Home School Life Journal From Preschool to High School

Home School Life Journal ........... Ceramics by Katie Bergenholtz
"Let us strive to make each moment beautiful."
Saint Francis DeSales

Geography-Postcard Album: Maryland, “Old Line State” -Starting a Postcard Geography Album with Our Home State

I decided that we needed some good way to organize the postcards we were getting, both to keep them from getting lost and to optimize the learning opportunity they could provide.
I used a scrapbook album that I had but never used. I wanted them to get a sense where these different places were, so I felt I needed to start with where we are. For one of the pages, I just used a map of the United States, and I had Quentin color in our state, Maryland. We will color in each state we study a different color as we get to it.
Our State Tree
Our state tree is the White Oak and we had the Wye Oak as our state represenative tree because it was the largest and oldest White Oak in the country until it was uprooted in a storm in 2002.
The State Flower
is the Black-Eyed Susan.
Now, I wanted to include some hands-on activities. I originally bought this kit to make crepe Black-eyed Susans so that we could all join together and with each of us making a couple, we could make the whole bouquet together.Well, it turned out to be so difficult that only Katie and I working together could make them.We ended up only making half of the kit. It was enough, however, to be a small bouquet to represent Maryland's state flower.The Black-Eyed Susan

Maryland's National Monument

Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine

Inspired by A Common Shepherdess, I decided to make dinners or at least a snack or dessert representative of each state we study, starting with, of course, a
Maryland State Dinner.

Cucumbers, Onions and Tomatoes
We decided to have Maryland-style fried chicken (instead of crab cakes, as A Common Shepherdess did for her Maryland State dinner) because if anyone wanted to follow this idea, it would be a lot easier to find chicken to fry anywhere than crabmeat. Fried chicken always reminds me of my father, who fried chicken every Sunday after Church. I always looked forward to Sunday dinners. The primary factor which distinguishes Maryland fried chicken from other Southern fried chicken is that rather than cooking the chicken in several inches of oil or shortening, the chicken is pan-fried in a (traditionally) cast-iron skillet and often a seasoning mix that is made in Baltimore, Maryland called Old Bay is added. Here is a recipe for the mix, you can make yourself if you do not have access to Old Bay. I remember him standing at the stove cooking fried chicken for over an hour, tenderly turning each piece over and over again. I have never had it that good since. Traditionally milk or cream is then added to the pan juices to create a white cream gravy, but we never did that. It was interesting to start our postcard geography with our home state because we could see that the "typical" state dinner was a mixture of foods we do regularly have and a few things that we rarely, if ever have. It gives you some perspective for when we make typical dinners for other areas.
I made Spoonbread, which I had only ever had once before at Smith Island. Spoonbread is a cornmeal-based pudding or souffle culturally connected to Maryland and the Southern states. It is a bit tricky to make and although it was all eaten, it wasn't voted to keep as a family favorite.
Tomatoes, cucumbers and watermelons are important crops grown in Maryland, and are typically on the table at most meals in Maryland in the summer.

I printed out our state's flag for Quentin to color.

I used one of the postcards out of the set I have for sending to others and I printed out pictures of our Maryland meal and the Black-eyed Susans Katie and I made. Quentin arranged and glued them to the scrapbook page.
We will continue on building a scrapbook, page after page each week, adding additional sections and maps, as we explore the world.
Sam is also starting his own notebook of the 50 states. He will be sketching his own maps, which include the geographical features, the surrounding states and anything else of note.
"Located just below the Mason-Dixon line, Maryland is flavored with both northern and southern culture and tradition. Defined by the largest estuary in the United States (The Chesapeake Bay), Maryland's historic sites/sights include capital city Annapolis and the U.S Naval Academy, Muddy Creek Falls, and the running of the Preakness Stakes in Baltimore. Noteworthy residents include Harriet Tubman and Fancis Scott Key. "

Here are some other great Maryland Studies:
Learning ALL the Time!!


  1. I like your idea for a postcard album. I know we sure enjoy doing our postcard scrapbook. I love how you are including food and flowers in yours! Thank you for linking this up!

  2. That is such a wonderful idea! I'm going to have to do something similar. I'm in Texas and with all of the different cultures that make up Texas (it has belonged to 6 different countries throughout history) I'm not sure what type of food I can make. I could spend like a week doing all different kinds of Texas food...chili and barbeque sure does sound good right now! This is going to be fun!

  3. I think the official dish of Texas is chili, but when we studied Texas I skipped that part. I love seeing how other people study different states, it's always gives me different ideas.


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