Curriculum for 3rd Graders Wanting to Learn About the US States

A useful question recently asked in a Facebook group I frequent. Here are the suggestions: and Where the States Got Their Shapes on Netflix. Not curriculum, but fun ways to learn about the states and their locations.

Teachers pay teachers has some good units. That is my go-to when I can’t find something. I love the Art History I got this year.

We have been using these pages and playing games:

Make sure to check out the Stack the States app!

There’s a 50 states unit in the 9-11 level of Moving Beyond the Page. You can buy just that unit.

We bought a states coloring book that has information about each state also. I can’t remember the name of the book but I found it on Amazon.

We have the stack your states app and the card/board game called scrambled states of America. My almost 7-year-old has learned a few just from a handful of times playing those games.

We used Stack the states too! She loved the challenge of the app and it kept her engaged. No busy work, she didn’t even realize she was learning so much. The retention rate is amazing.

There’s a workbook of close reads from spectrum on each state that I’ve paired with a unit from TPT and biography close reads for both national parks and famous figures in that state. I’m adding tree and bird info and some postcards for writing practice. I’m making a folder for each to do throughout the year as interested.


Another Homeschooler Hits The News For Being Pro-Life

This time, it’s a 19-year-old Canadian politician

All things considered, this is nothing short of astounding.

A 19-year-old homeschool graduate and pro-life advocate won a provincial by-election by a landslide Thursday night, becoming the youngest Member of Provincial Parliament in Ontario history. – Life Site News

It is sad to say this, but generally, when I see “homeschool” or “homeschooler” in a headline, I assume it isn’t a good thing. I have mixed feelings about this one.

There is no doubt that Sam Oosterhoff is furthering the stereotype that all homeschoolers are conservative Christians. Of course, as a secular homeschooler, I don’t like this. I would prefer for people not to judge me on my homeschooling because every media hit with homeschooling revolves around conservative Christians.

Nevertheless, I do enjoy seeing ‘proof’ that homeschoolers are successful and competent people. I will respect his beliefs although I strongly disagree with some of them.

As far as Canadian politics? Well… I am thoroughly uneducated and won’t even comment. But, it seems like the campaign was… a normal political campaign :D.


Exposing Our Children to the 2016 Presidential Election

I’m not happy about the number of inappropriate election scandals this year. Elections are a great time for educational experience. Instead, this year the presidential candidates are dead set on insulting each other.

I think a 10-year-old with autism said it best, “ALL politicians lie!”

I think the election is an important issue and I’ve gathered some opinions about how other homeschoolers are approaching the election.

The best way to make the 2016 election a learning experience

I have a older teen, so we’re not hiding the coverage from him. We are talking about realities of life in this time, when everything is potentially recorded, how we expect him to interact with women and fact checking ads.

We have a 10-year-old also. We are grateful he’s not really interested in the news yet. But in 2020, he’ll get the same. We will probably start with the congressional election 2 years earlier.

I love this idea! Put the kids in charge of fact checking! This is a great way for them to learn and hopefully uncover the right information. However, they might begin to learn that even the fact check websites are sometimes biased.

Use Game of Thrones

This is one way to encourage political education!

First, we watched Game of Thrones and discussed political intrigue. Then, I set him loose on internet news sites and let him make his own decision about a presidential pick. Maybe not conventional, but he now has a better grasp of politics than most adults and he has become very interested in politics all the way down to our recent school board elections. (I know, why would a homeschool kid care about the school board, but he did.) I don’t censor what he watches, but I am available for questions and to discuss how what he watches compares to reality and our family morality. This was not my original plan on how to teach politics. He had me at my wits’ end and his is what happened.

Be completely open about it

This is another solution, simply be 100% transparent.

I am completely open about it with my 12 year old daughter. We talk about rape culture, dismissing women, how women are sexualized in advertising and the media. We even read some of the tweet storm of women discussing what happened to them. We then discussed how to handle it when someone tries something like that with her. Don’t be uncomfortable, don’t shrink yourself and smile, loudly say what needs to be said, “get off me! Don’t touch me!” And strike out where you can hurt them. We discuss how no one has the right to touch her…ever.

Starting early on is never a bad idea. My best friend started talking to her boys about the proper way to respect women at an early age.

I discuss it with my 12 yr old granddaughter. I have to be careful, because her parents are on the other political spectrum from me 🙂 I hear their “talking points” when she makes a statement. So, I tell her MY position, explain why I believe what I believe, show her how to research and make informed decisions. And, I try not to throw up at some of her “canned” comments she heard from her parents LOL But, I tell her, it’s MY opinion, and others disagree. I tell her she needs to study, watch, listen, learn for herself. Anything I say, she needs to verify it for herself. I explain about moral values vs religious values – that a religion may have unique values that should be allowed to be practiced personally, but have no place in our laws. That we don’t want to live in a Theocracy and why. We ralk about women’s issues, about why we need to stay true to ourselves, how our culture still demeans women, and that we CAN make a difference if we continue to speak out against misogyny. Anyway, we have good discussions, and hopefully, she will make up her own mind based on truth, not media talking points, or just because someone shouts it louder. She’s smart, inquisitive, and wants to learn and understand. It’s scary thinking that she may decide differently! But, I don’t want a robot, I want her to grow up into a thinking, informed woman. Since I am her teacher, but her parents are her PARENTS, I walk a fine line when I teach her about our government, political process, and political climate!

Nasty ads are hidden everywhere

My youngest is 5 and can read extremely well. So she has picked up a few things here and there. Ads on her favorite YouTube channels can be the worst. At this age, I want to keep her as sheltered as possible. When she does ask questions, I’ll answer them and look up the answers.

I wanted to add.. it’s been a good conversation starter with my teen about certain issues.

What happens when you don’t have cable?

We don’t have cable but the kids hear a little here or there. Thanks to my MIL, my 10 and 13 year olds got an earful about Trump v Clinton. Good opportunity talk. It goes something like this:

People have different opinions on different things. People will try to make it seem like their guy/gal is a savior, and the other guy is a devil. In reality they all have shortcomings. Why? (they answer with jokes and reasonable answers.) The candidates are humans, and we know the only perfect person was Jesus, and he was smart enough to not want to get into politics! (That’s our point of view.)

Some people think X or Y about Z. You can see why they think that, because blah, blah, blah. But on the other hand, blah, blah, blah. People’s experiences and who they listen to influence what the believe. People don’t even agree on what the government should be in charge of. (We sidetrack for a minute here on the Constitution.)

Then they ask what I believe on a couple of things, I tell them in basic terms and then tell them why. We should always know WHY we believe something so that we can better state why our opinion is valid. Sometimes talking to people who you disagree with will teach you something you didn’t know. (Rare with adults but possible!) Sometimes we need to learn more about a topic to have a better opinion.

I always make sure to say that not everyone agrees, but that’s OK as long as we can be kind to one another. God loves everyone so we should too. (Derailment of conversation when 10 year old parrots some of Nana’s lovely opinions.) I then ban them from stating political opinions, but encourage them to either ask questions of why to people they think this or that (for the sake of not actually banning political conversations, which I wish I could do a little.)


Contingency: Pros & Cons of Homeschooling and the Parent’s Philosophy

Amidst the never-ending questions and debates about the pros and cons of homeschooling, I find some solace in my seemingly independent belief that we greatly blow this out of proportion. This is no rocket science. The quality of a child’s homeschool experience is directly related to the parents’ philosophy.

Whoever told you homeschooling was homogeneous? I would like to believe that in time we will continue to break the molds that form our common stereotypes. Alas, my knowledge of history begs to differ.

As humans, we find great utility in compartmentalizing. In fact, philosophically we cannot function any other way. There are thousands of beliefs that we must accept without proof. We must take for granted some things, leaning upon the work and evolution of generations past. This is a characteristic that Alexis de Tocqueville overemphasizes in his book about American democracy, Democracy in America (1835).

We love generalized ideas because they save us time. They are pragmatic. As pragmatic Americans, we are in a rush, always. And while we cannot live without such ideas, we over-indulge.

Again I will repeat, whoever told you homeschooling was homogeneous?

I’ve heard a saying several times. They say that no two homeschools are alike, just as no two fingerprints are the same. How silly.

How silly that this resonates so strongly with us. We have described the essence of life itself and folded its corners around our cause.

On the one hand, please do not interpret me as one who holds disdain for your unique snowflake syndrome, for I am promoting it. On the other, as we stroke our egos I should cry out once more, “homogenous!”

The gravity of our choice to press our thumbs into our children’s foreheads should be almost crippling. Can our courage withstand long enough to survey the alternative? Look! Their necks in clamps, jerked to the moan of the machine, assembly lines stamp a barcode to their skulls.

Have you watched this machine with me? Like me, have you quietly traced the ridges of a barcode that would not scan while he cries into your bosom?

We know the barcodes do not always scan. We know how perilous it is to be clasp around the neck. When the floor drops out from beneath our feet, can we really complain that we dangle by our chins? Days ago it was more pragmatic to accept this fate.

But turn for a minute. Look, there, towards the corner. Backs turned, they face the corner where flames are dancing.  They fan the flames, one day hoping to be taken up in the flames.The flames leap higher.


Not so quickly. See, even closer to the wall others are pointing at the shadows. Another group builds their own conveyor belt. Have they not realized there is no such thing as safe floors? With your eyes open, do you see the people running? Do you see the technical minds developing videos of those same shadows?

Our traits are magnified. As we take control, the beauty of our swirls and patterns is amplified. And the crevices in between fissure deeply.

If he could, I believe he would beg, “press gently.”
Have you recognized your thumbprint?

You reached out to me asking for the pros and cons. I hope you now realize you must learn your own patterns. Learn your own crevices. Now, you tell me the pros and cons of homeschooling.