Monday, May 8, 2017

Meaningful Minutes: Geography, Part 2

The morning after I posted last week I thought of at least 4 more great resources for geography.  So here is part 2.

Barefoot Ragamuffin has a full curriculum but she has pulled out all of her geography readings and put them into the Geography Literature freebie (scroll down on the left hand side).   I found great books and authors I hadn't heard of before in her lists.   She also has a reprint of Charlotte Mason's Geographical Readers for free (you have to sign into Lulu though).  These are VERY basic but great for small tidbits of information.

If you want to focus on American geography you might want to check out "8 for each state".  A mom has put together 8 interesting sites to help you learn about each state.  There are some neat things on there.

Atlases and maps.  Of course!  My hubby found a HUGE atlas for $2 at the Half Price Book sale.  I always love a good historical atlas around.  Of course you can't really go wrong with a National Geographic Atlas. As you read, look up where things are.  You can also use wall maps (I got mine from Costco at one point).  I have used a shower curtain map in my class (really good for younger kids) and I have had fabric panels of the world and the United States which are also good for groups.  To be honest, we still don't own a globe.  Maybe that's what we should get this fall (they show up at Costco come August).

The Draw the . . . series teaches you how to draw places and continents all over the world.  If you want a place to start without investing - try blob maps (and here is a video series for younger kids to try it out.)

Right now my son is enjoying The Lost Art of Nature Signs.  It ties together geography, science, social studies and much more to help you understand how people used to read the stars, the land and more.  He is constantly stopping to tell me what he just learned - it is fascinating.

Peeps at Many Lands . . . this is an older series of books that gives you a sense of the land and history of different places around the world.  As with all older books you might want to read first and edit or discuss as needed.

Have fun with geography this summer.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Wednesday with Words: Nouwen and Staying Home

A while back I re-read Parker J. Palmer's book I only picked it up because on the back was a recommendation by Henri Nouwen.  I have thought about how Nouwen's experience - going from being a professor and well regarded theologian to working with the mentally disabled - is similar to many stay at home mom's experience.  Nouwen was well respected in his field and honored but he constantly writes about how working with those in an institution is all about being in that moment, being kind and gracious - they don't care what your degree or background is.  Honestly, that is what makes being a mom humbling and difficult.  I can handle a professional situation, make a great presentation, be an "adult" but my kids don't really care about that.  They care about spending time, enjoying each other, being in the moment - that's a bit tougher for me.  This clashes against where many of us have placed our value for so long.  I think this is one reason I appreciate his work is because of his deep humility.

A few weeks ago I was rummaging through the local library's books for sale.  I am pretty sure a pastor had recently dropped off his library because of the type of books that were available.  What caught my eye was a book of the hours using sections of Henri Nouwen's writing.  Fascinating.  It has about 6 short readings that are spread throughout the day.  The idea is that you can read words to remind you about who you are, who God is and what you should be about on a regular basis.  I just started with the new month.  WOW - it is going to be good.  I don't always read it "on the hour" but am trying to at least read it each day.

Yesterday's Vesper passage was what I needed to hear.  I have been called the "least stay - at - home" mom by close friends.  However, after 10 years I am realizing that I might have missed the boat in my ridiculous running around. :

Yes, God sees the hidden work and it is fruitful.  I need to remember this.

ETA: I got mine for a buck - who knew it would be worth $10+.  If you plan to use it faithfully it is probably worth it.  It isn't dated just Sunday through Saturday for four weeks.

See what others are reading a Ladydusk.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Meaningful Minutes: Geography

You might not think of geography as something worth pursuing - you can always just look it up. However, it isn't just trivia - it speaks into history, science and much more.

Here are some fun ways to add it to your life:

Geo Puzzles - Get these for the summer and enjoy.  There is also one that helps you learn US history as well.

Holling C. Holling books - Often we think of geography as just knowing where things are on a map but there is much more to it and these books bring that to light.  Follow down the Mississippi, across the Great Lakes, on the Trails of the West.

10 Days in the _______ -  This is a series of board games that are fun and easy to play and teach geography at the same time.

Ticket to Ride - This is a bit more complicated than 10 days but is also fun.  My boys are constantly making up their own versions.   There are some that are other parts of the world and others depict maps during different eras.

Scrambled States -  This is game to help you learn the United States.  I think it is based on the book Scrambled States of America.

Halliburton books - I just recently learned of this incredible author.  He was an adventurer in the 1910s and 1920s - flying bi planes through Africa.  Some of his books are fictional and some of them are his own adventure stories.  I haven't read them all so there is a chance that parts aren't PG and they are for upper elementary and older students.  

Flag Frenzy or Flags of the World - I haven't played these - but if your kids are flag fans this might be a fun way to tie it to geography.

Montessori also has a World Map and Flag that could be a great combination.

You could also spend time considering the explorers and follow their exploits around the world.  Here is one book to get you started.   If you enjoy eating - you can try a fun take like Eat Your Way Around the World. A few weeks ago I mentioned Give Your Child the World which has stories from around the world.  

If you are a AAA member you can get free maps from your local office.  Consider getting out a map if you are going on a trip and having your kids follow along - instead of just listening to Siri tell you to turn right and left.  Try the old fashioned way!

I won't mention Risk - I don't want to bring that game into your home (ha ha).  I am positive there are other great resources out there.  I hope that this summer you will find ways to make geography fun.  I haven't really even touched on all of the physical geography and exciting exploits like Mount Everest.