A friend of mine, Robin Saylor, is an amazing mom to three great kids, fabulous wife to a cool husband and fellow homeschooler extraordinaire (and does lots of other remarkable things too)! I loved her recent post about Geography on her blog and asked her if I could share it with you all…and she agreed to be my first guest poster!! Thanks Robin!
I must admit – I am NOT smarter than a 5th Grader. That is, until I read the text book and give my brain a little refresher the night before I teach a lesson.
Seriously, I am learning SO much as I teach my kids this year. We are finally at a place where their learning is complex enough that it’s interesting to me but simple enough that they all understand it. Take for example history – fifth grade history text tells me that when Marco Polo’s dad and uncle first went to China the Khubla Khan sent a letter back to Italy with them to the Pope. The letter reqeusted that the Pope send 100 scholars, religious men and artists back to China to work for Khan. Fascinating. OK – still with me? What’s even more fascinating is that a few religious men did attempt to go back with the Polos but they freaked out and turned around a few weeks into the journey. This is cool stuff. Why don’t I remember this from grade school history? Then my mind wanders to the “what if” – what if 100 men had made the trek to China with the Polos – how would history has changed? Maybe someone (a-hem George!) should write a novel about that …
My point is this – I love learning. I love homeschooling. I love the education that we are getting as a family. I love getting excited about history and geography and then trying to spark that same excitement in my kids.
Somewhere in my surfing the net for homeschool curriculum I came across a brilliant idea for teaching Geography. It’s simple. It’s so simple I almost rejected it.
Here it is.
Once a month you do a puzzle.
For the younger kids you do this floor puzzle that emphasises the continents and the oceans.
For the older kids you pull out this 600 piece puzzle of the world.
600 pieces! The puzzle piece is the shape of the country for the smaller countries.
Larger countries are broked down into provinces or states.
Simple, isn’t it? Not easy, but simple.
So we’re on week one of month one. The puzzle is in progress. The goal is that by month 10 we will know the countries well enough that the puzzle will come together pretty quick.
Tomorrow we are building a mini-green house. We’re vermi-composting and we’re planting herbs. This is a blast! I’m so thankful to have the opportunity to take fifth grade all over again – I just hope that my kids don’t have to wait until they are almost 40 to see how cool this really is!
Thanks Robin…what are you all doing to help your kids learn…in and out of a classroom?? Please share!!