Tag Archives: geography

Geography Trifecta (3 great resources)

Geography Resources

It is not unusual to end up with some good review products that work well together. This year, though, we have had three amazing geography resources that have lined up perfectly! They work together, enhance each other, and all touch on slightly different  emphasis to really help learn geography.

These three:

How have these worked together?

Let’s Go Geography is kind of directing the study, as there is a progression of around 35 lessons, each on a different country. These focus on the culture and geography of that particular country.

With each of the countries, we are reading one of the If You Were Me And Lived In . . . books from Carole P Roman, if we have it. We were able to request for the review this year books that would go with Let’s Go Geography and we had a bunch on the shelf.

And reinforcing the map and flags we come to Continent Race. This game is a simple one that helps players find and remember the name, flag, and map location of different countries from around the world.

Geography is such a fun study for me and I am really pleased to have so many resources that work hand in hand.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Part of the round up with the Homeschool Review Crew. Click on the image below.

March Homeschool Round UP {Homeschool Collection}

Continent Race Game ~ a Crew review

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

Continent Race - a geography board game

Board games can be transformative in how material is learned when you get just the right one. Geography has always been interesting to me and to find a board game to go along with it has been lots of fun. Byron’s Games has created a geography board game that can teach everything from country names to capitals to location in the world, depending on how you choose to use it. And that makes Continent Race  such a good game.

About Byron’s Games:

This company is named after a young boy who was stuck in the hospital and got bored. He was challenged by one of the staff members at the hospital and he rose to the challenge. And he started creating. The result is Byron’s Games. Byron’s purpose with the creation of Continent Race was so that other kids in the hospital could play a fun game AND learn something while they recovered. I think he was successful.

Byron’s Games has a mission, too. The company gives back to several children’s charities to help other children through difficult times. What a big heart for a young boy!

About Continent Race:

This is a geography game that is designed to teach a number of things about the world. It comes with a large board with a printed and color coded world map. Byron's Games Continent RaceIt includes over 200 flag cards that are color coded to go with the map and have the flag, country name, and capital city name.

Byron's Game Continent Race flag cards

There are also 5 continent maps that are include larger, easier to read areas of the world, color coded to the larger map and the flag cards. One side is a map and the other side is a listing of the country names from that map.

It does include a page of instructions and rules for play.

Play is simple and revolves around collecting a full set of cards for the continents. This means that each player is trying to get either 2 or 4 cards from 3 different continents in order to win. For example, since Australia/Oceania has so many few countries, you must collect 2 cards from that continent. But from all other continents, you have to collect four flag cards. Once you have a full set for 3 different continents, the game ends.

Byron's Game Continent Race winning hand

Byron’s Game Continent Race winning hand

There are included options for challenges and upping the difficulty level built right in. One of the sets of flag cards is actually color coded orange and does not coordinate with a map. This is to challenge the players to figure out which continent the flag/country belongs to.

20200206_172745Other options for increasing difficulty or upping the learning? Maybe you have to spell the country or find it on the maps before you get to claim the set as complete. Maybe you have to read and spell the capital city. What are you wanting to reinforce? Make it a part of the game.

We used the map option to increase the challenge. Miss J and I had to collect the full set for the continent and then point out each one on the map before we could lay them down.

Byron's Games Continent Race

Byron’s Games Continent Race

Miss J’s Thoughts:

It was a good game. It is interesting. I like to play it as a school game.

Thoughts:

This is a fun game. It can be simple but sometimes simple is the very best way to reinforce or teach something. I don’t know about you but even though I enjoy geography, the way the world keeps changing borders, I don’t know all the countries. So, this helps. Additionally, as the Olympics approaches (hopefully it will be able to go on as scheduled!), this game can help prepare for those opening ceremonies where the flags are carried for all of the participating countries. Having learned many of the flags ahead of time will really make that an interesting ceremony and it will be additional connections in learning. That is what makes the world interesting!

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Be sure to visit the Homeschool Review Crew blog to read additional reviews on Continent Race  and reviews of the Connections Stationary Kit, a letter writing kit for kids ages 6+. Just click on the banner below.

 

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Continent Race - a geography game

Exploring the World with If You Were Me books by Carole P. Roman ~ a Crew review

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

Culture and geography from around the world helps us learn how similar we are to others and to perhaps understand a bit more about their lives. Carole P. Roman has chosen to focus on cultures from around the world with her series If You Were Me and Lived In . . . These books cover countries and cultures all around the glove and they take a look at the lives of the people from the perspective of the children. However, a variety Carole P. Roman’s assorted series exist and include cultural and historical books, bedtime stories, joke books, spy books, and more.

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Each book of the If You Were Me series hits on many of the same points: names, family structure, food, school, clothing, and language. But, since every culture is a bit different, there are differences brought up as well. Perhaps it is government or the how products are bought.

The books show the reader around the country through the eyes of a child in that country. Using the perspective of a child helps us see simply how life is and how different is not bad thing. These cheerful, bright books are always a welcome addition to the library and work beautifully as supplements to unit studies, geography programs, or history programs. They are good for reading aloud and talking about or for reading independently for fun. The only bad way to use these books is to leave them on the shelf.

We have reviewed books by Carol P Roman before and have enjoyed them every time. We have a total of about 25 of her books and cannot say enough good things about them.

Today’s review covers:
If You Were Me and Lived In . . . Brazil
If You Were Me and Lived In . . . Portugal
If You Were Me and Lived In . . . Egypt
If You Were Me and Lived In . . . Mexico

In 2016, we reviewed books on Ancient Greece, Ancient Roman, American West, and Viking Europe. Another time we reviewed the books about Mars, Mayan Empire, the Ancient Mali Empire, and a fiction story titled Oh Susanna! It’s In The Bag. We have also read books on Russia, Poland, and Germany.

We have used these books often to go alongside our geography curriculum. We have also built a study of ancient civilizations using some of these books. They are highly adaptable and flexible and add a unique perspective to many studies.

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If You Were Me And Lived In . . . Mexico: To visit Mexico through this book, you learn about fútbol (soccer), escuela (school), playing with la muñeca (a doll). Learning boys and girls names is fun when one of the names is recognized as a name of a friend. There a places to visit, like Chichen Itza, a Mayan temple from the past or an event to participate in such as Grito de Dolores (the Cry of Dolores). This book on Mexico did a great job of reinforcing what was learned in our geography unit on Mexico.

Miss J’s take on Mexico: I really liked this book because it was so fun and interesting! I like how it tried to pronounce the Spanish words. But it pronounced some of the Spanish words wrong.

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If You Were Me and Lived In . . . Brazil: Visiting Brazil through this book introduces the reader to Portuguese, the official language. Many interesting words are used and the pique the interest of the reader. We read about Carnival, soccer, the market and money, and different foods. It was so much fun to read about the foods that we looked up a recipe for brigadeiros, a chocolate candy, and made them. They were a hit here at the house and at the church (where we took them since it made a large number of pieces).

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Miss J’s take on Brazil: It was interesting. It was interesting reading about different aspects of their life. The word school didn’t sound anything like the word school in English. I found it interesting that they grilled meat on a stick and called it espetinho. They also do grilled cheese on a stick and call it quiejo coalho. I also found it interesting that they changed the capital from Rio de Janeiro to Brazilia. What I didn’t like is that you have to go all the way to the back of the book to find the answers to the questions they ask.

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If You  Were Me And Lived In . . . Portugal: As with all of the books, it begins with an outline map of the country and the capital marked with a star. Then we jump into information on this European country. This will likely be the next book we read together and it will tie in nicely with the book from Brazil as these cultures are linked through things like Carnival, Portugese languague, and some foods. (We are also moving straight into Europe for our geography program and this will tie in perfectly.) Of course, soccer (futbol) seems to link many world cultures, also. The rooster icon’s importance and the volcanic chain were both interesting facts to include in the book.

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If You  Were Me And Lived In . . . Egypt: There is a lot more information included in the Egypt book than in the Brazil book, which is wonderful. Grandparents taking children shopping, holiday like Sham-al-Nessim and how it is celebrated within the family (picnics, painting eggs, and eating specific foods), family picnics on a boat (felucca) all point to an importance of family in this culture. The length of history in Egypt is talked about, as well as the pharoahs and the pyramids.

Miss J has not read this one yet since we have not reached this country in the geography program we are using. But it isn’t too far away and this will be a great addition to the study of that country. I expect we will be making some of the foods mentioned in this book, also. I’d better get the shopping list ready. 🙂

Some features of the books in this series include:

20200306_112033– a glossary or pronunciation guide at the back that helps answer the questions asked throughout the books and gives a pronunciation and explanation of words

20200306_111920– photographs with drawn images over the top to help relate the picture of a particular place to the people in the book

20200306_112020– a simple map of the country with the capital marked

20200306_112004– drawn images that help illustrate what is being described; in this case, different foods.

Final Thoughts:

Carol P Roman does a good job with introducing many cultures and countries through the series If You Were Me And Lived In. . . Some of the books contain a good deal of information and some have quite a bit less. The introduction and personalization they provide for each country is super helpful and allows children to connect. Having the information presented through the eyes of a child is a solid foundation for other children being able to relate.

We do recommend these books for anyone studying world cultures or planning to visit different countries, whether virtually online or in person.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Be sure to hop over to the Homeschool Review Crew to read the reviews of other families who also read books by Carol P Roman. Just click on the banner below.

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Travel the World with Let’s Go Geography ~ a Crew review

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

Lets Go Geography online class

Geography is often a missing part of study yet it is one I find fascinating. Let’s Go Geography is a company that has created a spell-binding curriculum to help students travel the world without leaving the comfort of their couch. Let’s Go Geography, Year 2 is the second of a three year program that is designed to take the student through most of the countries in the world.

3 year listing

Carol Henderson is the lady behind the label of Let’s Go Geography. She created a simple to use program that works well for students grades K-5, though it would be easily adaptable for both younger or older students. This online homeschool geography curriculum incorporates many different styles of learning and activities that will appeal to all different learners. From mapwork to crafts, from videos to writing, this program has a bit of everything. Well, adding a recipe for each country would be fantastic but there is a bit of everything else.

When you log into the site for your course, you will see all of the years that you have access to. As you can see, we have access to both Year 1 and Year 2, since we reviewed Year 1 a while back. There is also a short teacher’s course that has some helpful tips. Each of the boxes indicates progress. You can see that the teacher’s course shows completed while the Year 2 Semester 1 box shows progress about halfway through. Year 1 was completed but the website has been revamped since then so it doesn’t show that here.

Semester Access Page with arrows

Click on year and semester you want to access and it will take you to a list of all of the lessons. Each lesson is for a different country, except for in the US where it has been broken up into sections of the country. Clicking on the lesson you want take you to a lesson page and you click on the download link. It opens a PDF which includes all of the needed pages and links for the country.

lesson list

We began at the beginning, creating a travel cover for the 3 ring travel binder where we are keeping the lessons and reviewing the continents. From there, we moved into the countries. Each country’s PDF follows the same set-up making it simple for the parent/teacher.

Jamaica lesson

There is information on the country, its map, information and questions such as neighboring countries, bodies of water, and the capital city. The student marks the country on a continent map and has a country map to study and observe. The students can create a flag for the country and add it to a map.

Next the student is given links to music of the country including the national anthem. These links are active and most go to a safe YouTube site. The ones that do not go to a safe YouTube page are noted as such. The student listen to the national anthem and often see images of the country at the same time. There is also another piece of music to listen to. Sometimes it has been students dancing a native piece of music and other times it has been a folk song. These are good representations of the area being studied.

In the fourth part, the students are exploring the country. This includes foods eaten or sold, agriculture, history, landmarks, important people or places, and other unique things about the country. This is done through text, images, and videos. Again, these video links generally take the student to a safe YouTube page.

With my 5th grader, this is an area where we have been modifying the program a bit. When she finds something interesting or has a question about it, we take a break from the program and hit the internet for further information. When she saw the video about making sombreros for Mexico, we had a discussion about it and she looked up more information. She did the same for a bird that she thought was interesting and a volcano she read about and saw video on. This program is ideal for these types of investigations.

The final section is a coloring page and featured craft. The coloring page has some information about why the image for the page was chosen, such as soccer players for countries where that is a common activity to information on the lizard that is on the page. There is also a craft if the student chooses to do it. These include painting mountains for the western US or making a sunset collage for the southwestern US to making a tissue paper hummingbird for Jamaica or a colorful parrot for Honduras.

We are happily flying around the globe with Let’s Go Geography. We can easily cover two to three countries per week working with an older student. When we covered Year 1, we were not moving quite so quickly and covered about one country per week. This is just another benefit of the program – flexibility! You can move at the pace your family needs and you can start at whatever country you might be interested in.

This is a program that we waited eagerly for Year 2 to be released and I hope that when Year 3 is finished, Miss J is still interested because this program teaches to her strengths so well. Let’s Go Geography has such an easy preparation for each lesson that I can’t imagine anything else being such a great fit for both the learner and the teacher. This is one we highly recommend.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Please visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read the reviews of other families who have been using Let’s Go Geography, Year 2. You can click on the banner below to visit that post.

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50 States Study for upper elementary

50 States Study

We have been going through the 50 states, learning them and learning a bit about them this fall with our upper elementary student. She did the states a few years ago and she has worked some on Texas history and US history, but knowing the names and placements of all 50 states is something we desire for her to learn. So, we tackled it this year. And she is doing super well.

50 states activity notebook

The weekly plan includes working through two of the states from the USA Bundle that we received from The Crafty Classroom. We are using the National Geographic book titled Our Fifty States. It includes beautiful pictures of each state, giving all of the information needed to complete the page for that state in the printable from the bundle. We are also playing a game or two each week or doing a puzzle of the states.

Make A State

Games that we have used include the Name That State Game from the Make-A-State Activity-Pak by Home School In The Woods. We have also used the Stack the States game, available on Kindle. There is a US history game that we have called American Trivia. It includes bits and pieces about the states so we have included it a couple of times.

Puzzles that we have include a cling film one that can go up on a window, a 100 piece puzzle with images of all the states and their main economic item, and a magnetic one where each piece is one state. We also have a table cloth that is a picture of all the states and I try to put it on the table every few weeks. (This was a fabulous project a few years ago when we were studying the states. We got glittery paint and marked where all of our family members lived. Great geography lesson for younger students.)

And, if you don’t know the song, Fifty Nifty is a great song for learning all of the 50 states in alphabetical order. With a catchy tune, it can be learned fairly quickly and will stick forever in your brain. I used it when I taught elementary music and by the time my students left first grade, every one of them knew all of the states in order. Music is a great tool!

With so many easy to use tools, perhaps your study of the states will be easy and fun. Also, check out a previous post about learning the states. It has quite a few hands on projects and a list of books. Some of the materials are duplicated here but these are some resources that we didn’t necessarily have back then.

Blessings,
Lori

50 States Study for upper elementary

Inner Space Cavern

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To start off our “new year”, we did many of our norms – took the day off, made grade level signs and took pictures, had a fun breakfast (see this on our Instagram account), and enjoyed the leisurely day. But we also took a field trip on day two. We went to Austin for some items we had to pick up and on the way back, we made a stop at Inner Space Cavern.

This cavern is found right alongside I-35. In fact, it was discovered because of the construction of the interstate. When they were drilling as part of building the road, they punctured the cavern and lost the drill bit. They actually punctured it 8 time, I think they said. One of the men decided he had to get the drill bit back and a geologist rode the giant drill down into the cavern with a tiny little light to find the bit. He also found some amazing formations. Of course, they looked completely different to him, probably, with only a small light and not the beautiful lighting they have in there now. But still, it was probably stunning to him to see the giant cavern.

It is interesting to stand in the quiet and hear the rumbling of the vehicles overhead on the interstate. At one point, the guide turns all the lights off and you get to absorb the absolute darkness. It is so interesting. The tour we took was about an hour and we had a fabulous tour guide. He knew the history of the cave and a large amount of the scientific information to go along with it. He added his own humor and entertained questions of all sorts from my chatty youngest. She kept up to the front of the tour group and chatted with him for a large part of the time. She asked all sorts of questions and he did a good job answering them (at least from my perspective at the back with my oldest).

All three girls seemed to really enjoy the outing but I know from hanging out with the oldest at the back that she was thoroughly pleased that we had stopped and taken the tour. In fact, she is begging to come back and do the hardest tour, where they strap a light on you and you go spelunking in tiny crevices and your light is the only source. It is definitely off the main path and is not a very big group, thus the much higher price point than the tour we took yesterday.

The formations we got to see were just beautiful. They were interesting and hearing about how they form and grow was just as enjoyable as it has been since I was a child. Learning about the number of animals whose bones were found in the cavern was interesting and it was neat to see the drawings that had been created on a retaining wall. There was a giant sinkhole that had formed and that was interesting to see the evidence of, also. Some of the bones had been taken up to the visitor’s center and were on display there. Most, though, as still down in the cavern, as exposure to air and moisture disintegrates them very quickly since they have not had the compression necessary to fossilize them.

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Another really interesting part was the room where we were shown flint forming on the ceiling. The flint looked totally different on the outside but when it was cut open, there was the tell-tale color of black. That was really interesting to see in a natural setting.

The rough patches on the smooth rock are the flint beginning to form. To the left of that, there are some large, almost tooth-shaped rocks with a lot of rough rock below it. That is the exposed fault line.

The rough patches on the smooth rock are the flint beginning to form. To the left of that, there are some large, almost tooth-shaped rocks with a lot of rough rock below it. That is the exposed fault line.

In that same room, he showed us the evidence of the Balcones Fault line. It is the only fault running through Texas and has had its top layers of rock interlock like strong legos. It is so strong, the guide said, that we would be safer under the fault line in the cavern than above it were an earthquake to hit. The interlocked rocks would hardly move! And we were able to see that fault line and broken rock from when it shook many, many, many years ago. Really fascinating.

Inner Space Cavern is not quite as large as Carlsbad, which I have posted about on from 2017 and 2013, but it is just a beautiful cave and is privately operated. I am so glad we stopped to check it out.

Edit to add: A blogger contacted me to let me know she had a fairly thorough unit study to go along specifically with Inner Space but really, guys, it looks like it would work great for all caves. You can find it on her blog Waco Mom.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Crafty Classroom USA Bundle ~ a Crew review

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When the USA Activity Bundle Pack came up for review this year from Crafty Classroom, I knew it was a product I wanted to use. It is a fun way to approach learning about the United States. The bundle includes three PDF files:Screenshot 2019-07-17 at 12.45.08 PM

  1. USA State Birds
  2. USA 50 State Mazes
  3. USA Activity Pack

50 state mazes

USA 50 STATE MAZES

20190629_151857This file includes one maze for each of the 50 states. The maze is in the shape of the state. In the process of working through the maze, the student views the shape of the state and can become more familiar with it. Each maze is challenging yet fun. I do believe that the size at which you print these will make a difference in the challenge level. I printed them at half-size, two to a page and made a booklet out of it. This definitely added to the challenge of the mazes but it was fine for my 10 year old.

50 state birds

USA STATE BIRDS

The realistic art cards for the state birds includes a picture of the birds that are the symbol of a state (so less than 50 since several are shared by states), space to write facts about the bird or describe the bird, and a set of small cards with the name of the bird on one and the picture of the bird on the other. I again printed this half-size and made it into a booklet. I am not fully happy with this version of it. The writing lines are a better size for Miss J at this size but it makes it harder to color the bird with all its markings. Also, in a booklet form, we cannot cut the smaller cards out to use in a matching game. Miss J really wants me to take this to a printer and have it printed in color for the matching cards.

50 states activity notebook

USA STATE-BY-STATE ACTIVITY NOTEBOOK

This PDF file contains one page for each of the 50 states. Each page asks the student to identify several symbols for the state. There are several activities for each state.20190710_153706

  • a flag to color
  • a place to color the state on a map of the US
  • a map of the state to mark the capital, rivers, lakes, and mountains (if desired)
  • a place to mark the state abbreviation, the state # of when it joined the union, it’s nickname, the state bird name, and the state flower name
  • a picture of the state bird to color
  • a picture of the state flower to color
  • lines to write a fact or two about the state

We pulled a book about the 50 states off of our shelf to use with this activity. Each state has it’s own few pages so it works easily.

The State-by-State Activity Notebook also includes two games at the end of the file. One is USA Bingo and there are several bingo boards to print and use. The other game is Roll Across America, a board game where you would roll a die and move a certain number of spaces. You will need to provide the markers for the bingo game and the die and pieces for the board game. Both games provide variations to learning the states and/or capitals and facts about the states. These would be fun games to have printed out larger than I printed the rest of the file.

We have been using the program informally this summer. Every few days Miss J will pick up one of the booklets and work for a bit on it. She has really enjoyed the mazes. She has done several at one sitting a few times. She has also enjoyed the USA State-By-State Activity Notebook. She spent quite a bit of time working on each state that she has completed. I have allowed her to skip the writing part since we are being informal this summer.

I do plan to use these a bit more formally when we start school in a few weeks. I plan to have her complete three states per week, completing the page in USA State-By-State (include the fact writing), doing the maze if it is not already done, and completing the page in the bird book (if it isn’t already done since some of the states have the same state bird).

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Miss J’s thoughts:

I like this, even though I am not really far. I really like the mazes. The state facts were really fun. It was kind of helpful having a book to do it with. It would have been harder without the book. I really liked the birds and flowers and stuff. There wasn’t really enough space for me to write a fact about the state because there were so many facts to choose from. It would be wise to add another page to the state of just lines to write facts on.

My Thoughts:

This is a neat set to use to highlight the US. We had planned to take a trip this summer through several states and I was going to use this for her in each state we entered. (Plans change when home air conditioners need a major repair, though.) As far of the use this fall, I am going to have her trace our Mega Field Trip from last fall and find each of those states.

This is a neat set that has so many possibilities. There is a lot that could be done with it and it can be adjust and modified to fit the age you are working with and the need you have.

A couple of years ago, we reviewed another product from Crafty Classroom – their paragraph writing program titled How To Write A Paragraph. There are lots of other products available so be sure to visit the shop.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Be sure to visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read about other products from Crafty Classroom that were being used for summer learning. The products include:

R.E.A.D. Curriculum Notebook K
R.E.A.D. Curriculum Notebook Gr. 1
Interactive Math Curriculum Notebook K
Alphabet Letter of the Week Curriculum Notebook
Bible Letter of the Week Curriculum Notebook
Sight Word of the Week Program
Pattern Block Activity Bundle
Fables & Tales
USA Activity Bundle Pack

Click on the banner below to go to the link up for Crafty Classroom.

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New Mexico Bucket List – K ~ Blogging Through the Alphabet

Blogging Through The Alphabet K vertical image

Today, we are going to look at three different K-named sites.

First up –

Kasha- Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument

K Kasha katewe rocks

This national monument is located a bit north of Albuquerque but south of Santa Fe. It is a natural site that features cone-shaped tent rock formations. These formations are the result of volcanic explosions long ago in the Jemez volcanic field. (Remember the Jemez Springs post last week?) These formations are made up of pumice, ash, and tuff that are protected on the top by boulder caps.

There are two different hiking trails, of differing levels. The tent rock formations are beautiful but so are the slot canyons. The layers of rock are stunning. Take a look at the video to see more.

In addition to the rock formations and hiking, there are bird watching opportunities and unique opportunities for geologic observations and study. There are junior ranger activities available at this site. The BLM site for Kasha-Katuwe has some teacher and student educational materials available, also.

Kneeling Nun 

This is the rock formation that is found above the copper mine coming up next. It is so named because the Apache Indians thought this formation looked like a kneeling nun. There is a local legend that talks about how the rock formation came to be. When Coronado and his men were looking for gold, they had a run-in with native people and many were wounded. The wounded were brought to the monastery that had been built. One of the nuns caring for the wounded fell in love, which was punishable by death. She prayed instead to be turned into stone and that was granted.

Kennecott’s Santa Rita Copper Mine

This one is the complete opposite of the tent rocks we just discussed. This is a large open mine that has been in continuous operation since the 1800s. There used to be the town of Santa Rita where now there is a large open pit. Mining of copper started with shafts and tunnels. Eventually, though, all that could be extracted in those ways had been take out so something had to change. Thus, the open pit mine was started. It is quite the site, as you can see in the video.

Here are a couple of links for you to view more information on the mine.

The Center for Land Use Interpretation

Only In Your State

Hope you are enjoying the stops along the way in New Mexico. I know I am enjoying learning more about my home state because even though we spent lots of time visiting places while I was growing up, and I have taken my girls many places, there are still lots of lovely places I have not been in New Mexico.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Blogging Through The Alphabet K image

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National Museum of the American Indian ~ Mega Field Trip 2018

Mega Field Trip - Museum of the American Indian

Another museum we visited in Washington, D.C., was the National Museum of the American Indian. I grew up in an area strongly populated by Indians. I think the history of these people native to America is fascinating – both interesting and horrifying. I have wanted to visit this museum since it was established. It was not open when I got to first visit DC so it was high on my “must do” list this time around.

The museum did not disappoint. It is densely packed with exhibits and information that helps each of us understand more about these peoples and their history. From artifacts to badly done movies and advertisements, this museum covers it all.

One area that we found fascinating was the artifact exhibit that showcased hundred of items. Each item is number and listed. There are electronic screens close by that you can touch to find out more about the items that interest you. Each item seemed to have information on where the item came from, the Indian group that it is associated with, how old it is suspected to be, and what it was used for. There were many items that were similar but from different Indian groups and those were interesting to look at and compare. We spent a fair amount of time in this area.

Another interesting area showcased articled that had been intricately beaded. One of the most fascinating was an American flag that had Indian group named embedded in the beads of the strips of the flags and the initial of each state on the stars. It is stunning!

We made sure to visit the floor that covered many of the different Indian Nations and their history. It was presented well and we went from group to group, seeing the difference in what they ate, how they dressed, the different ceremonies they had, and other things that made each nation unique. It was extremely well done.

There was a small area that had seating close to some video screens. Those screens were showing animated tales and legends from the Indian nations. It was interesting to listen to the legends and stories, to see them animated. Miss J was particularly interested in these tales.

The last part we had time to visit was the advertising and other promotional items area. This was a huge room that had every advertising thing that had ever been done with any relation to an Indian or native peoples group. From Barbie dolls, which the girls found interesting, to Big Chief Tablets, from motels in teepee shapes to drinks named after Indians, it was really a unique look at how our nation saw/sees these Americans.

One the main floor there are several examples of canoes and other water craft. These life sized craft were interesting and really help see how the area of the country the people lived in influenced their construction. This was also true just outside the exit, where we were able to see some crops planted and some outdoor ovens.

From the walkway up to the entrance through the exit and onto the sidewalk going away from the museum, this was a fascinating place to visit. I enjoyed it very much and truly wish I could remember many of the things we read in that building. It was stunningly created and displayed and a stop I would highly recommend.

Blessings,
Lori, At Home.

Indiana – By The Way ~ a Crew review

Indiana cover

By the Way is a fun and fact-filled series of books written by author Joy Budensiek. We have been enjoying one of the four newest books in the By the Way Book Series as we think about planning a trip before too long. Indiana ~ By The Way is the book we have been enjoying. The other new ones include New York City, Alaska, and Ireland. There are currently 10 books in this series.

Joy Budensiek began writing these books to help families have an interesting and fun way to discuss spiritual truths in everyday life. After hearing the startling fact that most Christian families do not intentionally discuss God’s hand in every day life, she created this series to lend a hand and lead the way for families. These geographically based books help parents teach a Christian worldview through a bright and exciting children’s book.

reading in the tent

Each of the books in the series is a hard-back book that is printed in full color. It contains pictures of the actual places and animals discussed, as well as drawings and other images to illustrate other ideas or things. The reading level is upper elementary and the book is about 50 page long. Each page is packed and we would read about 6 or 8 pages in a sitting. This allowed us to discuss ideas and talk about things that interested us. More than once, while I was reading aloud to Miss J (age 9), one or both of the older girls would come look at what we were reading about. Often, we ended up at the computer, looking at the places on a map or reading more about the place mentioned.

By the Way tells the stories of two children who explore the world around them, wherever they end up. Alex and Lexi find themselves immersed in the beauty of God’s creation and seeing God’s hand in the world around them. In the book about Indiana, they are visiting family at Thanksgiving. Their family explores the state and finds a lot of interesting places to visit, things to learn, and animals to see.

reading with kitty

Some of the fun facts that we learned while reading this book:

  • There are quite a few covered bridges in Indiana. And, we hope to see some when we end up visiting that state.
  • There is a lot of wildlife, including Monarch butterflies (Miss L’s favorite), cardinals (Miss J’s favorite), bats (reminding Miss E of a visit to a cave a year or so ago), deer, lots of other birds (more of Miss J’s favorites), bears, rabbits, and many, many more.
  • There are sand dunes! We know sand dunes from White Sands so it was interesting to learn more.
  • This state borders Lake Michigan and is MUCH smaller than Texas.
  • There are large Amish communities in the state. This was really appealing to Miss E and Miss J since it relates so well to another book series they are reading about a young Amish girl.

These are just the tip of the iceberg with what you will learn about Indiana in this book. It is so easy to extend this type of learning. Marking a map, adding additional animal research or sketching, creating artwork related to themes and ideas, looking up more on the plants mentioned (orchids!) and trying to grow them – the possibilities are as varied as your own imagination.

holding book

As wonderful as all of this learning about Indiana is, there is something much better woven throughout the story and the pages of this book – God’s hand in nature and life. Intentionally looking for ways to help the reader see God’s hand, Bible verses are woven into the story and into the lives of the characters. One of these places is when talking about the beauty of the changing leaves in fall and Psalm 90:2 is quoted. Another example is when they are talking about caves and bats. I John 1:5 is brought up. In the discussion about Thanksgiving and its history, James 1:17 is quoted to remind us that God gives so many good gifts.

By The Way pictures of book

In addition to this, the discussion between the adults and the children in the story models well how to intentionally bring up God’s plan, His hand, and His wonderful creation in every day discussions. Finding life lessons from God is modeled well in this series of books. In Indiana, we see this when having a thankful heart is taught. We see it when they are teaching about the Amish and they mention “Family and faith are most important to them. Anything which threatens these is rejected.” (p. 35) Billy Sunday is discussed and the adults teach the children about the worth of salvation in contrast to the salary he gave up. They also model this idea with nature – the animals are so perfectly created that the butterflies know exactly when to migrate, the bats know how to hunt, the farms are blessed by the rain and sunshine, and the variety of trees that exist.

By The Way books

This modeling is wonderful and reminds us of the important things in life. The By the Way series is fantastic at not only teaching about interesting places but in teaching about God’s perfect creation and our lives in it. Indiana is another fun book in this series. Want to know about more? We reviewed Colorado previously on the blog and have read the Washington book, also.

Blessings,
At Home.

Be sure to visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read about the other books in the series that are being reviewed this time around: Alaska, Ireland, and New York City.

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