Inspired by Confessions of a Homeschooler, I’ve been working through the 50 states with my kids. First up, we did Hawaii. We had dinner with my brother and sister-in-law that week, and the kids looked at all of their pictures from the three times they’ve been. The next week was Alaska (I’m going basically west to east with a few variations when needed). There is a couple from our church who live in Alaska about half the year, so we picked their brains on what life is like up there. The thing that stuck with all 4 of us the most? The fact that there are virtually no roads; you have to fly to get from city to city.
Our third state was the wonderful state of Washington. We started the week, as we always do, by having the kids trace the outline of the state from our huge wall map. We don’t have a wall big enough to display it (there are 2 that would work in the school room except for the fact that one has the windows and the other was painted to be a chalkboard wall by the previous tenants – and I’m not complaining! That wall is pretty awesome!), so we keep it rolled up and bring it out once a week for this activity. Once the state is pencilled, the kids go over their lines in ink and then bring it to me, where I write in the basic facts that I want to teach them within the outline of the state. They’re basically the same from state to state (except for Hawaii, because that was our first one and I didn’t really have a plan yet when we did it): Nickname (The Evergreen State), Motto (Alki), Capital (Olympia), Largest City (Seattle), Area (71,300 sq mi), Population (6,897,012), Highest Point (Mount Rainier), Lowest Point (The Pacific Ocean), and its Admission to the Union (November 11, 1889). Additionally, we put in the location of the capital, largest city, and highest point. In Washington’s case, we also included Mount Saint Helens.
Here’s Seahawk’s map:
I still owe them a baking soda and vinegar volcano to represent Mount Saint Helens. That’ll happen probably next week :).
We also worked on our “Fifty Nifty United States” song. Only three states in and they can already sing the whole thing start to finish! Since they mastered that so quickly, we’re going to work on the Presidents song that Confessions recommends starting next week.
I also plan to make a printout of the “Lower 48” and laminate it for each kid, cut the states apart, and attach magnetic tape to the back of each one to have them use as a geography puzzle. I haven’t been able to make it to Staples yet to get that done, though…