This winter we are beginning an overview of the United States of America, as well as an informal study of our own state geography and history. Above you see our primary materials:
- Clear-view binders
- The Great Massachusetts Puzzle Book
- State Birds and Flowers Coloring Book
- The United States of America: A State by State Guide
- States & Capitals Flash Cards
- U.S. States Activity Posters
The notebooks (one for each older boy) will be divided in this way:
- Front cover: a blank map of the United States of America
- New England
Goal: To cover two states a week till we've covered them all.
Schedule as follows:
- M-F: Boys complete one puzzle page from the MA book; file behind MA section.
- On Monday: color two posters, one for each state; hang up in learning room.
- On Tuesdays and Thursdays:
- Present new state fact card
- Read about state in guidebook.
- Color state bird sheet; write capital at top of page
- Place sheet in binder behind appropriate regional divider.
- Color in state on blank US map.
I'm not requiring memorization at this point, just familiarity. So far this has been a fun and easy way to acquaint ourselves with the country. Next year we will focus our history on America from 1850 to the present and I anticipate a more in-depth study of US geography at that time. We'll also take time to learn about the Saints of America.
But this year, like every year, we'll honor all the national holidays ~
~ National Holidays 2008 ~
- Martin Luther King Jr. Day ~ January 21
- Abraham Lincoln's Birthday ~ February 12
- Presiden't Day ~ February 18
- George Washington's Birthday ~ February 22
- Patriots Day (Boston) ~ April 21
- Memorial Day ~ May 26
- Flag Day ~ June 14
- Independence Day ~ July 4
- Labor Day ~ September 1
- Patriot Day (US) ~ September 11
- Columbus Day ~ October 13
- Veteran's Day ~ November 11
- Thanksgiving Day ~ November 27
- Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day ~ December 7
I've been keeping ideas for celebrating each of these holidays in my seasonal planning notebook (the one where I file my themes and plans outlines). I try to keep the activities simple and family-friendly, and to weave in our Faith as I can, too.
Today of course, brings us President's Day, and many (most?) schoolchildren are on vacation this week. Our little homeschool is not on vacation, though we are taking today off because Daddy is home for the day! We'll hang our American flag and talk about the upcoming presidential election, and for supper I'll serve what to my mind are all-American favorites: old-fashioned meatloaf, mashed potatoes and corn, along with buttered whole-grain rolls. For dessert we'll enjoy little President's Day sundaes and then we'll watch National Treasure, a great family favorite ...
But right now I'm off to get the day rolling. I hope yours is a good one, whatever your plans!
George Washington was brave, we know; he loved this land we hold so dear. And when his birthday comes around, his noble name we cheer.**And Lincoln, who was strong and true, his birthday too, we celebrate. So raise the flag and sing the praise of heroes, good and great.
("Washington and Lincoln," from We Sing and Listen)