Our kids are growing up SO FAST! As we finished up 3rd grade with my oldest this year, I reminisced about the beginning of the year. Our first day of school was filled with tears over a simple math problem. There were tears for a couple of weeks if we didn’t begin the week with Pagoo. So many tears.
I took in all the information those tears taught me, made adjustments, prayed, had delicate conversations with this 8 year old wonder before my eyes. And together, we learned so much in 3rd grade.
At the end of the year, we stacked up all the books we had read together discussing the merits of each one. We had traveled to the farthest reaches of Asia with Marco Polo, plunged to the depths of tiny tide pools tossed about with Pagoo, and suffered through Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Long Winter. I looked at my girl, sitting before me and marveled at how far she had come in one year.
I wouldn’t have the joy of witnessing this without the bonds we have forged through our homeschooling journey. The seeds sown, the struggles strained; the fruit is beginning to ripen.
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The Struggle with Too Much & Not Enough
Now preparing to enter our first year of Essentials, I feel, in large measure, we are ready. And yet, I struggle with the questions of balance. The struggle between “too much” and “not enough” is real.
I find myself reminding myself of the simplicity of the curriculum we have chosen as the foundation for our school years – Classical Conversations. When I am tempted to pile on – to add extras, to make it bigger than it already is; I remind myself this is a a beautiful feast, but it is possible to overeat.
I have seen the lists. You may have seen them, too. They include stacks of books for each week, for each subject. It is impossible to get to it all, much less gain benefit from them. And picking just a few resources out of the vast array becomes another difficulty. There has to be a simpler way.
I contend, we should focus on one thing more in one subject area. And we should allow our students to pick their “one thing more” subject. I am encouraging my second-timers to choose a favorite “one thing more” for this year. And I am planning to support them, not with an overwhelming feast of resources, but with one extra morsel.
One Thing More
Last year I shared our One Thing More lists for cycle 2 for those students who are going through a cycle for the 2nd time. The idea behind these lists are for the student to choose one subject, and do one thing more each week of the 24 weeks. The lists are not meant to be exhaustive. They are intended to be simple extras.
And as we look forward to our second time through cycle 3 (for 2 students), I have begun to compile One Thing More lists for them. This post focuses on adding resources (small morsels) to Cycle 3 Geography. Look for forthcoming installments for other subjects.
As I stated above, the options for match-ups can be overwhelming. When I pulled together this list, I wanted to be as succinct as possible. It needed to be a super short list of resources for us. And it is! Even I had to fight the temptations to make it too big, reminding myself constantly of the dangers of too much of a good thing. Nonetheless, I have chosen some seriously wonderful and simple resources for Cycle 3 Geography!
I encourage you to peruse our One Thing More lists for Cycle 3 (they will be released throughout late August and early September 2020). Our community is a late-start community due to the present circumstances in our state, so please forgive me if these are a bit later than your start date. I invite you to find the subject in which your student would want One Thing More. Gather the limited and enjoy!
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A Word about Geography Resources
It is impossible to separate a region’s geography from a region’s cultural history. Well, I guess you could; but then geography would lose much of its richness. I have tried to find resources that give the second-time student a feel for the history tied into the geography. The more links we can give our kids between the two subjects, the better they will be able to connect the dots.
Since Cycle 3 is focused on the United States, the very best way to study the geography is to get out and see some of the places. We are making it a goal to visit at least 3 of the major places mentioned in the Cycle 3 memory work. Depending on where you live, you could visit more or less. Just visit! Experience is such a big component to understanding in the early years of learning. If you happen to have a 4th grade student, you and your family can get a free pass to all the National Parks here.
One Thing More – Cycle 3 Geography
Without further ado, here is the list of resources I included in our One Thing More for Cycle 3 Geography:
- How the States Got Their Shapes by Mark Stein*
- Ida Early Comes Over the Mountain by Robert Burch
- Never Cry, “Arp!” and other Great Adventures by Patrick F. McManus*
- National Parks of the U.S.A. by Kate Siber
- Great Lakes and Ships by John C. Mitchell OR Paddle to the Sea by Holling C. Holling
- Jacob I Have Loved by Katherine Patterson (audiobook)*
- Little House on Rocky Ridge by Roger Lea MacBride
- The Exploration of the Colorado River by John Wesley Powell*
- Traveling the Santa Fe Trail by Linda Thompson*
- Building the Erie Canal by Linda Thompson*
- One Small Square: Cactus Desert by Donald Silver
I also made some resources which are available in my Subscriber Exclusive Library (you can get instant access to it when you sign up at the bottom of this post):
- One Thing More: Cycle 3 Geography week by week match-up
- U.S.A. Pin Punching activity
- Native American Regions Pin Punching activity
These resources are not all meant to be consumed completely. A few of the resources are for reading a chapter or two. Most of the resources are available on Scribd, which I highly recommend as a homeschool resource. Those that are available as of the writing of this article are noted with an asterisk here and on the Match-up.
What to do with these resources? Besides reading the books and doing the activities, I envision most of these to be narration-friendly. The books may also become fodder for weekly presentations on community day. Your student could create a journal of their geography discoveries, too.
One Last Thing
Another thing I just wanted to let you know about, especially if you have a geography-interested kid is the Nat Geo Bee. Similar to the Spelling Bee they show on ESPN these days, the Nat Geo Bee is an academic competition for geography. It is open to students in 4th through 8th grades and is open to homeschool students. There are a number of requirements and more information is available here.
I pray these resources are a blessing to you on your students second time through Cycle 3.