Tag Archives: Erie Canal bike trip

Local Geography and History Block

I wrote a little bit about my mid-summer homeschooling breakdown and about how I came really close to sending the kids to school. I however decided to soldier on in the homeschooling journey and am so glad I did. This year is off to a great start.

I spent more time than I ever have planning out the year. I now know that when I have good solid plans laid out our school days go so much better. In the past I have just sort of figured out what blocks we are doing and when we are doing them and left things pretty much open from there. This year I planned out which stories we would do, wrote out spelling lists, and came up with all of the activities for each block so I entered the school year feeling prepared and excited. Of course all my planning may change depending on how the kids respond and how things play out in real life. Plans on paper can look so lovely and tidy but our daily life is so different!

Ishaan started off the year with Maps and Mapping and Local Geography and History. The block is only 4 weeks long so we had a lot of material to fit into a short time. I found some really great books at our library. We started off the year learning about the history of map making and looking at ancient and old maps. I think I learned as much as Ishaan. He learned that the oldest map of the world was a clay tablet made in 500BC in Babylonia. It basically depicts Babylon, the Euphrates River, a mountain range, Babylonia’s nearest neighbors, and some islands in the ocean. Ishaan made a replica of this map from clay. It came out great and it was a fun project to start the year.

He learned about different kinds of maps and a bit about reading maps. He drew a few simple maps of our yard and the route from our house the town center. Since he was learning local geography and history I also had him free hand draw a map of New York State with. He major rivers, cities, and mountain ranges.

Ishaan has a hard time writing on unlined paper so traditional main lesson books can be a source of great frustration for him and I often end up drawing lines for him which is silly. I found these great small format main lesson books at here at Paper Scissors Stone which is a great Waldorf homeschooling supply store. The pages are lined on one side and blank on the other. A great way for Ishaan to write out what he needs to and still have a place for illustrations and diagrams.

We spend a week studying the Erie Canal. I don’t really remember learning about it so I learned a lot too. Ishaan read Desperate Journey by Jim Murphy. It is a novel but gives a fairly accurate account of what life was like during the early days of the Erie Canal. At the end of the block we were lucky enough to be able to take a wonderful two-day bike trip along the Erie Canal which I will post about separately.

We are having a wonderfully unusual warm November Day and it is going to be 70 degrees today so I am off to get some yard work done and do something fun with the kids. Have a great Monday!