Jul 302018

Disclosure –  I received a free copy of Christmas Around the World Unit Study in order to write this review. I was compensated for this post, but I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.

It’s late July. What’s on your mind?

A. It’s hot.

B. I can’t believe that summer is almost over.

C. I really need to figure out school plans for this year.

D. We ought to do a Christmas Around the World unit study this year.

I’m betting the answer is probably not D. However, I know that Christmas always sneaks up on me. We have done a few fun Christmas activities over the years including Borax Snowflakes. But every year I think we should try to do a study focusing on Christmas during the holiday season. But I tend to think of that when it’s too late, and I’m already scrambling to buy gifts, bake cookies, and decorate.

But what if I did start thinking of that now? What if there was a resource that planned a Christmas Unit study for me?

Thankfully there is, and I was sent a copy to review. It’s Christmas Around the World Unit Study by Katie Horner.

Christmas Around the World Unit StudyChristmas Around the World is a a 6-week Geography Based Unit Study for grades K-6. It covers Christmas traditions in 29 different countries plus 1 lesson on Christmas Carols in a total of 196 reproducible pages.

There are 2 informational pages for each country. The first page provides text with information about the celebration of Christmas in the country. The second page includes a list of recommended resources for additional study. There are lists of books and websites that provide ideas to focus on history, home economics, geography, art, music, or math.

Following the informational pages, there are 4 additional pages for each country. For each country there is a coloring page and country information sheet. The other 2 pages include a variety of different activities such as word searches, writing prompts, matching games, and comparison of traditions in different countries.

The book is designed as a 6-week unit study with one country studied each day. Choosing that option, you could start in mid-November and study all the countries before Christmas. But there are many other ways you could use this resource.

  • Add it to your geography studies throughout the year
  • Divide the countries and have each student present what they learned at a co-op or other group
  • Study more than one country per day
  • Divide the countries by continents and study traditions from different regions spanning multiple years

I think I can cross one thing off my Christmas to-do list! You can too. You can purchase a copy of Christmas Around the World Unit Study for $26.97.

Now back to thinking about how hot it is.





May 052014

Have you ever wondered if Australia would fit inside the state of Texas? (It doesn’t)

What about Brazil? I’ve always thought it was smaller than the continental US. It turns out it’s very similar in size.

I have just been introduced to a fun geography website: OverlapMaps.com.

OverlapMaps is a very simple, entertaining, and educational website. You select a country, state, river or lake, and then select another geographical area to compare. With a click of the green arrow, a comparison map is generated.


Pretty neat, isn’t it?

The use of OverlapMaps is free so go and try it out. I’ll wait.

Fun isn’t it?

The website is free, but if you want to give your students a little direction, I recommend the OverlapMaps.com Activity Sheets. Right now, Educents has a special deal on the sheets. The e-book contains instructions for using OverlapMaps, plus 10 lessons that use OverlapMaps to learn about continents, oceans, countries, and states. It’s a good value at only $4.99. That’s 60% off the regular price!

*Disclosure: This post contains an affiliate link. If you purchase the e-book, I’ll receive a small commission from Educents. 

So what did you find out?

Will Germany fit in the state of Texas?

What’s the largest country that will fit in Alaska?



Jan 202014

GeographyVCFYou might be a homeschooler if…

Your family quizzes one another on what state their cracker or tortilla chip looks like.

Actually that probably makes us weird among homeschoolers.

We are a family who really likes maps.

Before we were married, my husband and I pored over a map together while waiting to pick up basketball tickets. For fun.

Whether it is a matter of genetics or environment, we have 5 children who are all interested in geography.

Here is Lizzie (now 7) playing with a talking globe.

Almost 12 years ago, my husband came up with a great idea for a family project. It took 8 years, but we visited every county seat in North Carolina! Here’s a video that David made to summarize that project.

I confess, we all weren’t always excited about that project. But it is a fun accomplishment.

Our geography studies are something that happens very naturally. We make sure to have maps of all kinds, for all ages.

Disclosure: None of the Amazon links are affiliate links since Amazon.com will not let NC residents be affiliates due to a disagreement about sales tax. I’m not bitter about it.

We love map placemats like these. (I recommend looking for these locally. I have found them at Wal-mart.) This type of US map puzzle is great for preschool and early elementary age children.

The talking globe was a wonderful learning tool. However, it was fairly expensive and it unfortunately doesn’t work reliably anymore. But, I do consider a traditional globe a homeschool essential. We also have this puzzle globe and this inflatable globe.

There are super geography apps available now. My kids all love Stack the States and Stack the Countries.

Google Maps and Google Earth are amazing tools for geography exploration. William loves to explore both places we have visited and places he’d like to go. David always studies the route before a trip and  uses Google Maps to map cross country courses and running routes.

Another thing that we have done as a family to study geography together is watch educational videos. We enjoy How the States Got Their Shapes. (Viewer discretion advised. There is occasionally some bad language. We also like season 1 better than season 2.) We also liked this History Channel series called The States.

Thanks for visiting for this week’s stop at the Virtual Curriculum Fair. How do you study geography?

Now, let’s see how other homeschoolers are Exploring Our World with Social Studies and Science:  (note links will all be LIVE by noon on 1/20)

A Classical Approach to Ancient World History for All Ages by Susan @ Homeschooling Hearts & Minds

Supercharged Science’s eScience Program by Kristi K. @ The Potter’s Hand Academy

Social Studies & Science Resource Lists by Chareen @ Every Bed of Roses

History and Science: Learning About the World Around Us by Leah@As We Walk Along the Road

Designing a Unit Study for History, Geography, or Science by Amy @ Eclectic Homeschooling

Virtual Curriculum Fair:  Social Studies by Joelle @ Homeschool for His Glory

Uncle Sam & You- Notgrass by Lynn @ Ladybug Chronicles

My Favorite History Books for Boys by Monique @ Living Life and Learning

Social Studies in Our Homeschool by Laura @ Day by Day in Our World

A Peek into our Homeschool: The Sciences by Brittney @ Mom’s Heart

Our Curriculum Choices 2014 ~ History & Science by Renata @ Sunnyside Farm Fun

We’re having a Social Studies-heavy Year by Debra @ Footprints in the Butter

Our Journey Around the World by Laura @ Four Little Penguins

My Favourite Social Studies Curriculum by Kim @ Homestead Acres

Raising Map Nuts: Learning Geography Naturally by Kristen @ Sunrise to Sunset

The Whos, Wheres and Whys by Michele P @Family, Faith and Fridays

Exploring Our World: Social Studies and Science in our Classical Homeschool by Sharra @ The Homeschool Marm

Time Travel Throughout the World {or History and Geography in Our Homeschool} by HillaryM @ Our Homeschool Studio

Virtual Curriculum Fair Week 3: Exploring Our World – Social Studies and More Science by Stacie @ Super Mommy To The Rescue

Why We’re Ditching Story of the World by Tauna @ Proverbial Homemaker



Dec 112010

My kids, especially the younger ones, are geography nuts. And though I consider myself to be fairly knowledgeable about geography, their interest is mainly because of my husband. His enthusiasm for the subject is contagious!

When I saw Passport to the World as a book available to review from New Leaf Publishing Group, I knew it would be a great book for my kids. I was definitely not disappointed!

Passport to the World is unique in its focus on the spoken languages. The book is arranged alphabetically with one language representing each of the 26 letters of the alphabet.

For each language featured there are:

  • Full-color 2-page spreads
  • A small map of the country where the language is spoken and chart of vital statistics
  • How to say Hello, Goodbye, Thank you, and Peace
  • Interesting facts
  • Photos of people and places

Also included are a removable “passport” in the front of the book with stickers to be used as each language/country is “visited”.  The book is written from a Biblical world view, beginning with the history of language at the Tower of Babel, and ending with suggested websites that provide assistance to needy children around the world.

This is a great book to use as a springboard for other study or to read alone. I can’t tell you how my kids like it because once I saw it, I decided to wrap it up for them. Shhh…

Disclosure: I received this book for free as a member of the Book Reviewers for New Leaf Publishing Group. I was not compensated for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

May 202009

Our last book club meeting of the year was yesterday. The assignment for this month was to pick any place you would like to visit and share information with the group. My daughter chose New York as her place and decided that she would like to make a lapbook and share it with the group. We have unfortunately not done much lapbooking this year, so I was happy when she chose to make one. I found this topic a very easy one to put into mini-books.

My daughter designed this New York City lapbook completely on her own, so you’ll see there’s not a wide variety in types of mini-books. But, as I usual, I needed to remind myself about the PURPOSE of lapbooking. The purpose is not in seeing how many neat books you can put in a folder, but is to summarize information that you have learned about a particular topic in a way that makes it interesting both to make and look at again in the future.  Or at least that’s why I want my children to make a lapbook. I did find pictures for her mini-books on-line and helped to guide her to some of the topics of the mini-books.

New York City Lapbook

The cover

New York City Lapbook


New York City Lapbook

Empire State Building Book

New York City Lapbook

The Statue of Liberty Book

Central Park and the Metropolitan Museum

The Chrysler Building

The subway

September 11

Inside flap open

New York Population Fact Book

Maps of New York – Inside this book are maps of each of the boroughs.

I was proud of the independent work that she put into this lapbook. There were several other books that she planned to make but ran out of time. We will be working harder this coming school year on not procrastinating but doing more daily work on projects.


Feb 032009

Last night my family made up a fun geography game.  All you need is a map of the United States and at least 3 people to play.  You can assign one person to be the judge and use the map to check the others’ answers.  Or, if you are playing with someone who is fairly confident about U.S. geography, you can just have someone check the map when there’s a dispute.

Here’s how to play the game. (All this is done without the players looking at a map.)

  1. The first person picks a state. 
  2. The next person picks a state that borders the first state. 
  3. The next person then picks a state that borders the second state, but cannot reuse the first state. 
  4. If you pick a state that is incorrect (i.e. doesn’t border the state or has already been called.)  you’re out. 
  5. Play continues until you run out of states. (You either have named all the states or get to a point where all the bordering states have already been called.)
  6. The last person to be able to name a correct state wins the game.

An example game might go like this:

  1. North Carolina
  2. South Carolina
  3. Georgia (this is the only choice because SC only borders 2 states and NC was already named.)
  4. Alabama
  5. Mississippi
  6. Tennessee
  7. Missouri
  8. Kansas
  9. Colorado
  10. Utah
  11. Nevada
  12. California
  13. Arizona
  14. New Mexico
  15. Texas
  16. Oklahoma
  17. Arkansas
  18. Louisiana

That would be the end of this sample game because all the states that border Louisiana have already been named.  This is a great game for exercising your memory 🙂 You could try to see how many states your family can name without getting stuck.  You could also add saying the capital when you said the state.  There are lots of possibilities with it.

We had a great time playing this game.  The older kids (5th and 3rd) were quite competitive.  Even my 1st grader was able to play on some of the states. I think this may inspire the kids to study their maps more.