Thursday, March 24, 2011


This year we have opted to do Geography studies in lieu of History.  It has been "alright".  Like everything else I guess it requires commitment.  I was recently talking to a fellow blogger friend and we were discussing how we feel like we are always switching things up.  Another friend said she was a curriculum schitzo.  So Tracy...this post's for you.  Since you asked about me (not) blogging.  Here's you a new post!

We started out the year with AChild's Geography 1 and moved pretty quickly through it.  It was pretty good - almost as much a science curriculum as geography.  However, we started on A Child's Geography 2 - Explore the Holy Land and now my girls seem to loath and detest geography.  It is not all that bad and we have gained a lot of knowledge but it is certainly written above 2nd and 4th graders' interest level (well, even a 39 year old's level).  The text is very wordy.  I have even started going through and pre-reading sections just so that I could move a little more quickly through.  Then it always seems something's missing.

I needed a proverbial carrot to get them through it.

So I told my girls if they would get through the Israel material with me that they could make a salt map of Israel.  They took the bait.

I am considering trying Sonlight's Core 5 next year.  Hoping that will be a little more literature rich and less dry reading of geographical facts.  I don't want to repeat American History with my girls so soon and I think it is a little too soon to do World History with my girls (especially Lil' Bit).

So, do any of you use Sonlight and if so have you used Core 5?  I'd love to hear your opinions.  Because I've searched high and low online for blogs of people using SLCore 5 and I certainly can't find them.

As for the salt dough maps...We got our general directions from reddie0890's youtube video.  You gotta' love these good old boys...making salt dough no less.

First we sketched out a general outline of Israel onto a large piece of cardboard.  Then they painted in the Seas and River.

Then they made the salt dough.  Add equal amounts of salt and flour (we used 3 cups each).

Then add in a little cornstarch (3+ Tablespoons)  we found that adding more cornstarch kept it from being so sticky.

Then measure the water.  Err on the side of caution here.  You can always add more water.  Have your little sister start the mixing process while you do the laborious task of checking for good measure. 

Pour in the H20.

Now, have at the mixing.

Plop it onto your painted cardboard.

Spread it around and start forming any mountain ranges.

You can use a knife to cut away any excess dough.  They used the cut away part to add to the mountain ranges.

Let them dry at least overnight if not longer.  Then paint (we used washable tempera paints) the land mass and label.

Here they are after they have dried completely.

Not bad, I think.  I am so tickled my girls have a knowledge of Biblical lands and the places where Jesus lived and walked. I always felt like in Sunday School that I was completely in the dark about where they were talking about and we'd turn to some map in the back that had no point of reference.  It was always frustrating.  I think any time you can put learning into context everyone (teacher and students) are better off.  But I guess it is like a sign I saw the other day, "The Bible:  Great to read what's in it but better to know its Author."