Weeks 3-4 United States

If you are using Exploring Countries and Cultures, please share your ideas with us.
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Weeks 3-4 United States

Unread post by Marie »

Weeks 3-4
United States
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Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 2:40 pm

Unread post by kellybell »

Of course, there's so much to learn about the USA. When we studied the US, I asked both my girls what part of the USA they would like to learn more about and they selected New York City and Philadelphia, so we checked out fun picture books on these cities and made sure we could find them on the map. Then, we designated a day to devote to New York City and a day for Philadelphia. Specifically, we focused on the Statue of Liberty, the building of the Brooklyn Bridge, Ellis Island, and the Liberty Bell. Lots of fun and the girls we excited that their interested were considered...
Kelly, wife to Jim since 1988, mom to Jamie (a girl, 1994), Mary (1996), Brian (1998) and Stephanie (2001).
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Unread post by mamax3 »

I think the food was the best part of this but it may just be because funny things happened to us the night we ate them.
Everyone loved the mountian trail mix and New England Pumpkin Cake. The American Southwest Amigo Dip was a hit too. However, when making it my son wanted to try 1 of everything before we put it in. Even the chili powder. He was drinking water for an hour.
Then comes the Southern Cheese Grits Casserole. (now my middle child loves grits) One by one each person at the table took a bite. I could see the fear in everyones eye realizing they were going to have to eat all of it (including my dh). I told them they didn't have to and they all piled their servings on to my 2 year olds plate who ate every single bite and wanted more.

The other great thing was we started the book on Cameron Townsend. My boys love this book. Everyday they ask are we reading about Cam today. My dh even like to hear the stories when he is home.

One thing we did was have a map contest. We would give a name of a state and the person would find it on the map. If they were correct they got a point and continued. When they missed it was there turn to give a name and the next person find it. The first person to name all 50 states won!!

Sybil, mother of CJ (11) and Damian (8) using CTG, and Brendan (4) using MFW K
Homeschooling photo albums- www.picturetrail.com/mamax3
CJ's websites- www.k-9kids.org www.freewebs.com/cjstudentambassador
Usborne Books- www.ubah.com/Z1131
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Unread post by lmjmann »

Here is a site where you can take a "quiz" about 17 states (all east of the Mississippi...) by reading a poem and then guessing which state it is about. After you guess correctly, it will take you to a page where it shows and briefly discusses the state flag, bird, tree, motto. This page is from the state quarters web site. We collect the state quarters and really enjoy investigating the event or symbol pictured on each state quarter - why it was considered to be representative of that state. Anyway - here is the site...
Laura M.
Laura in MO
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Computer game

Unread post by Jodie »

This is our first year with MFW & ECC and we are so excited about starting at the end of August. The ideas on this message board are so wonderful! As I was reading the extra activities for the US I realized my son has a computer game called "Where in the U.S.A. is Carmen San Diego". The concept is to "catch" a crook, but to do this you must first chase him all over the country by following clues given for each state the crook slips away to as you are searching for him/her. It begins on an easy level and you advance to harder levels the more crooks you catch. My son is 11 and has learned a lot from this game. He has had it for probably 3 years now and is still learning! I'm not sure if it is even available anymore but it is definately one worth checking into. There is also a "Where in the World is Carmen San Diego" that I think I will check into getting.

May all of you have a blessed year!

Heather (WI)
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Unread post by Heather (WI) »

(We completed the introduction weeks of ECC at the end of last school year, so we started week 3 today.)

We began our day with breakfast at McDonald's (a yearly tradition) , then came home and started school.

We did the "train ride to North America" (since we are on week 3), and put the "stamp" into her passport.

We studied the "Classroom Atlas" of North America and labeled the maps. We also read about deserts in our Science time, (and book basket), and then colored all the world's deserts on a world map.

We have the Leap Pad globe, also, so we listened to different music from the countries we studied (plus a few more!!).

And, of course, we read from "Window on the World" about missionary kids, and listened to th "Wee Sing" song recommended for this week.

We also read aloud from "Cameron Townsend" (missionary to Central America and founder of Wycliff Bible Translators).

So, all in all it was a busy, but enjoyable first day. Our dd really said she enjoyed it all, and that made my decisions to go with MFW and Abeka even more confirmed!!
Love in Christ,
Heather (WI)
MFW user since 2004:
and starting Ex-1850 in Aug. 2008!!
Heather (WI)
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Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 8:02 pm

Puzzle & timer

Unread post by Heather (WI) »

We have a puzzle of the USA (with all the states separate), and use that each day to review the placement of the states. Today we even used a timer, and tried to "beat her score", which was really good at 2 minutes and 7 seconds!!

This has helped a lot with reviewing where the states are located.
Love in Christ,
Heather (WI)
MFW user since 2004:
and starting Ex-1850 in Aug. 2008!!
Heather (WI)
Posts: 49
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 8:02 pm

Patriotic songs

Unread post by Heather (WI) »

Another idea I had...

We are using a children's CD called "United We Stand" which has "The Star Spangled Banner", "You're a Grand Old Flag", etc. and other music of America. It really helps familiarize the kids with traditional patriotic songs.

We found ours at Walmart for cheap, but maybe your library has it.

Another wonderful cassette/CD is "Wee Sing America" for these 2 weeks. It has the national anthem and many other traditional American songs (ie. "Dixie", "Yankee Doodle", etc.)
Love in Christ,
Heather (WI)
MFW user since 2004:
and starting Ex-1850 in Aug. 2008!!
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 9:33 pm

Celery experiment

Unread post by AquaRubyMom »

We did the celery experiment a little bit early and just wanted to come share our results. My husband suggested we die the water colors. So we did.

Day one:
The orange water contains the celery with the xylem removed, the kids had fun helping me pull them out. The center contains no water (xylem intact) and the blue water also has the celery with the xylem intact.

and here is day two:

What is neat is the celery in the blue water, the tips are blue. The orange one appears to have shrank, but it really coiled in the water and the middle is limp, while the blue one is just as crisp as it was when we put it in the water yesterday.

We now want to try this experiment with white carnations and turn them colors.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever. Psalm 73:26
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geography songs

Unread post by joeann »

When doing the intro and learning the continents and the oceans, we found a song from "Geography Songs" by audio memory to be beneficial. We also loved the US songs from the same tape. Not only are the songs simple, fun and catchy, but they teach the states by location. Now we all know where the states exactly are--even the tiny New England states. The children ask for this tape to be played everyday and even point to the places as we are singing the songs. Our 2 & 4 yo are even going around singing them and it's so cute. Our 8, 6, and 7 yo are doing the ECC unit. It's amazing how much the younger 2 are learning by being around--even if it's playing in the next room. We love ECC and are having lots of fum!!!
chloe in MO

U.S. Map Quiz

Unread post by chloe in MO »

I have a 2nd grader and a 7th grader using ECC. Both enjoy doing the states and state capitals game at Funschool http://www.funschool.com/
Just click on "5th & 6th Grade" then choose "Geography" from the dropdown search box in "Category" on the left. There are many games to choose from. We are currently using the U.S. states and capitals games, but I'll probably use the world geography one ("Where in the World is...?") later in the year.
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Coloring U.S. map with four colors

Unread post by chloe »

We just completed the exercise in Week 4, Tuesday, "Color the States." It was fun AND challenging. Here's a tip: remember the "four corners" of Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado. (I'm assuming that they all border each other, even though it is a corner.) As I worked my way west with my 2nd grader, poor Utah was left blank! This is a great exercise.
Julie in MN
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Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:44 pm
Location: Minnesota

So many great experiences in the USA!

Unread post by Julie in MN »

We had so many great days in the USA! Here are some things I remember or thought I might contribute:

1. I loved Marie's idea of alphabetizing the states but my 3rd grader wouldn't budge on alphabetizing 50 words. So we compromised & did it in groups -- one day I gave him index cards of all the "A" states to put in order & copy, the next C's, D-G, etc. While doing this, I realized my 3rd grader benefited from working on alphabetizing the 2nd & 3rd letters of a word, rather than just the first letter. I also was glad that ECC encouraged him to actually write down all 50 state names, which somehow made them click more :o)

2. I loved Marie's way of remembering states using clues -- the 4 corners, the states bordering our own, etc. So we continued with "patterns" like that. We did the "pairs" -- Dakotas, Carolinas, & Virginias. And "shapes" -- Louisiana is shaped like an L, Michigan like a Mitten...

3. On Marie's recommendation to learn the Anthem, we used a cute little homemade curriculum I had from eBay, called "Third Grade Music," by Pfeiffer House Music. It had a little background on the Anthem, all the verses, & the child on the CD went at a pace we could keep up with! My ds was so inspired by the Anthem that his letter writing that Friday was verses to his grandparents, set to the tune of the Anthem :o)

4. Picture books on USA songs helped ds to visualize old-fashioned or long words better than my explanations. We found picture books on America The Beautiful, This Land Is Your Land, etc.

5. We combined the apple seed experiment & Friday cooking day. We used some book ideas from the MFW-K apple posts, & Marie's recommended "apple pie" book & activities. Yum!

6. Because the USA was such a big topic for us (especially during a big election year), it was comforting to look ahead & see some other things could be postponed. We had 6 weeks to work on the same geography packet, quite a few weeks this year on deserts, and extra weeks to complete the read-aloud. I just didn't catch on to that ECC secret at first :o)

7. GEOGRAPHY PACKETS: I also was comforted to realize the packets would repeat themselves throughout the year, so if you only get to rivers & mountains in north america, you can start with animals & islands in south america, etc. Some topics are a more perfect fit for some continents, anyways.

8. GEOGRAPHY PACKETS: A helpful site for the endangered species page is: http://www.kidsplanet.org/factsheets/map.html . Also, for my 3rd grader, it helped if I gave him the exact book he would find answer in -- he still saw that research involves many resources.

9. READ-ALOUD: Reading the Cameron book was not something we did regularly & not something ds asked to read. However, I kept at it & one day we read about someone meeting Cam, & ds said, "Wow, if I could meet him, that would be amazing!" I knew then that this book was radically changing his view of what a hero was! By the second missionary read-aloud, my 3rd grader was fully hooked on these books & convinced missionaries are the greatest heroes on earth!
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002+)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs
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Place the State

Unread post by lmjmann »

Here is a neat site that we just found. You start with a blank map of the US and place the states. It was great review for us!
http://www.sheppardsoftware.com/states_ ... s_500.html

(the site address is long - you may have to cut and paste the last bit of it.)
Laura in MO
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Joined: Sat Feb 19, 2005 9:26 am

Site for states and capitals

Unread post by LSH in MS »

There are several different levels if dragging the state is too difficult for your children. Also world geography games.


wife to Clifford, mother to ds (17), ds (16), ds (15, ds (13), ds (8), and ds (3)
MFW user for 10 years
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Extra resources

Unread post by mom2boys »

Hi All,

We have been enjoying our early start to the school year so that we can take off time when in Nov. when our baby is due. We are finishing up the US this week. We have enjoyed Reading Rainbow videos we borrowed from our library that go with the book suggestions - Someplace Else & Desert Giant: The World of the Saguaro Cactus. We also enjoyed a video from the American History for Children series called US Song and Poems and a CD called Patriotic Songs & Marches. And my son remembered that the intro. book that came with our LeapPad a few years ago has a game for finding the states that has been a good review alternative. As you can see we enjoy adding electronic resources - esp. videos! It gives me time to sit down and fold laundry or just put my feet up for a few minutes - these are all 30 min. videos. I love the way everything is all laid out for me in the TM - it has really put my mind at ease about balancing school and a new baby this year.

MJ in IL
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Joined: Sun Jul 17, 2005 5:23 pm

SOme nice supplemental resources for ECC

Unread post by MJ in IL »

We just finighed our 2nd week in the US and it was much more fun than I expected. Prior to ECC, we had done 2 years of US History so I was thinking, "US, again??"

Both my ECC children (11/9) memorized all the states with little effort...during book basket time! I had gotten a book- The Scrambled States of America- from the library and my 2 boys (the 9 and 6yo who is doing 1st grade) loved it and read it every day! There is also an inexpensive game by the same name I found at Walmart. This was our #1 find! They also enjoyed the links provided earlier on this thread.

Two resources I had here at home but hadn't used recently were a game--Onto the Desert (I have a forest one we can use later) and a large Lauri puzzle with the US states. There is no writing so they had to know the state. We picked these out of a bag and sorted them by region, or just put them in the puzzle.

It was so fun for Dad to see how much they had learned in a short time when we played with him! Hope this helps someone! Molly

Stone Fox

Unread post by momee »

Hi all,
my children would like to post some comments on the first read aloud we have done with MFW,
Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner

My 6th grader:
This was a very sad, but an action-filled one. I liked the ending, though it made my mom tear up. The most exciting part was the race, it kept us on the edge of our seats.

My 2nd grader:
My favorite part was when Willy saw his grandfather in bed and sitting up. Grandfather was looking out the window. Willy was soo excited and tears ran down his face.

Needless to say, we loved this recommended book. Thanks MFW for a great morning!!!
a very happy MFW user

Tall Tales

Unread post by momee »

Just read in Mailbox magazine about using Tall Tales to discuss some ideas of American landscape features.
Niagara Falls created by Paul Bunyan to give his messy daughter a much needed shower...

definitely is contrary to God creating the world, but thought it may be a fun way to read some of these Tall tales...and discuss God's hand in creation.
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Unread post by DS4home »

We have so enjoyed studying ECC this year! We have done pretty much everything as scheduled in the TM. I just thought I would mention what we used during the end of the day reading block in the schedule.

My youngest reader used a STEP into Reading book called The Statue of Liberty. Marie suggests using the TLP guides for older students using this curriculum, which I have two of. One dd read Where the Red Fern Grows using the TLP guide along with it. My other dd read Ann of Green Gables with the TLP guide.

I think it is fun to pick readers that coordinate with the country we are in. We have also loved a huge variety of books in the book basket list, several of which I ended up reading aloud to the kids!
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Song for Learning the 50 States

Unread post by ARMomOf3 »


I've been looking ahead to prepare for the upcoming weeks in ECC. This is our first year w/ MFW, ECC & homeschooling. I've seen so many wonderful ideas on the message board! We've finished our first week, and so far so good.
I thought I'd share a link I found to a song that I sang in my 5th grade music class almost 30 years ago. It's amazing that I can still remember most of the chorus, which lists all 50 states in alphabetical order. I knew my kids would enjoy it and I thought yours might too!

Look for the 'Link to the Lyrics!' right at the top of the page and click on the play button just below it to hear children singing the song.


There is also a link to a free downloadable US Map Puzzle on this site, but I haven't checked it out yet.


Kymberly in AR, Mom to Garret (11), Eden (8) and Darby (4)[/url]
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movie recommendation

Unread post by wifeof1mom25 »

When I looked up the Stone Fox book in my library, I noticed there was also a movie version, so we checked it out. It is a well done movie and very appropriate for the family. My son (7) was very moved by it and we had a great discussion about it afterward.

Thanks for the all the ideas here ladies!

mom to Levi (7), Delaney (6), Jesse and Sara (4) and Leah (3)
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Re: Song for Learning the 50 States

Unread post by donutmom »

Kymberly in AR, I also sang the "Fifty Nifty United States" song also in 5th grade!! I've remembered most of the first verse and have always remembered the chorus with all the states. We are finishing up with Adventures, so this will be appropriate here also.

Thank you for sharing this website, so my kiddos can hear it in its entirety (and sung on key!!)
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Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2007 8:00 pm

Facts about the United States - neat website!

Unread post by dborris »

I found a WONDERFUL website. Here is the description:

(These web pages will help you find out the basic facts of any state in the Union, including Washington, D.C. Need to know the capital of Alabama? Want to know which hockey teams are in California? How about the size of Montana? All that information is here — and more!)



Julie - Staff
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Unread post by Julie - Staff »

Posted by Jodie » Fri Sep 03, 2004 4:39 pm

We enjoyed the celery experiment this week. Thanks AquaRubyMom (or hubby) for the idea of coloring the water. We sliced the healthy, xylem intact, piece of celery to see how the xylem tubes were full of the colored water. Very neat.

Posted by Lainie Posted: Mon Oct 01, 2007 2:21 am

Celery Experiment, [/b]we also did the three glasses (one w/o water) and the two colored waters. In addition to the science part of it we talked about how water in the Bible is equated with the Word of God and how sometimes we can be in the "water" (at church every Sunday and Wednesday) yet seem spiritually "wilty". We talked about things that could be spiritual "xylem" that either enabled good absorption or if missing poor/ no absorption. Disobedience was the xylem that we agreed on that would prevent us from being "full and crisp".
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