Countries, Cultures, Postcards and Pen Pals

You know that commercial that comes on every year before school starts?  The one with the dad dancing his way down the aisles of Staples while the song is playing ” . . . it’s the most wonderful time of the year…”?  Every time I see that I think it’s sad!  I hated the end of summer break the last two years because it meant Annagrace would be going back to school!  I remember my mom saying the same thing…that she was always sad when we went back to school each year.

Yes, it is quieter in our home with only one child here.  It is more easy to manage one child at a time instead of two.  But I MISS Annagrace when she isn’t around!  So I am tickled pink that we are homeschooling this year!

We are using My Father’s World:  Exploring Countries and Cultures as our big unit study this year.  This study will include all her Science, Geography, Art/Music, Bible and Reading.  I am very excited about this study!  I traveled to Singapore, India and Indonesia while in college and I just LOVE learning about other cultures.  Annagrace started really showing an interest in geography last year so I knew this would be the perfect study for her!

A few ideas that I have in mind to do during the course of the year are:

  • Have Annagrace “interview” (via e-mail) my friends who live in other countries.  I have about 5 or 6 people in mind so far.
  • When starting each new study we will have a Family Fun Night where we will eat food from that country, read a book or watch a movie that features that country and maybe play a game that kids in that country play.
  • Sponsor a Compassion child.  I have been wanting to do this anyway and this would be a great opportunity for Annagrace to “meet” a child from another country.

At her public school she was in the Challenge (gifted) program.  They took one day a week where they met together and studied something a little extra.  So for her first challenge unit we are going to heavily study the United States.  I have a great unit study from Moving Beyond the Page that we will use.  She will study each state and will learn capitals, state birds and flowers, populations, important events and people, etc.   We will plan to do this once a week so it may take us awhile to get through it (I’m planning on it taking the whole year).

A project that I developed that she will be doing for this 50 states study is a “Postcard and Quarter Collection”.  I have been shamelessly asking friends on Facebook to send her postcards from other states!  I came up with about 35 states and 3 countries that are represented by my Facebook friends!  We have a notebook that has a page for each of the 50 states.  She’ll fill out a paper about each postcard–when it came, who sent it, etc.–and we will do a quarter rubbing on the page of that state’s quarter.  (I’ll post some photos once we get a few postcards inside!).  I am super excited about this!  If you are out there reading this and you are from a state other than NC and VA then lemme know! We want a postcard from you!

And lastly, I just secured her some pen pals for this school year as well!  One of her assignments each Friday will be to write a letter to someone.  I was hoping to find someone about her age and preferably someone that she didn’t know in real life who was from another state.  So I asked my friend, Jennifer, who happens to live in Florida and just so happens to be a teacher (!) if she had any ideas.  Well . . . she wants her whole class (twelve 4th and 5th graders) to participate!  So Annagrace will have a whole class that she will be writing to and they will be writing to her!  I am so excited about this too!  It will allow her to practice her handwriting, her letter writing skills and she will also learn about kids from another state and hopefully learn about Florida too!  We discussed having the kids e-mail and maybe even do some online chatting as well.  So she will also have a chance to develop her computer skills.

It’s going to be a fun, exciting, maybe a little scary, first year of homeschooling!  We can’t wait!

7 Responses to “Countries, Cultures, Postcards and Pen Pals”

  1. 1 David White August 15, 2009 at 12:51 pm

    I have family in KY, OH & TN if you need those states. 🙂 That sounds like a fun idea.

  2. 2 Jennifer VBK August 15, 2009 at 6:06 pm

    Saw this website and thought of you since her last entry was about a giveaway for free cloth diapers.

  3. 3 Baker Family August 15, 2009 at 8:25 pm

    Great ideas! Looks like all your ducks are in a row…QUACK ON, my friend!! I’ll be right there with you…glad Mexico is one of the first units, I am all about taking them to J’aliscos for the $3.99 Wednesday lunch special…Gotta love field trips!

    • 4 lsaufley August 15, 2009 at 9:58 pm

      Love it! Annagrace said, “Mom we’re gonna go on a lot of field trips this year, aren’t we?”. Yup. We love field trips!!!

  4. 5 Alison August 16, 2009 at 6:54 pm

    You may be interested, I found this out when looking into MFW. WinterPromise has a curric called Children Around the World. From all reviews, on its own, it’s not that great. However, it has some fantastic resources about the plight of children in other countries and I thought (when I’ve been doing my planning) that it would blend fantastically with ECC (just picking and choosing some of their great books). Just wanted to throw it out for you incase you were interested in checking it out….

  5. 6 Leona August 23, 2009 at 6:43 pm

    Just wanted to let you know of postcrossing. First off–it is free. Well, except for cost of postcards and postage. Go to and set up an account. You are randomly sent a name and address and short profile of someone from another country and you send them a postcard. At the same time, YOUR name is given to someone else in the world for them to send you a postcard. It’s not only fun but very educational. And, you are able to leave a msg for the other person and exchange emails, if you want, and keep up a correspondence. I was given the address of a female firefighter in Finland and she and a firefighter friend of mine exchanged uniform patches. They loved it! My 2 dtrs have throughly enjoyed doing this. We each have our own acct. They LOVE getting the mail and finding a postcard, to them, from somewhere in the world.

    • 7 lsaufley August 23, 2009 at 9:12 pm

      Thank you so much Leona for letting me know about that! I will definitely be checking into it . . . and probably posting about it soon!

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August 2009

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