Welcome to the Eight For Each State US Geography tour. I am so glad you are joining us.
Welcome back! If you have been following this US Geography study for awhile, you know we are just coming back from our summer break. We are excited to pick up right where we left off with Missouri.
I had actually planned to do Missouri at the end of last year. My goal was to finish 25 states for each of two years. Well, life overtook my plans. But I am so glad this state study fell where it did. We had a blast with what I have begun to call, “Ruth’s DDL (delight directed learning) project.”
Read on to find out all the fun we had as we toured Missouri!
1. US Geography Resources
Because some of you might just be joining us, I wanted to point you to our Introduction to Eight for Each State. In it I list resources and strategies for our state study. Below are just a few of the things you will find in the introduction.
- US Embassy at Vienna State Videos – 34 state videos featuring an individual who is from each state and currently works at the US Embassy in Vienna. Sort of a weird combination, but it works. There is one for Missouri.
- Socratica Visit the States Videos – 20 states in alphabetical order up to Maryland. These are short and sweet.
- State by State Alphabet Books – The Discover America series is by far the most entertaining of all the state books we have read. We love them!
- Hello USA series – These started out as just the non fiction book I thought we needed to complete our notebooking pages. They have become what my daughter reaches for first. She knows where to find the state song, recipe and fun places to visit.
- Enchanted Homescholing Mom State Series – Sarah Joan is loving these notebooking pages. They are a great middle ground between just plain coloring and the more writing intensive notebooking pages Ruth uses.
- Quick Look at These United States – Ruth’s notebooking pages offer a good solid look at each state with a map page.
- The United States Cookbook by Joan D’Amico and Karen E. Drummond – Our go-to resource for state food. And, you can’t have a state study without food!
2. Missouri Books
- Missouri Hello USA by Rita Ladoux – As stated above, these are our go to nonfiction books for Ruth. The recipes in the back have helped us supplement our state cookbook more than once.
- S is for Show Me: A Missouri Alphabet by Judy Young – We love alphabet books! Especially ones that give more information after whetting our appetite for landmarks and lore with fun rhyming verse.
- Weird Missouri: Your Travel Guide to Missouri’s Local Legends and Best Kept Secrets by James Strait – This book looks like it could be a lot of fun! Our library has Weird USA and we think it is a hoot!
While Laura Ingalls Wilder lived many places in her life, she eventually settled in Mansfield, Missouri. For this reason, I chose Missouri as the state to feature this famous American.
If you have not read the series, now is a great time to start it! The Little House books are by far our family’s favorite stories to listen to over and over again.
To explore further, check out Inside Laura’s Little House: The Little House on the Prairie Treasury by Carolyn Strom Collins. This is the book we used for our Laura projects.
We chose to make the headbands on page 67.
We also chose to make the Mary and Laura’s Nightcaps on page 22.
For other ideas on how to explore the prairie life of Laura and her family try:
- The Little House Cookbook: Frontier Foods from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Classic Stories by Barbara M. Walker
- My Little House Crafts Book: 18 Projects from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House Stories by Carolyn Strom Collins
- My Little House Sewing Book by Margaret Irwin
4. Mark Twain
It was fun to watch Ruth puzzle a bit about the first few sentences of the book I began to read to them as we started to learn about Mark Twain.
“I thought we were reading about Mark Twain!” she sputtered. “Who is this Sam person?” Thus began not only our discussion on Mark Twain but on pen names and why an author might choose to use one.
We read several of the books below and then Ruth drew a fine Mark Twain piloting a steam boat.
- Who Was Mark Twain?: Who Was? by April Jones Prince
- River Boy: The Story of Mark Twain by William Anderson – I loved this picture book about the childhood of Mark Twain!
- Mark Twain: Young Writer by Miriam E. Mason
- A whole slew of Mark Twain online resources from The Homeschool Mom
- Quotations For Kids by J.A. Senn – I used this book to introduce Ruth to the fun filled world of quotations. She looked up Mark Twain quotes until she found one she liked. Then she added it to her picture.
5. Prairie Meal
Ruth wanted to make an entire meal by herself. I have to admit, I wasn’t sure about this idea. However, I was heading to the beach and Grandma was in town. I thought it would be a great way for Grandma and Ruth to have some bonding time in the kitchen. Turns out Ruth learned that cooking prairie food is a lot harder than it looks! But she had a good time anyway.
- Rye n’ Injun Bread from The Little House Cookbook: Frontier Foods from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Classic Stories by Barbara M. Walker
- Corn Chowder and Melissa’s Nutless Carrot Cake from My Prairie Cookbook: Memories and Frontier Food from My Little House to Yours by Melissa Gilbert
6. St. Louis Arch
Sarah Joan’s notebooking pages featured the St. Louis Arch as the landmark for Missouri. The Arch is actually part of a park called the Jefferson National Expansion Monument which also includes the courthouse where the Dred Scott decision was made.
Learn more here:
- Jefferson National Expansion Memorial
- A quick amateur video to the top of The Arch
- A longer video about the St. Louis Arch
- A very detailed article with the history of the structure – For older students.
7. The Pony Express
The Pony Express was an 19-month whirlwind business endeavor to bring mail fast across the country. The route stretched from St. Joseph, Missouri to Sacramento, California. It ran from April 1860 to October 1861. It is a fun topic to look at as you study Missouri on your US Geography tour.
- They’re Off! : The Story of the Pony Express by Cheryl Harness
- Off Like the Wind!: The First Ride of the Pony Express by Michael P. Spradlin
- A Youtube reading of Off Like the Wind
- Activities for Off Like the Wind from Ready-Set-Read
- Try it! Why was the Pony Express so much faster? If you have many people, arrange teams. On one team, put one person. On the other put everyone else. Mark off a distance to run outside. The team with many people will take turns like in a relay. The team with one person will run a lap for each person on the other team. What happened? Why?
8. Ruth’s DDL or The Homeschool World’s Fair Expo 2015
When I handed Ruth the book, Meet Me in St. Louis: A Trip to the 1904 World’s Fair by Robert Jackson to read, I had no idea what was coming next! This book is informative, yes, but in a fascinating way! The photographs take you back to a time when amazing things were built just because they could be built.
Ruth bubbled with this excitement when she came to me to ask expectantly, “Mom, can we please go to St. Louis at the time of year when the World’s Fair is going on?” I felt like the pin that pops the balloon of a wide eyed one year old. “Oh’ sweet heart, I am so sorry, but they don’t do that anymore.”
It didn’t take long for Ruth’s disappointment to turn into innovation of her own. “We will have a World’s Fair right here! Can we Mom?” How could I say no? A few day’s later, our back porch was turned into an expo to remember!
S is for Show Me: A Missouri Alphabet (Discover America State by State)Missouri (Hello U.S.A.)The U.S. History Cookbook: Delicious Recipes and Exciting Events from the PastWeird Missouri: Your Travel Guide to Missouri’s Local Legends and Best Kept SecretsThe Little HouseInside Laura’s Little House: The Little House on the Prairie Treasury by Carolyn Strom Collins (2000-09-05)The Little House Cookbook: Frontier Foods from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Classic StoriesMy Little House Crafts Book: 18 Projects from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House Stories (Little House Nonfiction)My Little House Sewing Book (Little House Merchandise)Who Was Mark Twain?: Who Was?River Boy: The Story of Mark TwainMark Twain: Young Writer (Childhood of Famous Americans)My Prairie Cookbook: Memories and Frontier Food from My Little House to YoursThey’re Off! : The Story of the Pony ExpressOff Like the Wind!: The First Ride of the Pony ExpressMeet Me in St. Louis: A Trip to the 1904 World’s Fair
Ruth began by creating a travel brochure for the original World’s Fair in St. Louis. This was a several day project, but very worthwhile for her. I saved the original and made several copies for the guests of our expo to take home with them.
To prepare the exhibits, or Palaces, Ruth consulted her book extensively. She began by making the Tyrolean Alps exhibit with nearly every wooden block in the house!
The Palace of Art displayed some of our family’s most recent chalk pastel artwork.
The Palaces of Transportation and Architecture included original lego creations and the girls dressed up in costumes to represent the world cultures who attended the fair. Ruth even enlisted Anna and Benaiah to play zoo creatures!
After all the Palaces were viewed, guests were invited to a piano and dance concert.
Our fair ended with a splendid array of foods inspired by those found at the original fair. Puffed rice, ice cream cones, hot dogs and Dr. Pepper were among the foods to gain popularity because of the World’s Fair. We also had an Almond Covered Peanut Butter Elephant. This was also in the book, and quite a challenge to replicate, but I think we managed to get the general idea.
What a time we had! Sometimes I feel like by straying so far off the path of our original study, I am losing time. I have to remind myself, that these are the moments we are going to remember on our US Geography tour. Besides, Ruth and Sarah Joan both learned a great deal about planing an event, presenting ideas, and how to be good hostesses.
What delight directed detours has your state study taken? I would love to hear about them!
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