Sunday, May 7, 2017

50 States Before They Graduate

One of our educational goals for our kids is to have each of them visit every state and state capital before they graduate high school!

I first began to consider this goal in 2014 soon after we first joined Classical Conversations.  With all of the study we were doing of states and capitals that year, I began to realize just how much there was to see and do in this country and I want my kids to see and experience as much as possible!  At that time I had also started following some blogs by fellow classical educators who were well on their way to accomplishing this same goal:  Half a Hundred Acre Wood (best. blog. ever.) and Pocket Full of Rocks.

In CC, geography is studied every year from age 4 all the way through about 13 years old.  The kids learn early on how to locate U.S. states and physical features as well as countries (current and historical) and prominent physical features all over the world. Later in their first year of the Challenge program, they learn how to draw the whole world from memory.  This knowledge will be used throughout the rest of their time in the program, in college, and beyond in a multitude of different situations.  Having a good handle on geography is important when studying the rest of the world, as it is an excellent framework to relate all other areas of knowledge to.

I begin counting states for each child once they reach about 4.5 years old, preferably 5.  I want them to remember their time in each (or most) of the states, so this means that my younger ones will end up going to multiple states multiple times over the years, but our first trip between the age of 4.5 and 5 is when they can start checking off states and capitals! :-)

In addition to visiting states and capitals, we try to visit sites that are a part of their geography curriculum (physical features such as lakes, rivers, canals, trails, mountain ranges, national parks, etc.).   We will also be traveling to as many places (museums, key locations, monuments, etc) that tie into the history and science grammar pegs they are memorizing.  We also listen to a American fiction and songs along the way.  The girls love learning and singing the songs created by CC Happy Mom (on YouTube).  She has a song for each week in each of the three cycles.

We'll be leaving Alaska and Hawaii to the later years so that these trips will count for all three kids at once, as I don't see us all going both of those places more than once, as wonderful as that would be!

Zoe's Current Count: 22 States | 17 Capitals | 8 Trips Total

Rivers: Rio Grande, Missouri River, Mississippi River  |   3/9
Mountain Ranges / Valleys: The Rockies, Sierra Nevadas|   (2 / 11)
Mountains (Specific): Mt. Whitney  (1 / 8)
Bays / Sounds: 0 / 6
Lakes, Great Lakes / Niagara Falls: 0 / 7
Canals: 0/5
Trails: 0/7
Deserts: The Colorado Desert, Mojave Desert  | 2 / 5
Prominent Features: Grand Canyon, Black Hills  | 2 / 10

Zoe began in 2012 with a trip to Kentucky and Missouri.   She is now 9 years old.

Avery's Count:
Begins in December 2017 with the trip to Disney World!

Kaylee's Count: 
Begins any time after October 2020.

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