Friday, October 19, 2012

Washington DC and Symbols of the US

We started our US States study with Washington DC.  While technically not a state, it still seemed like a good place to start.

We are loosely using Road Trip USA from Confessions of a Homeschooler.

We started by looking at our map of the US.  This is a road map courtesy of AAA.  As we cover each state, I plan to highlight it on the map.

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Since the kids are young, I’m not worried about them memorizing all the states and capitals, so I didn’t play the Capital Song for them.  I did play “50 Nifty United States” which I sang in 5th or 6th grade chorus and is still my preferred method for naming the states in alphabetical order.

We read from the National Geographic United States Atlas for Young Explorers.  


This resulted in Vicki asking if we had ever been to Washington DC.  We went back in 2008 when Daddy had a conference there, so I looked up the pictures from our trip to show them.

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After exploring the pictures and discussing the monuments, the National Zoo, and the museums, we read from one of the books I checked out of the library – This is Washington DC.  The book was pretty wordy and dated (I didn’t realize until later is was published in 1969).    The kids didn’t really care for it right from the second sentence, which was “Situated on the Potomac River, it is a city of parks whose broad avenues, reminiscent of Paris, are lined with severe white porticoes of classic Roman dignity.”   I was met with two, almost identical blank stares after reading that one.  So we mainly just skimmed through that book.  (just wanted to add, that evidently the book has been updated some, I just happened to get a copy of the original).


Our other selection, the kids enjoyed more.   District of Columbia: The Nation’s Capital from the Our Amazing States series.  The information was much more understandable and the book was illustrated with photographs.


The last book we used was our copy of the National Geographic Kids Ultimate US Road Trip Atlas.  Georgie was able to read this one out loud to Vicki and I, which definitely helps him pay attention.


As part of our US study, we learned about some of the symbols of the United States.  I recently ordered Studies Weekly to bring some social studies into our days.  The first week was about the symbols of the US and the Pledge of Allegiance.  The kids are somewhat familiar with the Pledge since we say it at the beginning of our 4-H club meetings. 

The teachers guide that came along with the subscription had wonderful ideas for ways to expand the lesson. Including vocabulary and word walls, writing suggestions, and group projects.

We used the Studies Weekly Big Issue to go over the definitions of republic, indivisible, liberty, justice, honesty and pledge.  We learned about the Bald Eagle being a symbol of the US, and about how to treat the flag.


I taught the kids how to fold the flag on one of our small display flags from the Fourth of July.


We finished up with Georgie reviewing the vocabulary words by doing a crossword puzzle from the student edition, using the Big Issue as a guide for the answers.


Our first official state will be our home state of New Jersey.

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