Saturday, July 4, 2015

The Educational Summer Vacation: Studying Venezuela

Every summer vacation, I pretend to travel the world with my kids. It helps them learn about geography, other cultures, and how not to complain that they're bored because this is what they get if they do!

For more on how it all began, read this post.

This week we learned about Venezuela, and as promised, here is my Saturday night recap of the resources we used and how it went.

(This post contains affiliate links in case anyone wants to buy this stuff for a homeschool unit on Venezuela or to do an educational summer vacation with their own kids. If you don't want a tiny portion of your purchase to go to me, then for goodness' sake don't click on anything!)

Monday

The kids old enough to write got passports. In past years, I've printed their passports double-sided and made cutesy covers and bound them all fancy-like.

But the night before, I had a full-blown tempter tantrum over it and realized I needed to go simpler this year. So I just cut sheets into four and stapled them together.

When I presented the kids with their new crappy passports, they didn't say a word. I don't even think they even noticed the difference, actually. So I guess the joke's on me.


Download the Passport Pages


One of the kids Googled the Venezuelan flag and copied it on a sheet of paper. There is always INTENSE debate at this point about who is going to color which part. Some serious negotiations go down in the process, but eventually it gets done.

The Educational Summer Vacation: Studying Venezuela -- If you're looking for ideas for a homeschool unit on Venezuela or just some educational activities on Venezuela with your kids, you've come to the right place for printables, links, activities, and book/DVD recommendations.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}


We read a book with a broad overview of Venezuela  I like the ABC or 123 ones, because they provide short snippets of information with an interesting framework for the kids. I lose them if we start with something long. We used Venezuela ABCs by Sharon Katz Cooper.

Then we watched a 13-minute DVD called Countries Around the World: Venezuela from Schlessinger Media. It's meant for classroom use and narrated by a kid, so the kids paid attention! My 3-year-old latched on to the fact that it's hot in Venezuela and told me about 15 times that day that we should move there so we could have more popsicles.


Tuesday

Absolutely nothing. I took my kids to the pool after lunch instead of making them take a nap and it turned out to be the worst decision I've ever made. The rest of the day was pretty much ruined.

By bedtime they were cranky, tired, and frankly, lucky to be alive.


Wednesday


We read Angel Falls: World's Highest Waterfall by Joanne Mattern and watched this YouTube video:


I'm not sure why the YouTube video used the theme song from Jurassic Park. I kept waiting for raptors to jump out and start eating people or going down the waterfall in a barrel or something, but none did.

Then we did waterfall painting and colored it to look like Angel Falls. We based it on this activity, except we used a medicine dropper and took turns because we didn't have pipettes. We also used watered-down poster paint because I don't even know what tempera paints are.

The Educational Summer Vacation: Studying Venezuela -- If you're looking for ideas for a homeschool unit on Venezuela or just some educational activities on Venezuela with your kids, you've come to the right place for printables, links, activities, and book/DVD recommendations.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}


We learned some basic Spanish words and made an effort to use them at the dinner table for the rest of this week:
  • Please  por favor
  • Thank you  gracias
  • Yes  sí
  • No  no (this was the easiest one)
Usually we also learn to count 1-10 but my kids already knew it from school.

We also used Phillip, who's a great resource because he lived in Venezuela for 2 years as a missionary for our church before we got married. (If you want to know more about that, here's an FAQ about Mormon missionaries.) Because he wasn't a tourist  he was right there living in their towns and visiting their homes and talking to them in Spanish  he really got to know the culture and the people. So we asked him a lot of questions at dinner.


Thursday

The kids learned about the history of Venezuela with A Picture Book of Simón Bolívar by David A. Adler. Simón Bolívar was the liberator of Venezuela and other assorted South American countries.

I announced that we were then going to write a letter, pretending that we were Simón Bolívar writing to someone else we learned about in the book. Two of the kids looked at me like I was the most boring person in the world to even suggest such a stupid thing, and completed the letter while lying draped across their chairs and moaning.

My oldest, however, was totally into the assignment (after all, she was the one who wrote the hilarious love letter to a rectangle.) I guess that's kind of her thing. She chose to write the letter to Simón's wife María, who had already died. 


The Educational Summer Vacation: Studying Venezuela -- If you're looking for ideas for a homeschool unit on Venezuela or just some educational activities on Venezuela with your kids, you've come to the right place for printables, links, activities, and book/DVD recommendations.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

It read:

December 25, 1817

Dear María, I wish thou could be here to see Venezuela now... 


I bet that, if my letter reached thee, thy surprise would be evident. Sí, I am writing in English. English is so much more difficult to learn than Español, with all the "thee"s and "thy"s. Also, the subject and action are separate words! Seriously?


María, all over people are celebrating me as the savior of northern South America, but I'm not sure I am. I didn't even found the revolutionary movement, and I'm told that a new currency (bolivars) and a mountain (Bolivar Peak) and a country (Bolivia) are being named after me! They're overdoing it.


I wish thou could be with me as I preside over Gran Colombia. I miss thy presence.


Your husband, 

Simón Bolívar

Phillip then whipped up a dinner of arepas with mozzarella and cilantro sauce, fried plantains, and black beans. He didn't really use a recipe and we already had arepa mix and an arepa maker.

I encouraged my oldest, who is really into art, to paint something inspired by Venezuela's kinetic art using lines to suggest movement. She's still working on it.


Friday

It was a pretty busy day, but we did toss a few books on Venezuela
at the kids in the car and listen to some Venezuelan music:

Books (these were higher reading level, like 5th or 6th grade):


CDs:


Saturday

This was a video day. Partially because it was a busy holiday weekend and partially just because.

We watched this YouTube video and this one about a Venezuelan dance called joropo. Also listened to Sí, soy llanero. (This particular CD says "Music from the Orinoco Plains of Colombia," but it borders Venezuela, so close enough.) We also watched this video of a Venezuelan instrument called the cuatro.

We played an hour of gaita music on YouTube while we had dinner, and Phillip mixed up jugo de lechosa for everyone for dessert. Every Venezuelan house has a blender and makes very sugary juice.

Phillip used to hate this juice when he first got to Venezuela but it grew on him:
  • 1 papaya blended up
  • 2 cups ice
  • enough water to fill the blender
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Blend and enjoy. Bribe your kids with it to eat their dinner, I won't judge.


So... we had a great week studying Venezuela. The kids were actually interested in listening to Phillip talk about his mission and he got to impress us with some yummy food like he ate there. Now, does anybody want to meet us there for popsicles later?

The Educational Summer Vacation: Studying Venezuela -- If you're looking for ideas for a homeschool unit on Venezuela or just some educational activities on Venezuela with your kids, you've come to the right place for printables, links, activities, and book/DVD recommendations.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

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2 comments:

  1. Your oldest has quite a career as a writer ahead of her! The 3 yr old has the logical thinking down pat!

    ReplyDelete