Boy howdy! Survival mode has hit me quite a bit this semester! Between directing a community, directing a toddler, and directing a Challenge student (not to mention the rest of the family), plans just don’t happen as planned around here.
I’m often derailed. Not just my plans, but my thought processes in general. All of them. Writer’s block. Thought block. Finish-a-sentence block.
But alas! Winter break is quickly approaching. Although it’s been a busy and hectic few months, it’s been full of blessings. (That’s not to say I haven’t completely blown it multiple times as a wife, a mom, a teacher, and a director. It’s just… well, God’s grace is sufficient in my time of need. His grace has abounded from every which direction, and I thank the Lord for this family and community that keeps me so busy. After all, the opposite of full is empty, and empty is not what I want my life to be.)
Okay, enough already. I was supposed to be writing about flashcards.
But I’ve missed blogging – just writing about my random thoughts and journaling our family’s life. I miss it. It’s therapy. Only… my thoughts get stuck and I can’t get past a couple of sentences. So I’m not sure it’s really therapy if I can’t even think of sentences I want to write (which also make sense).
Thus, I make flashcards… because that requires a whole lot less thinking for me. And our oldest son has really kind of needed them. We discovered that short-term memory is not super-effective, especially when you have a blue book exam on the Western Hemisphere next week, and you suddenly (or not-so-suddenly) can’t remember any of the Lesser Antilles.
These flashcards aren’t really what I wanted as a finished product, but I figured my chances at blogging are much fewer and farther between nowadays, so I better get what I have out there while I can. (Everyone else in the family is sleeping right now.)
A few things (disclaimers, provisos, quid pro quo) about these cards:
- For the Lesser Antilles, you may need a microscope to see which islands are highlighted. These are the maps I originally downloaded and used to make our flashcards. Over the break I hope to go back and make better cards for the Lesser Antilles, but every time I say “I hope to…” anything, it seems to come to an abrupt halt.
- To accommodate for this Lesser Antilles challenge, we’ve placed the cards on a ring in the order that they are drawn (from the top down). To further help with memorizing the order that we chose to draw them, Stephen and I made up a little mnemonic song to the tune of “Pop Goes the Weasel.” Volcanic Slides Attract, Goofy Daring Men, Since Boasting Sometimes, Grants Tribulation (Virgin Islands, St. Kitts & Nevis, Antigua & Barbuda, Guadeloupe, Dominica, Martinique, St. Lucia, Barbados, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Grenada, Trinidad & Tobago). I don’t know. It’s probably easier to just memorize the names of the countries, but we had fun trying to come up with a mnemonic that didn’t really make sense. We even drew a comic strip to go with it.
- Unlike the European Flashcards, these flashcards don’t include an option without the names on the country side. To drill which country is which, we are simply covering up the country name that’s on the bottom of the flashcard. It gets really challenging when those cards happen to be the Lesser Antilles. (hahaha! I love driving my 12-year-old bonkers!)
- Since they aren’t countries, the Canadian provinces are not in this card set. (Actually, I haven’t had time to pull province cards together. More specifically, Stephen seems to have Canada mastered, so I haven’t forced myself to find the time to make them.)
- For those in CC Cycle 1 Foundations, some of these might be helpful for memorizing South America towards the end of this year(??)
- Not all the countries in the Caribbean are listed. Just the ones we memorize in CC Challenge A.
- et cetera
Alrighty! You can download the North America, Central America, South America and Caribbean flash cards by clicking on the following link:
I said it once before, but I’ll say it again. If you happen to have an older elementary student who has been through the Foundations cycles a few times and needs an extra challenge as a sixth grader, it would be quite beneficial to start memorizing the countries and capitals of the Western Hemisphere (and/or any other part of the world, for that matter). Although it’s not necessary to tackle it before Challenge, it would be nice to have a bit more mastered before going into Challenge A so you can focus more on physical features and drawing.
I still plan to write more about Challenge A – about how we’ve handled scheduling, ways we’ve managed the workload (and how we scaled back during our busy weeks), things we would have liked to have mastered those final two years in Foundations, and so on. In the meantime, you can find out more about Challenge by visiting our Challenge Program posts.