Need info for a Homeschool State Unit Study?

February 23, 2009


If you’re doing a unit study on one of the states in America, check out this website full of State resources including:

  • State facts
  • Links to TONS of great state-specific websites
  • lots of field trip info
  • local homeschool info

Thank you to The Homeschool Mom for compiling this great resource!

Posted under Geography, Geography Websites

A Map of Alaska, the Iditarod Trail, and a Bedsheet – Fun Homeschool Unit Study.

January 26, 2009

Last month, we found the Iditarod Project (thanks, Beth!), and the kids have been having a blast working on it – always a great time in homeschool life.

The first activity is to make a map of Alaska and the Iditarod Trail.  After considering the daily danger to all fragile items in our boy and toddler-heavy household, I wasn’t so excited about making a large paper map.  It didn’t take much imagination to see ripped map pieces, corners disolved by drool, and chunks of paint being pulled off the wall by tape gone crazy.

Good thing someone more creative than I suggested using a bedsheet to make the map. 

Whalah!  We did a quick math lesson on scale, made 8 x 8 inch squares out of cardstock, and the kids got busy marking a grid on the map in pencil.  (Hey, that laundry in the background is clean, at least)


The next day, we transfered the outline of Alaska, the rivers, the Iditarod Trail, and the cities.  After a discussion of map legends, my oldest designed a cool symbol for the cities, including one with a star in the middle for the capital.  (Since everyone has to be involved at our house, the 3-year-old made his own unsupervised permanent marker line across the scale line – at least he didn’t get the carpet!)


We outlined everything in permanent marker.  To remove the pencil marks, we washed the sheet with the regular mountains of laundry.  And finally, we hung the map proudly on the banister in our entryway.  (Who needs interior decorators when you homeschool?)



We’re also reading Dogsong by Gary Paulsen together to get more of a feel for Alaska and some of her culture.

We’ll keep you posted on our progress. 

Meanwhile, check out these other homeschoolers who have also done/are doing the Iditarod project:

If you’re also joining in, post a comment and link about your progress and experiences!

Posted under Geography Websites, Homeschool Activities, Social Studies Websites

Ever wish you could run the Iditarod Dog Sled Race in Alaska?

January 3, 2009

A fellow homeschool friend Beth, pointed me to this great site:  The Iditarod Project.

It is aimed at helping students ‘virtually’ join in the famous Iditarod dog sled race held every year in Alaska.  If you don’t know much about the Iditarod, check out the official Iditarod website.  It is an amazing race over 1150 miles long across the rugged Alaskan wilderness that takes around two weeks of grueling endurance to complete.  It’s history goes back to the routes the dog sleds took to bring supplies in from to coast to the mining towns in the interior.  There are even heroic stories of dog sled teams bringing medicines along these routes in time to save many lives.

All you need to participate in The Iditarod Project is be a public, private, or home school and join by January 9th.  The project includes the following activities:

  • study the trail and musher biographies
  • create a wall-sized map of the trail
  • select a musher to follow in this year’s race
  • track the selected musher’s progress as the race occurs
  • post to each checkpoint’s blog as the selected musher reaches each stop on the trail
  • complete the problem solving tasks you find at each checkpoint’s blog
  • arrive in Nome vicariously with your selected musher
  • receive an official 2008 eIditarod class certificate for completion of the trail!

We’ll be joining for the first time this year – let us know what team you choose!

Posted under Geography Websites, Social Studies Websites

Teaching Geography with Free Outline Maps

October 6, 2008

Teaching kids about the bigger world outside their community is lots of fun, and even easier with this great site of printable outline maps

There are outline maps of the continents, lots of countriesThe United States of America, and much more.  Do you have a child learning the states and capitals?  Try this pdf with labels to learn from, and this one without labels to practice with.  There is plenty to beef up any geography lesson!

This is a great resource offered by the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.  Check out the other classroom resources they offer.

(Do you have a favorite geography website?  Please add one to the comment section.  Thanks!)

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Posted under Geography Websites