California History: Geography

As some of you know, I absolutely love to study and read about history. So when I was asked to teach California History at our campus day I said, “yes!” How could I not, after all I was going to have 2 of my kids in the class!

So, for our first project I decided we should all get familiar with the geography of California. After all, everything the we will be studying will be about our state. So here is what we did!

I invited all the parents in class to get a large pizza box, you can ask any pizza restaurant for a large box and they will gladly give it to you. Next I gave each student an oversized print out of California to cut out and trace in their pizza box. After that we made salt dough to create the California, keeping in mind the valley’s and mountains.

Here is our recipe;

2 cups AP flour

1 cup salt

Add just enough water to make cookie dough consistency. If it is sticky add more flour.

Your child should easily be able to shape the state of California on his or her own. I had many class helpers to help me mix in class, however there were a couple kids who didn’t get a chance to make theirs in class. So the were able to finish at home. Just like my son.

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Looking good!

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Don’t forget to add your mountains and the central valley!

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After almost 2 weeks of letting the salt dough dry, we started to paint the different regions by color.

Yellow paint, for the Central Valley( Salinas, San Fernando and Los Angeles Basin)
Green paint, for coast and forest ares (includes entire coastline and Sierra Nevada)
Brown paint, for Desert areas (Mohave and Colorado)
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We just used kids craft paint for this project, nothing fancy.

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No to to let the paint dry!

Later we added the main rivers, lakes, the Pacific ocean and the neighboring states.

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After this was all dried, we waited a few weeks before we came back to this map. We waited until we started talking about the Missions. At this point, we made little flags with all the missions and hot glued them on the map in the location they are built in California.

What we did after we printed my list was snap toothpicks in half and tape the names on like flags. All 21 missions.

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Here is another view.

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The only thing we didn’t do at this time, was write the name of the states neighboring California and the Pacific coast. But we did add them later.

The pizza box made it easy to transport from class to home, and then from home to class. The toothpicks snapped in half made closing the pizza box doable. But if something gets places on top of the pizza box some of the toothpicks will stick to the top. We had that happen to one of our maps.

I hope you enjoyed our California History project and I would love to see pictures if you decide to make one for your homeschool lesson.

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“And God blessed them, and God said unto them, be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” Genesis 1:28

 

Homeschool Goal #4

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Another fun homeschool goal is more time in the kitchen! Yes, homeschool goal #4 is teaching a real cooking class to my kids. It’s one thing when they follow a simple cookie or muffin recipe, but to learn real knife skills, food safety, what is the difference between braise and Saute, what is a pan sauce, etc. That is the goal for this school year. Setting aside some time to make a meal from picking out your ingredients and making a main, side and vegetable dish.

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Plus, dessert! Which for many is the best part! When I say dessert I mean, let’s take advantage of the fruits of the season and make a fresh fruit tart, a rustic gallete or 100% homemade ice cream sandwiches! Cooking should be fun and a way to bring us closer together as a family as we work in the kitchen together.

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Another bonus, is teaching them this skill can be used to serve others in our community or neighborhood. If a sick neighbor needs a meal, they can make one. If they are at a friend’s house and they notice that helping hands are needed, they can with confidence lend a helping hand. It is the beauty of learning to serve just as our Lord Jesus came to serve and not be served. We are to be hands and feet.

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“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” Philippians 2:5-8 NKJV

Homeschool Goal #3

Homeschool goal #3

Continuing my list, #3 homeschool goal for the new school year is to spend more creative art time with the kids.  Doing lots more hands-on art projects for science and history. Plus working on some themed paintings.

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There truly is something soothing about putting on some classical music and breaking out the acrylic paints and canvas and just exploring colors and shapes. It’s also the best medium to teach kids that things don’t have to be perfect. Sometimes painting is just the opportunity to express our feelings, whether be color choices or by brush strokes. It really can be a therapeutic process. I know I thoroughly enjoy it, and absolutely love watching children paint on canvas. Kids truly love receiving a canvas to work on. They feel so proud, honored, and mature for the opportunity to work on them.

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I love watching their expressions when I set up our art space.

The best part is teaching them how to take constructive criticism. I know this is a huge challenge for many of us. We can get offended or hurt. But this has worked as a discipline in our house, so that we can work to improve  ourselves without taking offense (no this has not been seamless of course). Plus, learning just because someone has some feedback, it does not mean we should or have to take it. Then the bigger part is how do you respond to someone’s criticism, without being rude or angry. That is tough, even for adults. As for me? Absolutely, it can be difficult!

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Oh, the blessing this provides for more teachable moments, for them and for me.

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I hope you find the time and to courage (as it can be sometimes) to add more art time to your routine.

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“Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6