Wednesday, June 27, 2018

America & Our World: Summer Books & Activities

There are so many occasions throughout the summer to talk about not only our own country, but also the world with our kids.  I figured the end of June & beginning of July would be a great month to learn the letter 'w' as we focus on our world, geography, cities & capitals, different cultures, and, of course, American history.  I shared some manipulatives that we are using to study America here already, but today I want to share our favorite books and activities we are using to learn about our world.America & Our World- Summer Books and Activities- Life with the HawleysHawley Homeschool
I love a box of books arriving at my doorstep; not much better than that folks!  So I will start with the books we are using for this unit.  I found several of these "Who Was" chapter books at Costco (but I'm seeing them several dollars cheaper on Amazon right now).  There are many versions of these (and I may or may not have bought every. single. one.).  These books are great for history read alouds: the chapters are not really long & there are pictures.  I selected these to focus on this month.DSC_0389
For books to focus on your own country, I had all of these books already (except the two 50 states books, which are new releases), and I just needed to pull these off the book shelf and put into a basket for the kids.  I don't know what it is about Americanly, but it makes me cry every time I read it.  I have no control over my tears when I read it!  DSC_0390
I absolutely love the new State Capitals book; probably my favorite right now.  There is a page for each state.  On the page there are all of the major landmarks in the state, the bird, flag, flower, animal, & geographic location for each state with beautiful illustrations.  I love this one!DSC_0391
Since we are talking about the letter 'w' I thought it would be great to learn about our world.  We've already spent significant time talking about oceans, land, moons, space, etc., so with this unit I really wanted to focus on the different continents.  We're focusing on how many and where the different continents are, as well as what life looks like on that continent.  Who is worshiped? What do they do for transportation? What does school look like? What is the traditional attire?  I selected these three books to address those topics.DSC_0395
Additionally I wanted to practice some sight words for each continent, and learn where animals live.  Penguins don't live everywhere, so where in the world can they be found in their natural habitat?DSC_0392
Since I was introducing a lot of new continents and cultures, I thought the My Friend Puzzle would be great, and it did not disappoint.  For me it is important to introduce my kids to diversity early so that they are able to celebrate everyone's specialties.  What I love about this wooden puzzle, aside from the great matching concept, is that it illustrates that we are different.  Different shirts. Different shoes. Different faces.  Some of us have wheel chairs or glasses, and some of us have earrings.  This puzzle opened so many doors into conversations about differences.  God created us all uniquely & perfectly and we get to talk about and celebrate these differences with this puzzle.  Great tool for heart training, character development, & of course, differences around the world.DSC_0368
For the geographical aspect of the world and our country I purchased a few new hands-on items.  I purchased this globe puzzle where we could practice locating and labeling each continent. DSC_0382
I purchased these Geoblocks at the homeschool convention at the end of May with this letter 'w' unit in mind.  There are 20 wooden blocks that each focus on a country.  The blocks have something unique to that country on all sides, and then when placed all together, on the same side, the blocks make the world map.  The sap in me loves this; it takes all of us to make up the world.DSC_0379
At the convention I also picked up an inflatable globe. We will use this ball to pass to answer a question about the world.  I also pulled out our Question & Answers book about the World.  This is a book that specifically answers the who, what, when, where, and how, of our world........now that is a lot of 'w's'.  Brilliant, right?!  I purchased this World Map Learning Map and Wax Crayons, several months ago for this unit.  We're going to use these crayons to locate and check-off countries and continents.  We have several of these learning mats and they're awesome.  I highly recommend them.DSC_0376
For our own country, I purchased this 50 states magnetic map.  It comes with a paper map, and on the mat the capital is listed on each state instead of the state name.  The magnets have the state name and an image for that state.  If you have a beginner, they could simply just try to match up the shapes of the magnets to the shapes on the map, and later you can introduce the states and capitals.  Right now we're also learning the 50 States Song (the same one I learned in elementary school).DSC_0399
I don't know why this never occurred to me to teach, but the first time we practiced with the magnetic map I started talking about the compass rose and cardinal directions.....as if a 2 and 4 year old know what that is?!?!?!  Later during nap time I prepped some material to go over that the next time we pulled out the map.  DSC_0402
That is all of the new additions to our 'w' unit, and here are some of the ways we are using the manipulatives I posted about before (here) to practice fine motor skills, sequencing, size comparisons, & patterns.  For more ideas click here.DSC_0403DSC_0326DSC_0358DSC_0362DSC_0364
Phew, that's a lot keeping us busy right now.  A lot of seasonally relevant and fun learning this summer.  What are you learning about this summer with your littles? Have you come across or tried any products that might fit well into this unit?
xoxo Darby

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