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The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine


March 13, 2013 


Geography on the Go!



Deborah's  Picture
Deborah Wuehler and family


We are experiencing "Geography on the Go" right now. Sitting in our 15-passenger van watching the geography go right past as we drive from northern to southern California and back again. We are enjoying the mountains, the ocean, the valleys, the sun, and the snow. As we are visiting our boys in Los Angeles, we are experiencing a whole different culture here in this University City than in our own back home.


We have met people from so many far away geographical places on this trip. Our boys live in a house with students from Saudi Arabia, and the owner has housekeepers who are from Mexico. The pastor of their church is from Ireland, and the owner of one of their workplaces is from Germany. We met their friends from Italy, China, and Sri Lanka. In California, we live in a multi-cultural society that represents a vast geographical map. When we get home, we will look at the map and see where they are located.


This is one way we've taught what I would call living geography. Another way is when letters come from the missionaries and children and organizations we support, we take a look at that country and delve in to study more when we can. Sending our older children on mission trips to other countries is a great learning experience in more ways than just geography. They learn teamwork, compassion, and gratitude as they share the gospel of Jesus Christ. These things are the same in any language or geographical location, and are profitable for more than just this lifetime.


Additionally, when the kids are reading good literature, biographies, or history, you can print out a map of the country or countries mentioned, have them mark it up with the book's information, and put it in a binder. 


You can get creative with geography and you can also review a multitude of helpful and entertaining geography products here. Don't forget about the free monthly magazine, where our March 2012 and March 2013 issues cover geography in several helpful articles. Our goal here is to support you in all of your homeschooling subjects, including geography.


What does the Bible say about geography? "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15). How better to learn this type of Biblical geography than teaching children at Home Where They Belong.



TOS Senior Editor  


P.S. If you are planning to travel, I would suggest reading about Donna Rees's practical and fun idea of creating Travel Kits for your children. We have made these each time we travel and it helps make the travel time less stressful for dad and mom, and more fun for everyone. You can get the Travel Kits E-Book FREE this month! Simply find the ad in the March issue of the magazine and follow the instructions. Hint: The ad is between pages 25-35.


Sponsor Article


The Titanic Museum Attraction

"It is not a tourist attraction . . . it is an experience!"

                         -Kathy Knight, Greenville City Schools




During a recent field trip to the permanent, interactive Titanic Museum Attraction in Pigeon Forge, a student was amazed to learn how primitive 1912's cutting-edge navigational technology was compared to that of today. "You mean this giant ship was out in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean with no radios or radar or anything?  No way!" he said in disbelief.


As his class toured the museum attraction's re-created Marconi Wireless Room, the seven-year-old boy's mind continued to race with questions:  How did they know where they were?  Was a telegraph system all they had to go by?  Who operated it?  Just how far could signals reach?  What's Morse code?  Is it hard to learn?


"It takes practice," answered a museum-crew instructor, "but I can teach you." The curious youngster and his classmates watched and listened, then the boy pretended to be a wireless operator and tapped out an SOS message on the telegraph.  "Ships within a 250-mile range, which broadened slightly at night, could receive Morse code messages at 25-words per minute," said the instructor. "On the night of the sinking, Titanic's two young telegraph operators worked until the end, hoping their distress signals were within range of just one other ship." 


And so, with each spark of a telegraph key, young museum visitors can literally tap into new worlds of discovery, imagination and learning. "We see this amazing educational progression every day," says owner John Joslyn. "It starts with natural curiosity and grows into a much deeper desire to know more--about the ship, its 2,208 passengers and crew and the incredible stories they have to tell."


The guiding principle of the Titanic Museum Attraction in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, is to honor and pay tribute to every passenger and crew member who sailed the fated maiden voyage. This year, both our museums [Branson, MO & Pigeon Forge, TN] will invite boys and girls to discover The Children of Titanic


The RMS Titanic sailed with 2,208 people on board--133 of them were children. These were Titanic's littlest heroes. What they saw, heard, and felt from the moment they boarded the ship has been documented and visualized for the first time anywhere by the Titanic Museum Attraction in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. This year-long, exclusive exhibit is a celebration of The Children of Titanic whose bravery, innocence, and faith can be an inspiration to us all. Visit our website at


The Familyman

This is a topic I can sink my teeth into. In fact, we're getting ready for a couple months of On-the-Road-Again-Geography (think Willie Nelson). In just a couple of weeks, I'll fire up the Familyman Mobile and we'll hit the open road to experience the best this country has to offer.


The great thing about this "geography course" is that it is open to anyone. All you have to do is load up the car and head out. Why, in just a few hours of travel, you see changes in the climate, terrain, and plant life. I love it!!! I love going north, south, east and west (but especially south this time of year).


It's just amazing how different one country can be. And the wonderful thing about this geography lesson is that you don't have to grade it or even teach it . . . you get to experience it.


But that's the rub as I see it. Homeschoolers tend to ruin that kind of experiential learning by having the kids write a report about it or answer questions about it. Not us, we just want our kids to experience it without having to label it as official school.


Now, I know you might be reading this and thinking to yourself, but we don't have the money to take a long road trip. That may be true for a long road trip, but it's amazing to me how much you can see in just a few hours from home. It costs a little, but it's worth every nickel spent.


Dad, can I talk to you one-on-one for a second? I know your wife would love to take a family road trip--and I also know sometimes we dads dig in and refuse for a variety of dumb, selfish reasons. Can I encourage you to suck it up and load up the truck and experience some geography?!!


OK, sing with me: "On the road again. Just can't wait to get on the road again. . . ." 


Be Real, 



P.S. I'll be in Greenville, S.C., this weekend at the Great Homeschool Convention. First person to stop by my booth and sing Willie's song gets a free audio CD of their choosing!


Runkle Geography

Use Geography to understand history. Where did the people live? What are their natural resources? Are they industrialized or third world? Geography provides the answers.


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2013 Annual Print Book
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2013 Print Book

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over 275 pages in this full color one-of-a-kind print magazine for homeschoolers, by homeschoolers. 

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Advertisement Teaching children how to love geography for over 30 years. Designed for "all ages" as a real globe thats huggable and soft. The award winning Hugg-A-Planet®, Earth has over 600 places labeled. This unique educational experience is always just a hug away! Also available is Hugg-A-Planet MARS and MOON. Use Coupon-code TEACH for discount.  




4 Steps to Impact   
Families for Christ!
Bible Bee 
 Perform these steps to strengthen Christian families
 in your area this summer, including yours!
Click here to investigate!



Diana Waring
Diana Waring

Relational Homeschooling 


Dear Friends,


This week's topic makes me smile because I have learned much firsthand knowledge of geography from traveling . . .  Actually, my kids visited 49 of the 50 states before graduating from homeschool high school, and they not only knew where each state was located on the map, they knew what the local food tasted like!


So, how are you doing with geography? Is it one of those painful subjects for you? Or one you think--with a great deal of shrinking and trepidation--that you must get to someday?  Since we don't have a lot of great models for making geography come alive (it tends to be a boring subject in school), I thought you might enjoy hearing some ways to make it POP!


First of all, turn geography into a game. You can use manufactured games, or, you can manufacture your own. It can be a board game, a word game, a card game, an outdoor game, a running game, a tag game . . . There are a tremendous number of options!  (If you're really interested in this concept, you might want to check out my curriculum.)


Second, try eating your geography. Sound wild? Well, it's really pretty simple. If you're studying Italy, for instance, eat the foods or use the ingredients that come from each region, like olive oil, olives, or garlic. Libraries and online recipe sources can perk up any study of geography.  Studying France? There's no motivation for learning about this country that is quite as tasty as French crepes!



Third, tie geography to its logical cousin--history. If you learn, for instance, about Hannibal crossing the Alps with soldiers, horses, and elephants during the Punic Wars, the geography of northern Africa and southern Europe will leap into vivid reality.  In fact, your kids might become so fascinated with this that they build their own models out of papier maché or clay! (Hmmm.  I feel the need to refer you once again to my curriculum.)


Finally, don't ignore your local geography! Take a walk, take a hike, take a drive, and explore the wonders of your own locale. Allow your children to experience the differences between mountains and deserts, between rivers and ponds, between cities and farmlands. This is what will actually help them make the connection between what they read about in a geography book and the reality of what it is like in a particular location.


Remember, stay relational.



P.S. We'll be at the GHC Greenville convention this weekend and we'd LOVE to meet you! Just stop by our booth and tell us you are THM readers--we'll delightedly give you a free gift!



Schoolhouse Freebie

This week's free resource is an Invention Timeline. You'll find a wide variety of lessons, activities, and printable pages in




Two Great Homeschool Conventions! Don't Miss the SouthEast Homeschool Convention, March 14-16, 2013, Greenville, SC; and the MidWest Homeschool Convention, April 4-6, 2013, Cincinnati, OH. Encouraging and informative workshops! Huge exhibit hall! Amazing featured speakers! Comedian--Tim Hawkins! Abortion Survivor--Gianna Jessen! MidWest Only--Dr. Ron Paul!   


Raising Real Men

Hal & Melanie Young


Several of our sons have done well in state-level geography bees, including one who ranked No. 2 in the whole state. When a public school teacher turned to Melanie in amazement and asked "What curriculum do you use?" she had to admit a dark secret . . . We seldom use a geography curriculum at all! So how do we help our children learn it?



  • Make it accessible: For years, we kept a world map and a U.S. map under plastic on our kitchen table (you can get tough, clear plastic in home improvement stores and fabric counters of discount stores). As we talked about current events over dinner, we'd simply illustrate them from where we sat. "There's flooding in the Hunan province of China. That's over there, under the green beans." One family we met had a world map which covered the wall of their playroom, from floor to ceiling!
  • Make it personal: Use your family's history and your child's experiences to make geography real for them. Our four-year-old son once stepped to a chalkboard and sketched a very accurate map of the eastern U.S. We were shocked! When we asked how he could do that, he told us a short story about each state, just like we'd told him: "Grandma and Grandpa live here, Uncle Stan lives here, this is where we went on vacation. . . ." And he had learned the shapes from a jigsaw puzzle!
  • Make it memorable: Much of history is connected to geography, whether it's the western expansion of the U.S., the military campaigns of Napoleon, or the growth of colonialism. We are fans of the novels of G.A. Henty, who wrote historical fiction with loads of geographical detail. Look for map clues in all your children's reading and point them out--follow the Ingalls family in the Little House series, explore the lands visited in missionary biographies, trace the Mediterranean travels of the apostle Paul or the journeys of Marco Polo! And don't overlook the maps in the back of your Bible--many of those countries, from Israel and Egypt to Babylon and Persia, are frequently in the news today.
  • Make it fun: Kids love maps and globes. Get them! There are puzzles, games, memory songs, and books galore, where geography is either taught or caught. All of these can be effective tools for sharing the outlines of God's world!


Whatever you do, point out that knowing something of geography can be an opening for sharing God's love with others. You may find, like we have, that most people haven't even heard of Kyrgyzstan or know precisely where Saskatchewan is, but knowing geography can give you more opportunities for friendship and ministry than you may have dreamed.


"[God] hath made of one blood all nations of men . . . and the bounds of their habitation" (Acts 17:26).


Yours in the battle,
Hal and Melanie Young


P.S. G.A. Henty novels are full of adventure, battles, and excitement while teaching virtuous character, history, and geography. We love the audiobook versions of the G.A. Henty novels so much that we recently started carrying them on our website. Check them out here.




Looking for great homeschool resources? Check out The Schoolhouse® Directories. Whether you're looking for freebies, reading help, toys, travel, online learning, summer activities, educational apps, back-to-school ideas, homeschool businesses, special needs support, last minute gifts, or colleges--you'll find what you need. View the Schoolhouse Directories here.


Coming in March 2013 . . .

Homeschool Mom Burnout

Featuring Heidi St. John  



The Busy Homeschool Mom's Guide to Daytime: 

How to Fit Your Size 16 Day Into a Size 10

Heidi St. John has been married to her husband Jay since 1989. They have seven children ages 1 to 20 and have homeschooled all the way through high school. A favorite conference speaker, Heidi approaches homeschooling with humor and grace at events all across North America. 
Her passion to encourage homeschool moms and set them free to be who God has created them to be will bless and encourage you.


Visit for more information.


Sign up for the Expo here!



Also, you won't want to miss . . .


Vendor Workshop


See The Light  


Join our Free Online Schoolhouse Expo on 
Tuesday, March 26, at 7 p.m. EST! 

(6 p.m. CDT, 5 p.m. MDT, 4 p.m. PDT) 


Check out all the details at


Reserve your FREE seat now---only 1,000 available! 





Creation Revolution      


"Did you know that there are thirty different species of fish called clownfish? Not all clownfish are bright orange with the white markings."  Read more about it in the article  Nemo and the Anemone  
Another great article to read is Did Crocodiles Dine on Dinosaurs?.


Read this article  

in the latest issue of

The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine.
Contest Corner 

For the month of March, 2013  


A+ Interactive Math from A+ TutorSoft, Inc.


I received the A+ TutorSoft Inc. CD software for 1st grade to review. The CD software is for A+ Interactive Math for 1st grade. They also offer an online version of the CD software.


Before I tell you about this product, I want to share a discount code that the company is offering. Through the end of March you can receive 50% off by using coupon code SPOFFER50! Wow! ( . . .)


I have to admit, when I signed up to review this I thought we would be using it with my oldest daughter. Instead her little brother decided that this was his new favorite thing in the world! He's always liked math and is actually very good at it.  He's 6 years old and ahead of his 8-year-old sister!


My son sat at the computer the first day he used this course and did three lessons. He listened and interacted during the "talking" or lecture portion and then did the questions that went along with the lesson. After he finished the first lesson, I was going to shut it down until the next day but he begged to do another! When a child begs to do school, well it's normally best to allow it! So I let him do a second lesson and second question set. He then decided on his own to go to the third and was well into it before I realized he had even begun! (. . .)


The A+ Tutorsoft Interactive Math program was very easy to install. We simply put the disc in the computer and followed the instructions. It allows you to set up a parent account as well as multiple children accounts. We received the premium edition on CD which retails at $124.99. If that seems a bit pricey make sure to remember the coupon code for 50% off that I shared earlier. I think the cost is reasonable considering you have a full years' worth of math for your child, you can use it (CD version) for more than one child, and it has extra worksheets you can print off. 


Read the full text of this review here.


Product review by Erin Slocum, blogging for the Schoolhouse Review Crew at For Him and My Family.



Email Heather with your name, mailing address, and phone number for contact purposes, with the subject line, "A+ Interactive MATH" for a chance to win* the CD OR online version of this math program for your homeschool!
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The Old Schoolhouse
® Magazine, LLC ("Company") is sponsoring the March Contest Corner contest running from March 1, 2013, to March 31, 2013. You must be 18 years of age or older and follow all rules to participate. Entering the contest constitutes full and complete acceptance of, and a warranty that the entrant has read, understands and agrees to, all contest terms and conditions, including without limitation all of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC Contest Rules ("Official Rules") and The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine Writer Guidelines and Terms and Conditions for Submitting Queries. All Official Rules apply. Entry also constitutes full consent and unlimited permission for Company to print, publish, broadcast and use all intellectual property and personal information submitted as part of the Contest entry on the Internet and in any and all Company publications in accordance with the Rules. Entries become the sole property of Company and will not be returned. Employees and independent contractors of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, Contest sponsors, individuals or entities furnishing Contest prizes and their family members may not participate in this contest. Company reserves the sole, discretionary right to determine contest winners and to cancel, terminate, modify, or suspend the contest or the Rules at any time with or without notice or cause, subject to applicable law. See Official Rules for details.

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