Friday, February 17, 2012

State Postcard Swap -- Why This is Awesome!

My boys sure love mail, but they've really been loving mail recently!

A wise homeschooling mom arranged a state postcard swap just after the first of the year.  Thanks to online friends made through product reviews, homeschool forums and Facebook, she managed to get 51 families to participate, with a few overlaps in some of the more popular states.  I have not counted, but think we'll end up with postcards from 30+ states.

I was able to find a sweet Vistaprint coupon good for 100 free postcards;  I had to pay shipping and for uploading of a custom color front (I used MyMemories Suite 3.0 to create our postcard!), so in all it cost $13. Fifty postcards stamps set me back $16.  So for just under $30, we're sharing some fun facts about our states.  And the boys are finding joy in being the one to go get the mail!

Here's some of the educational things we'll do with the postcards:
  • I had the boys practice addressing a few of the postcards:
Letter/ envelope writing skills: "Check."
  • As they come in, the kids have to locate where the state is on the map.  I printed out a black-line map of the United States and the boys have been coloring in the states. Without asking.
  • I've also been asking the boys to identify the capital city of each state as it comes in.  We've been memorizing them, so this is good review.
  • I plan on pulling out the road map/ atlas so the boys can practice looking up cities and towns that some of the families are from.  We can get a lot of mileage out of the atlas with these many miles from their home to the capital/ major city?  to our house/ state?  What are the nearest national parks? Mapping skills, geographical features of the US, math.....
  • Postal Abbreviations -- Ben really needs to learn these better (especially all the "M" states, and Luke and Levi can learn them along with him. 
I decided that we were not really going to do anything with the state facts that come in, except read about them.  But that is just me.  I don't find learning 50 state flowers to be beneficial in the long run of my kids' education.  Interesting certainly, but not necessarily beneficial.

If you have participated in a postcard swap, what fun things did you do with them?  I'd love to read about it!

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