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."


Phyllis said...

They are quite beautiful. I love the way they are painted. Something to be very proud of.

Christina Parker Brown said...

This is an awesome post! I have used Core 5 and with your craftiness, you will have a blast. We only used the EHE for the journey jots and the map to make a lap book for each country. i let them copy the map answers onto the blank map and we glued this on their lap books. We ate at a restaurant for each country and went to a local Russian food store for that country and would glue in the menu and sometimes chopsticks and pictures of them eating for the lapbooks too, We all ate Korean for the first time. It was a great experience. For the maps we used white glitter for ice in Antarctica; glued sand for desserts; rice for rice fields in China and aluminum for the DMZ
in Korea etc....
We ditched the World Book as reading on line wasn't working but was fun for the girls to just look at on their own. I got books at the library to read in its place:
Enchantment of the world series is good, counting in _______
(Japanese- had several countries), How to cook in ______ and other
books about each country that we got from the library. I used with a 5th and 3rd grader at the time. The library is a wonderful free
resource for this. I read all of these aloud plus the read a loud
readers. My girls went to a free yoga class during India and loved it. Make a Sari out of cloth scraps and glue onto a paper cut out doll for the lapbook/notebooks. See what is in your town when you do each
country. We had a blast. You can also called the department of tourism (or email) for each
country (just google it) and they will send you brochures, maps, etc.. that you can use for lapbooks/notebooks etc...
The EHE was just too workbookish and time consuming and I was really trying to get away from that. This was our favorite Core so far and we have been using Sonlight for
10 years this year. BTW, how did you find my blog?

asliceofsmithlife said...

Hi Ginger!
Thanks for "dedicating" your post to me :) This was a great post! Your girls did wonderful on their Israel salt dough maps! The pictures you snapped are great and it looks like they are having fun! We did one of Egypt last year that the kids enjoyed doing it:) Hope you are having a blessed weekend! Thanks for your email!

Kelly said...

Great Salt Map! Have you tried Tapestries of Grace? I bought it on HS class. at a good deal! It has a good amount of planning. About 1 1/2 each week but so with it for what you get accomplished.