and brochures on areas of special interest like national parks, flora and fauna, history, etc. A couple even sent along special kid-focused posters and booklets. All the money these state tourism boards are spending on these guidebooks is definitely worth it. I want to visit every single one after going through them!

On another note (because a few have asked me) I’ll share more in my next post about our journey to this point with NDEW and what we learned from his recent neuropsychology evaluation.

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Time for an Update! (With lots of pictures!)

Wow! How quickly time flies! I didn’t realize that it had been three weeks since I posted an update. Things are still going really, really well. Every day we grow even more thankful that we made the decision to homeschool. We knew that it would impact NDEW’s education, but we didn’t realize the impact it would have on our entire family. Our family is so much calmer. I cannot tell you how much I don’t miss the race to get out the door in the morning. We also have so much more time together as a family. I know that sounds like a “duh” kind of statement, but it’s true. We can do things together in the evenings, and not worry about fitting homework in or if bedtime is a little later. Our daily conversations don’t revolve as much around schedules, due dates, keeping up with paperwork and assignments, what money is due when for which event at school… Now we actually talk about what Nathaniel’s learning, leading to some great discussions. We see him extending his learning, especially math, into everyday life situations. Most importantly to us, we see NDEW’s natural curiosity coming back and his ability to handle stress and anxiety increasing. I don’t think we’ve regretted this decision once in the past two months.
In the past few weeks since I posted, we traveled to Pinehurst, NC for NDEW to be evaluated by a pediatric neuropsychologist. We have been working with this doctor for a couple of months now but he has been wonderful in sending us assessments that NDEW could do at home via mail or online. The last bit of the evaluation had to be done face-to-face, so we spent two days in Pinehurst finishing that up. The evaluation went really well, but we won’t have Dr. Franklin’s report for another week or so. I’ll be sure to share what we learn and a little more about what made us decide to seek the evaluation (and homeschool) when we have the report in hand, so stay tuned for that. One especially fun part of this trip was the stop we made on the way home at the Natural Science Center in Greensboro, NC. Here’s a picture from our adventure!

Science Museum
As for what we are learning: We still haven’t settled on a set curriculum and, honestly, I don’t think we will, at least for the remainder of this year. We’re still learning lots though! NDEW is still studying Colonial America but has gotten more into what day-to-day life was like then. In science we have moved on from astronomy and are now studying meteorology. We’re focusing mostly on extreme weather right now but starting to explore other topics as well. We’re approaching math in a couple of different ways. First, we are using the book G is for Googol and NDEW and hubby are going through it a few pages/topics a week. It’s been a really fun way to explore some new math topics. For instance, they made and learned how to use an abacus a couple of weeks ago. Here’s a picture!

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We’re also studying fractions, decimals, percentages and how they all are related to one another. One thing NDEW did was an activity where he had to put clothespins with different decimals on them in order. Here’s a picture of that activity.

clothespin math
In geography we are studying US geography and, as I mentioned in my last post, receiving postcards from all over the country. This is such a fun project and NDEW is learning so much! I think we have around 75 postcards so far from over 30 states!

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In addition, NDEW has been doing tons of reading. We are soooo lucky to have the ASU library as a resource here in our community. We go weekly and NDEW has already read several good books he got there, not to mention all the great nonfiction resources to use!

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Add in homeschool association music class, ASU homeschool PE class, skiing lessons, and Wednesday night church activities and there is lots of fun learning going on around here! Not to mention that we don’t have to take snow days…..Poor kids in public school around here are going to be going to school until mid-June, are looking at some Saturday classes, and are looking at losing a couple of days from their spring break. Yikes! Yet another homeschooling benefit for our family!

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