Saturday, August 12, 2017

The Educational Summer Vacation: Studying Chile

In theory I like the idea of doing nothing over my kids' summer vacation, but in reality we all crave a little structure in our house when school is out.

Several years ago I got the idea to take the kids on a fake trip around the world in the summer, a new country every week, and it's become something the kids look forward to every year.

This week, the kids picked Chile. My 5-year-old could not stop giggling all week because "chilly" is a ridiculous name for a country.

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Monday


This week started out with more fighting than usual about who got to stand where and who couldn't see because someone was blocking their view of the map.

Everyone was getting run over by the chair my 5-year-old kept pushing over to stand on, until she realized that Chile was on the bottom half of the map which she could see just fine from the floor.

What do your kids know about Chile? Use this as a guide for some fun South American activities or a homeschool lesson plan.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

Crisis averted, the kids somehow managed to fill out their passport pages.

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, I used to make each of the kids legit-looking bound passports with their picture on the inside. But then I had another few babies and ended up just stapling the next year's passport sheets together haphazardly, and the kids didn't even notice the lack of fanciness.

Remind me about that next time I'm tempted to do something over-the-top, okay?


Download the Passport Pages


I read parts of Exploring Countries: Chile by Lisa Owings while they were coloring the Chilean flag.

What do your kids know about Chile? Use this as a guide for some fun South American activities or a homeschool lesson plan.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

We also listened to some traditional music from the Andes. There's good stuff on YouTube, but I got the Putumayo: Music of the Andes CD. I love, love, love the Putumayo series. There are dozens of them in all kinds of collections, and I don't think I've ever heard one I didn't like.

Then we watched a short DVD called Countries Around the World: Chile. It's a great video series for kids and I highly recommend it.

Tuesday


Today we watched two Spanish language DVDs in hopes that we'd learn a little more Spanish. We checked out First Fun with Spanish and Spanish Rock 'n Learn and honestly, each one was more terrible than the next.

What do your kids know about Chile? Use this as a guide for some fun South American activities or a homeschool lesson plan.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

In the end I don't think the kids learned much Spanish, they were laughing too hard at the goofy dancing and cheesy effects. At one point my daughter asked me, "Don't they make any good language learning videos?"

We did at least go over how to say "please" and "thank you" and how to count to ten.

We also made squish books, cut out magazine pictures, and used Google Translate to label them in Spanish.

What do your kids know about Chile? Use this as a guide for some fun South American activities or a homeschool lesson plan.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

The only magazines I had on hand were church magazines, so for the most part, their homemade dictionaries of Spanish words turned out to be extra-churchy. Oh, well.

What do your kids know about Chile? Use this as a guide for some fun South American activities or a homeschool lesson plan.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

For dinner, I made a Chilean dish called 'pastel de choclo.' (The kids were really excited to hear this until I told them that there was no chocolate in it.)

After doing this trip around the world thing for several years, we've tried some pretty funky food. We generally don't expect much, other than a cultural experience, from our ethnic dishes. We've all come to view it as more of a learning experience than an enjoyable meal.

Until now.

What do your kids know about Chile? Use this as a guide for some fun South American activities or a homeschool lesson plan.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

What do your kids know about Chile? Use this as a guide for some fun South American activities or a homeschool lesson plan.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

This was SO GOOD I wanted to shove the entire 9x13" into my mouth and steal the kids' plates so I could eat theirs, too. There were no leftovers from this meal. This is definitely going into our regular dinner rotation.


Wednesday


Today we learned about Easter Island, which is a part of Chile, using this YouTube video.

What do your kids know about Chile? Use this as a guide for some fun South American activities or a homeschool lesson plan.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

Between the video and the book 20 Fun Facts about Easter Island, we learned a lot more about Easter Island. We even learned why it was called Easter Island. And while I knew it had some giant stone heads on it, I didn't know that there are over 900 of them (called maoi) on the island, and some have at least partial bodies and even red stone hats.

What do your kids know about Chile? Use this as a guide for some fun South American activities or a homeschool lesson plan.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}


I set the kids up outside with some paint and told them to find rocks to make some maoi of their own.

I had a meeting with some ladies from church and didn't really supervise what they were doing, so I was thrilled when I later went to check on them and (1) they hadn't made a giant mess (just a normal-sized one) and (2) their maoi were awesome-looking.

What do your kids know about Chile? Use this as a guide for some fun South American activities or a homeschool lesson plan.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
Love the red hat on this guy. Very authentic.

What do your kids know about Chile? Use this as a guide for some fun South American activities or a homeschool lesson plan.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
My 13-year-old mixed her own paint colors and even found a rock that was a perfect little stand for this one.

The 3-year-old couldn't remember what the maoi were called, so he called them "murfs." He was concerned about leaving them outside to dry overnight and kept asking me, "The dragonflies won't eat the murfs?"

Thursday


In my mind, today was going to be the funnest day of our educational trip to Chile. After reading The Atacama Desert by Lynn Peppas and The Andes by Charles W. Maynard to learn more about some of Chile's physical features, we were going to make a model volcano erupt.

There are several volcanoes in the Andes Mountains because they're part of the Pacific "Ring of Fire," a few in the Atacama desert, and 3 inactive volcanoes on Easter Island, so this was perfect.

The 9-year-old and I collected supplies and made a volcano the day before while his sisters were at their friends' houses using this tutorial.

What do your kids know about Chile? Use this as a guide for some fun South American activities or a homeschool lesson plan.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

I think we mixed in too much liquid, because the volcano kept gradually sliding down after a few hours and never really dried.

And I'm not sure what went wrong, but our explosion was a total dud. I know that it's more like a bubbling over than a bonified explosion, but we didn't even get that. Not even after washing out the bottle and re-trying it a few times.

(I'd be lying if I didn't say this wasn't a hit to my self-esteem. I've always known that I'm not a "craft mom," but come on. A baking soda volcano is like the most basic of all kid crafts. Who can't make a baking soda volcano??)

That isn't to say my kids didn't have a good time, though. After our failed detonation attempts, I told the kids they could destroy the volcano however they wanted, which they took immense pleasure in doing.

What do your kids know about Chile? Use this as a guide for some fun South American activities or a homeschool lesson plan.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

Friday


After watching a DVD on Chile (Discover the World series) I decided to continue my tradition of Pinterest fails. 

I attempted to make Chilean cazuela for dinner. It tasted alright, but didn't look remotely like the picture on the recipe and I forgot to put in the corn.

What do your kids know about Chile? Use this as a guide for some fun South American activities or a homeschool lesson plan.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
Meh. Whatever.

The kids may not have been crazy about my cazuela imposter dinner, but they did like watching this video about the cueca, the national dance of Chile, and imitating in on their own:


Picture books set in Chile that I read to the younger kids throughout the week included:


Overall, we had a good time learning all about Chile. We now have two failed activities under our belts, some new maoi decorations for our porch railing for the time being, and a new addition to our repertoire of dinner recipes. Not bad.

By the end of the week, my 5-year-old had even stopped laughing about the name "Chile" and just thought of it as the name of a normal place in South America.

What do your kids know about Chile? Use this as a guide for some fun South American activities or a homeschool lesson plan.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}

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2 comments:

  1. That first recipe looks so good, and the website it was on looks like it has other great South American recipes to try too! Love following your family on your summer 'travels!'

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, I'm going to have to visit that website again...

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