One of the things I love about homeschooling is following the interests of my kids.
I am really looking forward to the day when they “know what they want to be when they grow up” (or you know, at least an idea. I’m not even sure if I know what I want to be when I grow up) and we can take those interests and run with them.
Raeca has been wanting to create some printables/books with me and so the other evening we sat on the couch and did some brainstorming. We both came up with ten ideas and she narrowed it down to her favorite.
The next day we worked on it and as a result we now have a booklet of Famous Canadian Notebooking Pages and we wanted to share it for free with you!
I’m excited to go through and learn about the twenty famous people we included in the booklet, I think it will be a great way for us to learn more about our country and some of the people who have helped shape it.
Today I want to share the second best way to teach your children geography.
I think I know what you are thinking right now, why in the world would she tell us about the second best way to teach geography? What is the first?!
So, let’s chat about the first and then we’ll get on to the second.
In my opinion, the best way to have your children learn and fall in love with geography is to travel. Hands down. But sometimes it doesn’t work to travel everywhere you wan to go; maybe your family is large and it takes a lot of money to get you all where you want to go, or maybe you have other factors keeping you back, or maybe, like us, you are saving for a trip but it takes time! (I’ve go enough saved so far that would take 2/4 of us to London and no money to do anything once we get there, so I’ve got aways to go.)
On a small river boat in Uganda.
My kids, especially my daughter, are fairly well traveled. When she was four she had been to three provinces, seven or eight states, including flying to California twice, and had been to Uganda and South Africa. We aren’t afraid to travel as a family with young kids, but it definitely involves a lot of saving. This winter we went to Mexico which was our first international trip since returning from South Africa three years prior. There are definitely seasons for travel and seasons for sticking closer to home.
Since the first option for teaching your children to love geography may not on the table for most of us at this time, let me tell you that the second option is a much cheaper alternative that will still teach you and your children a lot about the world. Just be warned though, it may lengthen your to-travel list.
Giraffes on our safari in South Africa.
The second option is learning all about countries from your home. With books and the internet at your fingertips you can still learn and explore about the world.
I have spent hours scouring the internet finding great books, YouTube videos, projects, online field trips and treks for us to learn about different countries. If you want to spend the time looking you can find them too! Or if you prefer to have it already laid out for you, you are in luck because I’ve been keeping track of all our findings and have turned it into a resource guide!
Anyone else notice how much dogs roam the streets in many countries? Mexico is one of those countries.
The resource I am talking about is my Explore the World Resource Guide. I know you’ve probably heard me talk about it a few times but today I wanted to give you a bit of a peek inside and give you more info on what the guide can do for you.
What the Explore the World Resource Guide is, is a way to teach your children about different countries without having to leave your home (and without having to save a bunch of money to travel to each of the countries).
You can go as surface or as in-depth with each of the countries as you want. There are some countries that haven’t interested us as much so we’ve just watched the videos and read a couple of books, but others have captured our attention and have had us digging deeper and creating art projects and notebooking pages.
I personally think that a big way to get your children to love geography is to not force a country they don’t feel interested in, not every country will interest every child and that’s okay. I know not every country interests me and I have a huge sense of wanderlust, so for this my bank account, and my husband, thank me.
One of the smaller centipedes in South Africa.
If physically travelling the world isn’t in your budget for this time but you still want your children to fall in love with geography grab the Explore the World Resource Guide and start digitally travelling the world!
I got the travel itch when I was young, we actually didn’t do a whole lot of traveling as a family but some how the travel bug still formed. There is a good chance it was thanks to all the books I read as a child and my mom’s constant references to wanting to travel to Italy.
When I turned 18 I grabbed the bull by the horns (so they say, though I grew up on a dairy farm and never would I actually grab a bull by the horns), and I agreed to be an au pair in England for a few months.
The itch to travel is a funny one, the more you itch it the more it itches.
I want to see so many different places and I want to take my children to them all. But somehow I am a homebody at the same time. I love visiting new countries and I love staying at home sitting in my comfy chair.
Also, at this point it hasn’t be possible for us to do a lot of travelling for the last few years. After we came home from South Africa we had a bunch of paperwork to complete and Ephraim couldn’t really leave the country.
While we’ve been in this stage of having to stay close to home I’ve created a digital resource guide for exploring the world from your own home! The reason people choose to explore the world from home will be different for everyone, for some it may be a choice and for others a necessity, either way, I’m thankful for the technology we have and the ability to explore the world right from where we are!
At the beginning of the guide there is an overview of our absolute favorite resources for learning about the world: books, videos, links, and more! And each country will include a book list, virtual reality tours, a variety of video clips to watch and online treks you can explore and discover! Plus many countries have a variety of other features like links to how to draw videos that are applicable to the country.
If you like checking books out from the library and immersing yourself and your family in a topic for a period of time I think you’ll love this resource.
If you love the idea of being able to virtually swim with turtles in the Great Barrier Reef, walk along the Eiffel Tower and see polar bears in their natural environment, this resource was made for you!
A few months ago we started receiving packages from the Little Passports subscription box. I was really excited about Little Passports because I feel so strongly about teaching my children about different countries and cultures.
My kids love receiving mail so I didn’t tell them the package was coming and they were over the moon to see a big box for them in the mail!
We’ve now received a few packages from Little Passports and I wanted share a few of our thoughts – a little review of sorts.
The first package was a little intro to Little Passports and included the suitcase, a passport and map and some activity pages.
After the initial packages each month we received a mailer envelope package about a particular place, the first month was Brazil and then second was Japan. For each month we got a postcard, boarding pass, a few stickers for our map, suitcase, and passport, as well as some activity pages and some tangible item relating to the country.
I felt like Little Passports was perfectly geared towards Raeca (she’s six), Ephraim still enjoyed looking at everything but was obviously a little too young (he’s four) for the activities.
Although we had a lot of fun receiving a few months of the Little Passports packages we won’t be renewing our subscription.
To help decide if the Little Passports subscription box would be right for your family, here’s some help:
LITTLE PASSPORTS IS PROBABLY NOT FOR YOU IF:
you prefer doing your own thing and shy away from pre-packaged curriculum
you prefer to choose the order of the countries you study
you prefer to keep things minimalistic and don’t want another thing to do
LITTLE PASSPORTS IS PERFECT FOR YOU IF:
you like having the country you are studying that month already chosen for you
you want to work on the activities with your children
your kids love receiving mail
you enjoy having things come to you pre-packaged and ready for your use
your kid(s) are between the ages of 6-10
All in all, my children really enjoyed receiving the Little Passport packages and enjoyed everything that was included in each of the boxes but it just wasn’t the right fit for our family.
We will continue learning about the world, the different countries and cultures just in a different way. The way that works for us right now is to explore the world digitally – we much prefer to virtually swim with sea turtles in the Great Barrier Reef and walk along the Eiffel Tower in Paris, it makes geography come to life and it feels like we are actually there.
Full Disclosure: We received a three month subscription to Little Passports for free in exchange for a review.
Today I wanted to continue the country book list series. Though, you may notice I’ve actually decided to do a whole continent, not a country.
I’d love to break these down into individual country book lists at some point but right now there isn’t enough books for each country to do so. If you have some suggestions for children’s books about South America I’d love for you to let me know!
Old Mariana finds a merbaby in a crabshell and cares for it as if it were her own child. She knows all the time that one day when the sea is calm the merchild’s mother will return to take her daughter back.
El sol es de oro la luna es de plata y las estrellitas son de hoja de lata. The sun’s a gold medallion. The moon’s a silver ball. The little stars are only tin; I love them best of all. Here is a groundbreaking bilingual collection of traditional rhymes that celebrates childhood and Spanish and Latin American heritage. From playing dress up to making tortillas, and from rising at daybreak to falling asleep, these joyful rhymes are sure to delight young readers.
Slowly, slowly, slowly . . . that’s the way the sloth moves. Slowly, it eats and then, slowly, it falls asleep. “What strange kind of creature is this?” the other animals wonder. Why doesn’t it run or fly or play or hunt like the rest of us? “Why are you so slow?” the howler monkey inquires. But the sloth doesn’t answer any questions until the jaguar asks, “Why are you so lazy?” Anyone who has ever felt too busy will appreciate the sloth’s peaceful lifestyle and realize that it’s okay to take time to enjoy life. Eric Carle’ s dazzling collage illustrations introduce readers to the exotic beauty of the Amazon rain forest and the many unusual animals living there.
Turtle loves to dance and play the flute. But her exuberance puts her at risk when her music attracts the attention of a brave hunter who brings her home to make turtle stew. After she is caught, her only hope for escape is the hunter’s children … and her own wit. This folktale, first told by the indigenous people of Brazil, is now told throughout Latin America. Like the people of Latin America, Turtle always seems to survive any challenge by using her courage and wit. Beautiful watercolors radiant with the dense foliage and hardy wildlife of the Amazon rain forest, guides the reader through this timeless adventure story. These rainforest stories will teach readers the importance of resourcefulness.
Ana loves stories. She often makes them up to help her little brother fall asleep. But in her small village there are only a few books and she has read them all. One morning, Ana wakes up to the clip-clop of hooves, and there before her, is the most wonderful sight: a traveling library resting on the backs of two burros‑all the books a little girl could dream of, with enough stories to encourage her to create one of her own.
One day, high in the Andes Mountains, Cuy the Guinea Pig is searching for wild spinach to eat when Tío Antonio the Fox comes in search of Cuy to eat! Tío Antonio thinks he s found dinner, but crafty Cuy has other plans. Quick-witted Cuy fools Tío Antonio not once, but three times. Combining striking wood block artwork with an authentic South American voice, this sly trickster tale shows that clever thinking is key when you’re out-foxing the fox.
Ada Ríos grew up in Cateura, a small town in Paraguay built on a landfill. She dreamed of playing the violin, but with little money for anything but the bare essentials, it was never an option…until a music teacher named Favio Chávez arrived. He wanted to give the children of Cateura something special, so he made them instruments out of materials found in the trash. It was a crazy idea, but one that would leave Ada—and her town—forever changed. Now, the Recycled Orchestra plays venues around the world, spreading their message of hope and innovation.
When Paulo Marcelo Feliciano becomes a soccer star, crowds will cheer his famous name! Then his mother won’t have to work long hours, and he won’t have to work all day on a fishing boat. For now, Paulo takes care of his little sister Maria (she teaches him reading, he teaches her soccer moves) and walks her to school, stopping to give his teammates cheese buns as they set out to shine people’s shoes or perform for the tourist crowd. At day’s end, it’s time to plan the game, where Givo will bounce, Carlos will kick, and Jose will fly! But when Jose falls on his wrist, will the team finally break the rules and let a girl show her stuff? Set in a country whose resilient soccer stars are often shaped by poverty, this uplifting tale of transcending the expected scores a big win for all.
Carolina lives in a village up in the Andes mountains. Today she and her mother are traveling into town to find a birthday gift for Carolina’s grandmother. There are so many things to see and so many gifts to choose from! Children will follow Carolina through her new experience. Carolina’s Gift gives readers a fun and unique insight of a different culture, and a sense what life might be like for a child growing up in mountain village of Peru.
Imaginations will soar from the forest floor, up through the canopy and back down again, following the circle of life in this clever adaptation of the song The Green Grass Grew All Around. The jungle comes alive as children learn about a wide variety of the animals (jaguars, emerald tree boas, leafcutter ants, sloths, poison dart frogs, toucans, and bats) and plants (kapok trees, liana vines, and bromeliads) living in the lush Amazon rainforest. Search each page to find rainforest bugs and butterflies hiding in the illustrations.
In the middle of the wide Argentine pampas there once grew a magic tree. Above this tree slept a bird so evil it could stop the rain from falling. And not far from this tree lived a brave boy who one day set out to save his village and all the creatures from dying of thirst. Illustrated with charming folk-art-like paintings and retold with simplicity and drama, this legend of a child’s courage and faith explains why Argentineans believe that good luck can be found in the shade of a carob tree.
This rhyming text takes readers from Lake Titicaca all the way to the city of Cusco for the marvelous Inti Raymi festival. They’ll meet children from many areas of southern Peru who are traveling to the festival, each using a different mode of transportation. Includes useful notes on the history and culture of Peru.
Luis loves to read, but soon his house in Colombia is so full of books there’s barely room for the family. What to do? Then he comes up with the perfect solution–a traveling library! He buys two donkeys–Alfa and Beto–and travels with them throughout the land, bringing books and reading to the children in faraway villages.
Do you have any books you would add to this list? Let me know!
New Zealand is definitely on my list of places to visit. I wanted to go there pre: Lord of the Rings but now going to see The Shire is a cool bonus.
Also, we don’t have a lot of sheep around where I live so a country that has five sheep for every person sounds interesting! The landscape looks so lush and diverse . . . I could see myself taking a lot of pictures there.
Here is the incredible story of Elizabeth, a real-life elephant seal who made her home in the Avon River in the city of Christchurch, New Zealand. When Elizabeth decides to stretch out across a two-lane road, the citizens worry she might get hurt or cause traffic accidents, so a group of volunteers tows her out to sea. But Elizabeth swims all the way back to Christchurch. The volunteers catch her again and again—each time towing her farther, even hundreds of miles away—but, still, Elizabeth finds her way back home.
Meet Charlie, Ruby, Oliver, Mason and Kaia – Kiwi kids representing a multicultural blend of culture and race that typifies our amazing country. They’ll take you through a year in the life of New Zealand’s kids, from celebrations, traditions and events, to our everyday way of life and the little things that make childhood so memorable. A Kiwi Year is a picture book bursting with national pride. It’s a snapshot of who we are as New Zealanders, blending our modern-day culture and lifestyle with past traditions and native heritage. Its pages feature meandering text, dates and gorgeous illustrations showcasing our five Kiwi kids at play, at school, at home, and enjoying the sights and sites of our great nation. From the Bay of Islands to our hot springs and soaring mountains, vibrant cities and quaint country towns, this is our New Zealand childhood.
In 2011, a juvenile emperor penguin was found eating sand on a beach in New Zealand, some 2,000 miles from his home in Antarctica. He was taken to a local zoo where he was placed in a cold room to recover. With charming illustrations made with his flipper, he recounts his ordeal. When he left for home later that year with a GPS tracker glued to his feathery bum, over quarter of a million people followed his release on the tracker’s website. The Lost Penguin is a poetic and whimsical story of a wayward penguin who learns that sometimes the most important lesson in life may come as a surprise: Don’t eat the yellow snow!
A gorgeous guide to creating a nature journal that will inspire kids around the world to chronicle what they see in their own backyards. Kids love to be outside, but it’s easy to miss all the astounding wonders of nature, unless you look closely. Have you ever noticed that ladybugs have different numbers of spots? When you look at a leaf, what do you see: is it pointed or round, long or short, soft or hard? In this stunning idea book, acclaimed author and illustrator Sandra Morris shares her love for the flora and fauna of her native New Zealand and encourages budding scientists to record their own discoveries in creative ways, no matter where they live.
On remote Codfish Island off the southern coast of New Zealand live the last ninety-one kakapo parrots on earth. These trusting, flightless, and beautiful birds—the largest and most unusual parrots on earth—have suffered devastating population loss. Now, on an island refuge with the last of the species, New Zealand’s National Kakapo Recovery Team is working to restore the kakapo population. With the help of fourteen humans who share a single hut and a passion for saving these odd ground-dwelling birds, the kakapo are making a comeback in New Zealand. Follow intrepid animal lovers Sy Montgomery and Nic Bishop on a ten-day excursion to witness the exciting events in the life of the kakapo.