Geography: Our city and the beginning of Texas

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Apparently that’s what my kids had to say in my post I left open to draft………
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This is the famous round rock that our city of Round Rock was named after.  I know we’re very original, aren’t we?
I wanted to start teaching the kids a little bit about our local area and so we made a field trip of it.
050  We carefully crossed over as close as we could get to see it without getting into the water.  I promised the kids we’d come again in the summer when they could get in the water.  They’re kind of used to coming to this park and playing in the creek.  So, it was a little hard for them to not go in the water.
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Afterwards we spent some time throwing sticks into the river.  If you look really closely you can see Superman has a piece of string in his hands that is tied to a stick.  He found someone’s old fishing line and had thrown the stick in the river and was pulling it around.  Of course after he’d let it go and had wandered off I realized I should have gathered up the fishing line so it didn’t get caught on some poor duck.  The things you realize after the fact.

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And then they had to try all the places they could throw sticks.
That was our first activity.  After we learned about our city we started to learn about our state.

First we read L is for Lone Star.  This is a great series if you ever get a chance to read these, there is one for each state in the union.  I had this from back in my teaching days, and it does a great job of giving you some fun facts about the state, one for each letter of the alphabet.  If you have a kid a little older than mine than you can read them the extra facts, or if they’re little like mine just stick with the one sentence statements.
As I read the book I thought of all sorts of great day trips I could go on if I were doing this forever and a day long study of Texas.  This is definitely one of the advantages of homeschooling, as long as it is in my budget I can do as many field trips as I want.  So, I could take them to the Texas Ranger museum, or go the the Alamo, or the Dr. Pepper museum, or the Blue Bell ice cream factory (I was kind of surprised this wasn’t the b word, but I guess it does make more sense to use the state flower, but come one “Blue Bell, the best ice cream in the country,” what Texan doesn’t know that jingle?), and the state capital down in Austin.
Of those my plans are to go to the state capital, originally that was going to happen last Friday, but………  After that I’m thinking either Dr Pepper museum or the Blue Bell ice cream factory.  Many of the others are probably better when the kids are older.
We also read The Legend of the Bluebonnet by Tomie dePaola.  I’ll have a post specifically for that later this week.  In theory.
For more great geography ides head on over to Children Explore, Children Learn, Children Grow.
Oh, and this is the first post I wrote in Windows Live Writer, or at least first one I scheduled.  We’ll see if it shows up at 4:13 today.

Oh who are the people in your neighborhood?

In your neighborhood, in your neighborhood?

Anyone else remember that song from Sesame Street?  And, no this isn’t about community helpers.

About a week or so ago I took the kids on a walk.  Princess rode in the stroller, because her casts were still on (and when I say a week or so ago, that was when I first started writing this post on Friday, so it’s probably almost two weeks ago when this post is published).  The boys took the pictures I needed.

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Their job was to take pictures of the houses in our cul-de-sac.  They more or less got that part done.  They also got these shots.

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Mind you the bottom shot I actually like.

Well, then I took those photos home and uploaded them on my computer and cropped them to usable shots and printed them out on paper.

Then we cut out the pictures and glued them on to look like our cul-de-sac.  And we talked about how we created a map of our street.

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The finished product.

Next week we’re going to start on Texas.  Oh, and I forgot to add that this is a further expansion of our Me on the Map activities, which all started with drawing me (um, which post I am too lazy to find right now, and besides which I’m being requested to go watch Dinosaur Train with the kids, so I’m off to do that)

For more geography ideas head on over to Children Grow, Children Explore, Children Learn.

Me on the Map, my house

This post has been a while in coming. Why? Because it took me this long to find a map of our house. I didn’t want to freehand it. Finally, I remembered we had one in the binder we got when we bought our house.

So far we’ve only done the top floor. Here’s what we did.

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1. Send your kids all over with the camera to take pictures of the different rooms. Have them take turns, otherwise you will regret it. You get weird pictures like this.

2. Print off the pictures, I just used my printer, didn’t want to bother with going to the store to get them. Cut out the pictures and have a map of your house handy.

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3. Hand each kid a picture or two. To keep peace I made sure each kid got a picture that was related to their room, and then another they weren’t as thrilled about. What picture did they argue about most? The bathroom. *

*On a totally unrelated note, for some reason one of my sons decided it would be funny to urinate on his sister. His reason: “I needed to go potty and she was sitting on the potty.” EWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

4. Glue the pictures down, talk about where they are and such stuff. Have them practice finding rooms.

Now, here’s the game:

Use a button (I thought about being silly, and claiming this was my button craft for Mama Jenn, but really…..) and put it on your map (you can see it on the picture above).

Then have the kids run to that room.

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This was the best game ever according to them. Much better than the game I’ll write about later this week. Boring reading game.

Oh well, we’re one step closer to getting through “Me on the Map.” We still have the downstairs to do, but that’ll be next week.

Me in My Room

The next step after drawing a self portrait. We looked at “Me in My Room.”

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The boys room

I drew a rough outline of their rooms. And then I sent them off to draw pictures of their rooms.

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Batman did start off having a rough map of his room drawn, but then he started coloring. And coloring. And coloring, until he had a green room, except for the three red people that I drew for him. He wanted to have all the kiddos in his room.

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Superman for the most part got this idea down. Then he went into a neo-impressionist bent, is that what Picasso drew? Honestly I don’t know, and was kind of making it up. I guess I better find out before we start getting into studying that type of thing. Back to what I was saying. He started coloring it random colors, and it kind of reminds me of Picasso.

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Then Superman wandered around with his drawing all day long, making sure to show everyone this is my room.

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And Princess just kind of disappeared for a while, then showed back up again with a picture. Can you guess the color of it? I’ll give you 3 guesses and the first two don’t count.

Here is Batman’s end result.
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Here is Princess’ end result.
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And Superman has hidden his somewhere, and I have no clue where. So all you get to see of his is the little picture.

Join us next week as we look at maps of our whole house. This is kind of predicated on my being able to find a map of our house that’s useful.