Pac Man Loves…USA Geography

Yup, he actually does! I knew very little geography going into homeschooling {either I wasn’t taught well or I forgot most of it}. I now know lots and am enjoying learning {or relearning} right alongside of Pac!

I do a lot of our own stuff even though Pac is enrolled in a cyber charter school. One area I have always sorta done my own thing is geography. We do what the school has for us but we do a lot more too!

We just completed our first round of identifying 1 state per day and coloring it in. We do this each morning during our calendar time. Krash participates also and has learned to locate Minnesota, Texas and Maine ;-). Although my favorite was when he located Megazona. My main focus in doing this each morning is to give Pac Man a better grasp on quickly locating and naming all of the states.

We use these printable maps. We staple the blank outlined on on top for the boys to color 1 state per day, and we put the labeled map underneath to check. I also used a set of USA flashcards. The boys took turns each day-one would draw a card and name the state and then other would find and color the state. Obviously we greatly modified for Krash ;-).

This time around I am going in ABC order and using the new PowerPoint show I am working on {it is located in the Members Only section}. I am not done with the entire show {all of the states}, but am linking up in the MO section as I get chunks of it complete! So far I have released “A States” and C & D States.” We started this week and it was a big hit!!!

I am setting up the laptop right in front of our calendar board for our morning group time, with the show ready to go. Here is the detailed order that we are going in {since I know some of you thrive on details}…

  • I begin the PowerPoint at the beginning, which takes us through identifying the capital city, the postal abbreviation, and then the location. This is what that slide looks like at the end {each sentence and then the graphic answer comes up in order so the child can think first before checking the answer}.USA.Alabama (2)
  • When this slide pops up {shown below}, I ask the boys {or one of them} to come up and show me where he thinks the state is. He can then self-correct by pushing the arrow to make the slide animate the state emphasizes with a circle-draw and then the name and abbreviation pops up. They LOVE this and actually hit back to have it animate over and over!IMG_3141
  • Each day we are adding a new state, going in ABC order. I still start the show at the beginning each day though, so we have a building review of the concepts. I obviously don’t expect Krash to pick up on USA geography at 4, but I can imagine he will naturally soak a TON of information in!!!IMG_3114
  • After the slideshow, one boy {they take turns} colors in the state for the day, which is an additional review.IMG_3118
  • On top of our US geography, we have added in Africa this round!!! I am using our country cards and Africa board from Where in the World. Krash chooses a country card, IMG_3232I whisper the name in his ear, he tells Pac Man the name of the country. Pac Man then does his best to remember where it is by looking at the Where in the World board {we have studied Africa in depth in the past so this is a great review for him}. Then Krash tells him the correct {the countries are numbered on the board}. IMG_3234
  • After using the board, the boys then find it on our HUGE foam world map {THIS is our exact map but the price on Amazon is outrageous. We paid $19.99 for it years ago at Lowes-yes the hardware store!}, which now sits in the middle of our schoolroom. I absolutely did not stage this shot, and love it! They were pointing out Gambia in this photo!!!IMG_3123

The total time for all of this is about 10 minutes. It seems like a lot, but it really goes by fast and the boys both enjoy it. As we get into the states, it will obviously take longer as we review each day. We may not continue to review all of the states each day, we’ll see!

Last week the boys had a blast putting our big puzzle together, and then using it as a wrestling mat. Boys will be boys, and I LOVE them.IMG_2827

Wrestling…Geography…it’s all connected, right?

Preschool ~ More Planning and Organizing

Organizing Preschool Units

I got my hands on this wonderful organizer for free and my brain was instantly spinning!!!! Oh the things I could do with many, MANY little compartments like this! Organizing preschool units was a need, I wanted a place to sort my RRSP and file folders and/or boxes just weren’t doing it for me. Here’s what I came up with and I am in L-O-V-E.

I hung a small sticky note on each cubby in the order we will be dong the units. I am then not only placing the printed unit from RRSP in the slot, but also extra printables we will be using, books for the week, and any craft supplies we will need!!! If you can get your hands on one of these babies, I highly recommend it!!!

Organizing Preschool Units


I have been a foam-cutting-fool lately. I have prepared just about all of the Crafty ABCs that we have yet to do. We are now going to do them along with the letter of the week, so I sorted them all in little baggies and now the baggies are in their proper cubby!

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Here is a shot of our main preschool “wall” where most of preschool takes place now. I got it all cleaned up and organized for K’s return 😉

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We will actually be moving out of this room soon {projected date is October, we’ll see!}, so things are as organized as they can be while we wait and prepare for the big move {which I will share in detail when the new school room is complete}! If I were to turn the camera around and show you the wall on the opposite side, it would be embarrassing!

Another new feature I have added is a baggie system to our calendar routine. You can see our calendar board here, and all we do during this time. {the board itself actually hangs on hooks in front of the RRSP board, I just took it down for the photo above} I put each small calendar time supply in its own little baggie and clipped them together and hung them on a hook. I am hoping this will help me stay neater 😉 and not forget certain things that don’t fit on the board. The one thing I added to our morning routine is these awesome ABC movement cards. I plan to have each boy choose one card a day for us to do! They are larger cards but I scaled them down to print and they all fit in a tiny baggie now.

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I also added a hook for K’s RRSP review materials, so they can be easily accessed.

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~ The white shelf you see above the board is the same one that is on the floor in Ladybug’s room in this post. It is from the picture frame department at Ikea, here it is online. It is awesome, I plan to get more!

More Preschool Links…

Happy Helpers

Helping is something almost all younger kids love to do. The problem for me is, I don’t always love the help ;-). It’s selfish, I know-but true. I am not one of those naturally patient mommas, I would much rather just do things myself. But I also know that when a child is helping-the lessons learned are invaluable.

When I used to teach Kindergarten, we did calendar time every.single.day. By about the second month of school I dreaded teaching it. Other primary teachers will give me an Amen I’m sure-something about it just gets old and draining. Once the routine of teaching was established each year, I implemented a calendar helper and the special student would lead calendar time, with me sitting off to the side to quietly guide. The helper always loved this job and I loved not having to do it all myself. I guess that was one area where I didn’t mind a child helping me out! 😉

Fast forward to homeschool and our morning board time. I won’t say I dreaded teaching it at all, I really don’t, but Pac Man began asking if he could teach it. At first I said no and then it dawned on me-this is a great learning opportunity for him! He already knows most of the skills being taught during this time, it would be great to develop his leadership abilities.

So, now we see this quite often….IMG_8211

I took the photo while sitting on the floor in Pac Man’s normal spot-as he leads us during calendar time. Krash is putting up the day of the week.

I guide Pac Man from below and he is one happy little helper.

Pac Man grows greatly by being the leader. He has learned so much from his role also as the eldest sibling for Tot School both with Krash and now with Ladybug. Pac Man may not learn many school skills from our game of the week for preschool time, but he is learning so much about patience, selflessness, and so much more. There are so many opportunities for an older sibling to be in a helper role, I just have to remember to let him!