I’ve been busy trying to sort through old pictures and post some of the different lessons and activities we completed last year. I wish I had started this blog up when I began my homeschooling journey but as it is I will try and catch up now with some of the more memorable projects we did.
The very first “loosely” structured unit we did was on geography. I figured it would be a good introduction for me as a homeschooling teacher since there is a wealth of angles to choose from. Plus I do know that pretty soon history is going to be playing a major part in our curriculum and I figured doing some preschool/kindergarten geography lessons would be a good foundation to build upon later.
Geography is such a fun way to begin your homeschooling adventure. There are numerous routes you can take depending on the interest of your child: you can discuss what children in other countries look like and wear, you can discuss native wildlife if your child is an animal lover, introduce food and art and music, etc. Since Mira harbors such an interest in dinosaurs we included a side lesson on the fossils and species that had lived in that area.
There were a couple invaluable resources we used for our lessons. First was a lovingly made world map quilt that Nanny made for the girls. This map is proudly displayed on the wall in our “classroom” but is taken down and placed on the floor for our lessons. There is a song by Tom Chapin called Picnic of the World that has become a staple of our geography lessons by helping get the girls’ whole bodies involved. Picnic of the World is a fun and fast-paced song sung to the tune of the cancan. The song is infectious and the only downside to it is that it’s rather short and doesn’t include all the major countries. But I made due by picking the first couple countries to study and making sure they were covered in the song. After my girls had their introductory lessons we let the game begin! I would spread out our world map quilt on the floor and blare the Picnic of the World. Without fail, wherever my daughters were in my house they would come flying within the first few notes of the song. As the song progresses we run around and around the world map and try to beat each other in pointing to the countries as they are called out. Needless to say we are breathless and giddy at the end of the short song.
Before I had even decided to start with a geography lesson I found a fun and educational lot of books for sale by Jim Haskins. I picked them up hoping to find a use for them in the future. The Count Your Way Through series is geared for older elementary children but I found them very useful to have on hand for reference. They are much cheaper to find on Amazon but this website has a list of books available in the series. The books introduce children to foreign cultures and languages.
Netflix was also handy to have as I could pretty much always find some relevant documentary or cartoon to expand on the lesson.