Geography lessons with the Griswalds

by Edie Wadsworth on August 26, 2009

As a vital part of our homeschool, I like to choose a few quality toys that they can play with while they’re listening to books on tape or while we’re taking breaks. Legos have to be my favorite, second only to Lincoln logs. But girl-ish legos are hard to come by. So, when I saw the Lego RV—the endless educational possibilities began to fly through my mind.

Yes, my friends, that’s a bike rack on top! This RV is be-dazzled with all kinds of amazing stuff.

And my little Emme spent nearly two hours putting this gem together, all by herself. It wouldn’t have taken her so long, but I had the ‘dad’—whom I shall affectionately call ‘Cousin Eddie’ (not only with his cool hair do–but also the snazzy muscle shirt he’s sporting) and ‘mom’ packing up lots of things from the house to get ready for the family’s first big trip in the RV and kept distracting her with my Cousin Eddie voice.

And this is not your grandmother’s RV. If you’ll look real carefully, one of the Griswald children is asleep in the ‘overhead’ compartment. (She’s yellow with an orange hairbow). This RV has brought us so much entertainment already that I’m thinking of purchasing another one. Camping is always more fun with other families, ya know.
Please notice ‘dad’s’ hairdo.

What does this have to do with homeschooling, you ask? Geography, of course. The Griswalds are gonna travel. A lot. And this particular RV is amphibious, so not to worry about how we’ll get through the straight of Gilbraltar. We’ll get through just fine.

This amazing map I bought at Hobby Lobby last week is one of those ‘easy stick’ gadgets that you can stick and then remove and re-stick. So we applied it to our school table so that we’d always have the world map at the finger tips. This could very well be my most favorite idea yet. We talk geography all the time now. And the Griswald’s travel all over the world. Cousin Eddie doesn’t think twice about traveling to Australia one day……and then Alaska the next. He’s quite adventurous and doesn’t even take the time to repack the RV.

We’ve had more fun with this and find ourselves sitting in there all the time asking each other questions like “Where in the world is Belfast?”

And what could be more entertaining than Cousin Eddie playing air guitar on the Rock of Gilbraltar . Elea snickers everytime she shows us where ‘Chad’ is—-her favorite country in Africa.

We even sometimes use our ‘art man’ to take giant steps across the world. If he’s does a leaping splits he can touch Brazil and Australia at the same time.

Who needs a geography book when you have the Griswalds’ and Art Man?

And have you ever heard Cousin Eddie’s famous homeschool quote?

Oh yeah, Yuban Coffee. You know you can sprinkle that stuff on anything? Ice cream, mashed potatoes, or just eat it right out of the can for a quick pick me up.

Excuse me while I sprinkle coffee grounds on my oatmeal!

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Celesta Brown August 26, 2009 at 12:37 pm

I admire you so! Learning is fun and you prove it here.

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2 Kelly August 26, 2009 at 3:53 pm

We love the Griswald's! Any schooling involving them is bound to be fun and memorable:-)

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3 Melissa Stover August 26, 2009 at 4:06 pm

love it!

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4 Jennifer Rutherford August 26, 2009 at 5:12 pm

Very creative! We've just spent hours ourselves creating with Legos this morning!

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5 Ross August 26, 2009 at 5:31 pm

Where did you get that lego set? I so need that for Christmas!

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6 Carol August 26, 2009 at 6:12 pm

How creative are you!? I love it!

What a great idea to put it on your table to have it at your fingertips. And that lego camper… so cool.

You've given me some ideas.

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7 Musings of a Homeschooling Mom August 26, 2009 at 7:56 pm

I love the map! The Griswald's are great, too!

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8 Cindy August 26, 2009 at 8:33 pm

Now, THAT was fun! I love geography and enjoy making it fun for the kids, too. Thanks for sharing~Cindy

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9 Sarah August 26, 2009 at 9:31 pm

Fantastic! How adorable is that art man! WOnder where I can get one! The map is awesome, it all looks totally fun! xxx

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10 gina August 26, 2009 at 11:30 pm

LOL- what fun!! A cool project for us too- even with all of the girls in school, there are always nights and weekends…

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11 Kathy August 26, 2009 at 11:47 pm

OK. So I always whine about how I wnat to come to your house to do school…I am now realizing the distraction I would be to our children with my loud guffaws and spitting out yuban coffee through my nose. You are so funny!!!

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12 leigh ann August 26, 2009 at 11:58 pm

What kind of coffee? Can I get it at Ingles?

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13 patty August 27, 2009 at 2:06 am

you are too cute and if only i had a teacher like you when i was young… might not have taken me until 30 to start dreaming of africa… :)

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14 Becca~TimeWellSpent August 27, 2009 at 4:32 am

Love this! I too love lego's and recently found some cute pink, purple and girly colors for my daughter who has as much fun with them as my son.

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15 shelly August 27, 2009 at 4:53 am

I love it that your teaching geography with the Griswalds!!! I saw that map the other day, picked it up, and put it back…its next on my list now!!!

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16 edie August 27, 2009 at 11:26 am

Hi girls! I got the lego set from Walmart (bought the last one at my Walmart) and the art man from IKEA! Good luck in your search and in your 'travels'.

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17 Ruthie August 27, 2009 at 3:21 pm

Oh miss edie… I am loving your geography lesson ideas! There is nothing better than a map of the world, legos and the "Art Man". You took me back to days gone by. We have used all of these things in our home for fun and learning disguised as play. When the girls were little I hung a map of the world on the back of the bathroom door so when the went potty they could look at it and dream about where they wanted to go. When they were older they both hung world maps in there rooms as part of the decor. At this point they would lay in bed and dream…So let me tell you how this has impacted them as high school and college students.
When they graduated from high school, they both wanted a trip to France so they took four years of French and yes we took them both to France upon graduation. Sarah went on a mission trip to Haiti her senior year of high school. Ashley went on a mission trip to Portugal during college. And yesterday…I sent my baby Sarah off to study for her junior year in Paris! And as a military family moving all over the country they could tell you all the states and their capitals and as we drove through each state on each of our many moves we would talk about the geography and the topography and the crops and the cities and all the amazing sites along the way. This is the most amazing way to inspire your kids and give them a global perspective. Keep up the great work and have fun! I miss those days sometimes… but then I remember that I get to go visit my baby in Paris for Christmas!

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18 Mandi Shandi August 27, 2009 at 5:44 pm

Love the RV, and love your creative teaching methods. Just make sure Cousin Eddie doesn't empty his septic tank on your front lawn! Gotta love the Griswolds!

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19 Denise August 27, 2009 at 9:55 pm

So funny. We did the same thing with horses–mostly through the states though! What memories!

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20 Jessica August 28, 2009 at 12:08 am

I love a good quote and funny ones are the best! Looks like a lot of fun. Keep up the good work.

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21 glimpse of my world August 28, 2009 at 12:30 am

Glad you are back…. missed your blog for a few days! Hope all is well with you and you and your family are in my prayers!

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22 SmallWorld at Home August 29, 2009 at 4:29 pm

Wonder if that approach would work with a world geography course I'm teaching at our co-op this year–for high schoolers? I gave them a quiz at our first day to see how much world geo they knew, and it was sooooo, um, scary! But I only scored marginally better than their highest scores. I think we need to find that lego RV!

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23 Ami September 3, 2009 at 3:12 am

Hi there Ms Edie-
And welcome to your schoolyear- or maybe it's better to say that the learning never stops at your place?

Wanted to share an idea with you that my Dad who is now a kindergarten teacher uses. He asks friends and family to send postcards to his class when they travel then posts them on a map. This was great back in my globe tripping days for work and I still have friends who send him postcards every now and then. Kind of a fun way to make far away places seem more real.

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