How to Use a Move to a New State for Homeschool GeographyAdena Foster
Moving from one home to another can be an overwhelming venture, especially if you are moving to another state. If you are attempting a move while homeschooling, it can be even more difficult. One of the best ways to make the transition easier is to involve your kids. This often includes adjusting your studies to work around the move.
We are currently moving from Florida to Georgia. Not only did this move happen suddenly and in the middle of our school year, but it also happened during the holidays. I had to change my expectations of what was going to be accomplished in our school and also figure out how to get the boys excited about the move. The upside to our move was that it doubled as authentic American geography! This is how I used our move as the basis of some geography lessons.
Read Books About the State
There’s nothing quite like reading a good book to get excited about visiting or living somewhere new. Here are some titles that my kids enjoyed (affiliate links):
- Discover America State by State series
- The Twelve Days of Christmas in America series
- I’m Reading about Georgia by Carole Marsh (This is one of our favorite children’s authors and she has written many mysteries that are based on famous places. Be sure to look and see if there’s one based in your own state.) This is a colorful book that lists all of the basic facts about the state.
- The Big Georgia Reproducible Activity Book by Carole Marsh. We have previously used Marsh’s activity books for other states so I was glad to see she had one for Georgia.
- Little Warrior: Boy Patriot of Georgia by Geoff Baggett. This book tells the account of a young boy living on the Georgia frontier during the Revolutionary War.
Go on a Scavenger Hunt
There are many fun types of scavenger hunts you can take from the popular Pokemon Go to traditional letterboxing. On a broad scale, I like to first do an online scavenger hunt to learn about the entire state. Since my boys like learning about historical battles, I printed a Civil War map from WonderMaps.
Since we will be living near the National Infantry Museum in Columbus, that will be one of our first field trips. I want the boys to have a general idea of what role Georgia played in the wars before we go. The boys also used the maps to see how far we will be from their grandparents and other siblings. My youngest was relieved that everyone is still within a day’s drive.
The boys and I then did some internet searching to learn the best places to visit and best things to do in Georgia. Since we will be practically living on the Alabama line, we did those same searches for Alabama. Not only were we learning the special characteristics of each state, but we were making long term plans for future field trips.
Last but not least, we used Yelp to search the best food spots. We especially like to see if there are any places that have been shown on the Food Network programs Man vs. Food and Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.
Becoming familiar with some of the popular sites and restaurants gave my children something to look forward to since we hope to visit all of those locations after we are settled in our new state. This research is very natural and informal. The kids don’t even realize that they are ingesting geography knowledge as we are doing it.
Create a Movie List
Search for top movies set in your new state of residence. (Of course use discretion when showing movies to young children. Do your research before sitting down to view.) Although states are not always accurately portrayed in movies, the films still give us a starting point for research and/or discussion.
Here’s our Georgia list of movies:
- Fried Green Tomatoes
- Driving Miss Daisy
- Gone with the Wind
- Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
- Forest Gump
- The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
Most of all, involve your kids and make learning about your state an adventure. Use the maps to mark national parks and then go visit them. And if you are going to be in the car for a while, don’t forget to get a state coloring book.