Thursday, September 19, 2013

Challenge A week 5 Geography: Central America, etc.

I thought I'd share (when I'm able to) what we're doing to help get through Challenge A, in case it is a help to others.  I was completely lost and struggling my first year.  This year is somewhat better.

I have chosen not to have my children do the freehand drawing for geography.  Instead, we label blank blackline maps.  (they do show the outlines of the countries and the features.  I just made copies of the map provided in the ChA guide.)  I choose features and capitals as I feel they are important.  We do leave some stuff out.  My goal is to have my children master the items that we do learn, rather than barely know a bunch more.  So, we spend about 45-60 minutes a day working on learning and adding on bit by bit.  I aim to get as much of it as possible, and get it well known by my kids.

This video might be a help to you:

What I did for Day 1 of learning this area:

--I gave out a blank blackline map of the area and a labeled version of it as well.  You can use the blank map in the ChA guide, or you can print from this site.

--We went through the main countries and labeled them one by one in this order:  Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama.  After labeling, we chanted through, and I would say the country name and the kids would repeat and point to the country.

--Once we had that, we went on to the Greater Antilles.  We went in order, labeling one at a time. One helpful thing I did was I used a highlighter and went around from child to child, highlighting the next item that we were labeling.  This way they knew how to spell and what country we were looking at.

--We chanted and pointed through those as well.

--We then added some bodies of water:  Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean Sea.

That is all we are doing for Day 1.  Tomorrow I will build on it, starting with giving everyone a blank map and asking them to fill in everything they can remember.  After they get as much done as they can, we will look back on the labeled maps to see what was missed, and fill in those.  Then we will add on some additional items.  We will repeat like this each day until we have everything that we want to get on the map.

At some point I will work on teaching the capitals for the countries.  We will probably not learn every single island in the Lesser Antilles, and I seriously doubt we will learn the capitals for the ones we do learn.

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