Thursday, January 31, 2013

Beginning the 50 States Project

We're off and away into our 50 States Project, even though I'm still not sure how we'll continue.

We'll call it a work in progress, then, I suppose!

I know that I want the girls to be able to pick out each state on a map of the U.S., and identify each state by its outline alone, so one day Willow and I printed out and assembled a giant United States map and duct taped it to a wall in the kitchen. When we begin a new state, the kiddos find that state on the big map and color it to match our Montessori map set:

When the girls have more states under their belts, we can add in weekly memory drills with flash cards, our Montessori puzzle map, our Montessori pin flag set, and Stack the States.

I want the girls to memorize the capital of each state, so they mark that on the map, as well, and add it to their weekly memory work. Willow LOVES the other assorted trivia of each state--state nickname, postal code, state flower, state bird, etc.--so they've been noting down that information, doing a couple of themed coloring pages, and adding that info to their memory work, as well, but I'm not really invested in all that extra info, so we can easily drop it if the girls tire of it.

Where I'm sticking a little bit is in the fact that I REALLY like to include "living" sources for our studies--books, videos, music, etc.--and enrichment activities, but studying a different state each week makes for a lot of prep work if I want to include those things, and a lot of kid work, considering that we're only actively studying our state one day each week. I got around it the other week by having the girls make these Philly cheesesteak sandwiches with Matt over the weekend (yum!)--

--but I may have to resign myself to spending TWO weeks on each state, one week for the facts and one week for an enrichment activity. But even then, we didn't even get into the Pennsylvania Dutch, or Crayolas or Hershey bars, or the Liberty Bell or Ben Franklin.

A month on each state, spending almost four years to get through the country?

Or maybe I'll just plan according to what interests us? A month on Pennsylvania, a day on Nebraska? More time on states that we're visiting, less time on states that we're not? Skip around from Pennsylvania to Connecticut and back to Pennsylvania to revisit Hershey bars and Crayolas?

Maybe one day for the basics, and then if anything intrigues us we'll stay with that state, and if nothing strikes our fancy we'll move on.

And don't even get me started about how I SO want to take a field trip to each state, because I also love field trips, and also I'm crazy.


Tina said...

Wow, thanks for voicing my frustrations! I'm not so concerned about the states at the moment, but I am trying to figure out how long is a decent amount of time for each topic covered. As this is the first time I am trying to do a rough plan for the coming month, I am SOOO struggling. Do we cover volume once a week all month, once a day for a week, 2-3 times a week for 2 weeks, etc.

Oh well. I figure if she needs to know it in the future and I haven't done a good enough job getting her the info before she needs it, she'll be more motivated to learn it.

Good luck trying to figure out the states!

Oh, and if you make it out to Montana for a field trip, let me know!

julie said...

Yeah, I'm definitely seeing the need to start doing history more than once a week for a while--otherwise, we will NEVER finish up the Egyptian gods and goddesses narration project!--but then I have to figure out what other subject to cut for a few weeks, and we like them all. It's probably going to be grammar, since I still don't really know how I feel about First Language Lessons. Syd likes it, but I'm still not convinced that it's pulling its weight, academically.