The Map on Our Wall-Mixing Home Education with Travel

wall map blogAt the foot of our stairs in the bottom floor of our house we have this wall map. One of the $14.99 maps from Staples that every single homeschooling family in the country has. It’s a decent sized map, enough to cover the space on the wall and not leave room for anything else to be put on the wall.

If you look closely you see dark spots on most of the states along the East Coast, and a couple headed toward the midwest.

If you looked more closely you’d see that they are stickers.

Our family has a goal that in the next five years we want to visit the 48 states of the continental United States…Alaska and Hawaii would be a bonus visit! So far we’ve done well….as a family of four we have visited 21 states and Canada. Technically Canada was only about a 20 minute walk through and we didn’t even reach the customs office, but still….the street signs were written in French so we figured it counted. 🙂

A few years ago we headed to Missouri for Jeremy’s graduation from Seminary at Nazarene Theological Seminary. It was close enough to the border of Kansas that we snuck over there for a little bit. Last summer we journeyed to Upstate New York and across the border through Vermont, New Hampshire and into Maine. One month later we headed South for a drive to Florida, hitting all of the states along the East Coast. On the way home we stopped in Tennessee for two nights before arriving in Pennsylvania.

I think we’ve done pretty well so far in reaching our goal.

This is generally how it happens: the girls and I stand before the map, dreaming, planning, making routes to places we want to see and then let Jeremy know. Our hope is that he will immediately go along with our plans. He doesn’t always. But we never stop trying.

Each state we visit gets a sticker. Each state Daisy visits also gets  a sticker-so far she’s up to nine, plus Canada.

So this map serves two purposes-First, it serves as a catalyst to keep our goals and dreams right in front of us. Every time we come in the front door the map is there. Every time we go to the laundry room or garage the map is there. Every time we head to the family room the map is there. There is no getting away from remembering our goals.

Secondly, we use the map often for school. Whether the girls have a planned geography lesson, a map lesson where they need to physically be reminded of what state lies where, or even a history lesson we use this map.

Constantly. It really is one of the best ways we’ve spent $14.99 on anything.

We often play a game with it, called simply…..wait for it…..”Find the State”. It works as a great time and space filler when a break is needed. I simply call out the names of random states and the first to point to it wins. Points are always kept. There can be some serious competition in this game. My girls are 13 and 11 and they still think it’s fun.

Want to add some interest? Use Nerf guns to shoot the state, or suction darts that won’t make holes in the map or wall. With a bigger world map…this would include countries too.

Playing games or looking and dreaming makes learning fun. Well worth the $14.99 we spent.

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