Sunday, June 20, 2010

Kitchen Table Geography

There have only been two instances before this when I've prescribed to that effective but aesthetically unpleasant habit of teaching with visual aids laid prominently on a home surface like a wall or table.

One time it was to help the kiddo remember the days of the week and the months of the year when he was about 3.5 years old. I made a chart using Microsoft Word, large fonts and all and had it up on the wall for about 2 weeks. It was a constant source of irritation for me and my extremely OC (obsessive compulsive) personality took over and I took it down with many sighs of relief (I switched to teaching him through songs). The other time, is the periodic table wall chart that we decided to hang under our kitchen island when we moved into our new home. The island has a nice recessed wall underneath, very convenient for OC moms who don't like non-artsy wall hangings and very much at the kiddo's eye level too when he plays on the carpet (aah, happy me).

(Please note that I'm not counting whiteboards. If you homeschool, a whiteboard is something you just can't be OC about in a negative way.)

So, considering all this, I am very proud to say I've finally overcome my silliness and have taken a huge...and believe me, this is huge for me, plunge. A plunge into using a large world map we had lying around (I forget when we got this) to cover our kitchen table. And now I'm kicking myself for not thinking of it earlier. Also, earlier, in my defence (ahem) we didn't have a 54" x 38" kitchen table!. I've blue tacked it on the table and used this clear table cover to protect it.

It isn't gorgeous by any stretch of the imagination but it is instantly educational! While the novelty of it is still there, we're having a great time guessing how far away a country is from another, playing "I Spy" games during lunch, dinner and snack times and making up puzzles like "Chihuahua puppies are named after a city in what country?". I'm hoping the kiddo will at least, at the very least, become an expert in South American geography since he usually sits just south of Argentina (wink!).

Hints for quirky kitchen table geography games:
1. Play "pass the salt please" from continent to continent
2. If you have a "neatness-challenged" eater like we do, you'll have the occasional noodle adorning your table after every noodly/ spaghetti meal. Use spilt noodles to measure rivers and calculate the actual length!
3. We also have gulp-and-dash eaters in the family so to encourage good chewing habits, play "how many capitals beginning with this letter can you spot before you swallow that mouthful?".

Got more suggestions? Leave a comment! :)
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  1. Suji, you are amazing! I love this idea. My walls are already covered (mostly with bookcases) so we don't have room for anything as big as a world map that can actually be read without a magnifying glass (though that is another interesting idea, hmm).

    Thanks very much for sharing.

  2. Wonderful! Congrats on conquering your obsessions... sorta, LOL I have a rule that thumb tacks are only allowed in ds's room ;) I truly still hate whiteboards, but what to do?? Looking forward to your creative solutions for this dreaded kiss-of-death on to my beautiful clean wall, Suji!

    p/s You have to bring your guys to Indonesian Day in SF on July 31! Rendang, satay, kuih dadar, cendol...

  3. He he, thanks Kerrie :)

    Christina, Yen, thanks! Yen, you're actually waaay better than I am...I don't even allow tacks in kiddo's room :)


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