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

World Geography and Culture: Mali and West Africa

Pirogues -traditional canoes (picture above) -on the Niger River
West Africa includes the countries of Niger,  Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso,
Ghana, Togo, Benin,
Nigeria, the Islands of Cape Verde and Mali.

"The countries of French-speaking West Africa have inherited many food customs from their colonial past. Froissants, baguettes and cafe au lait are ubiquitous in restaurants and cafes -even in Bamako, capital of Mali, one of West Africa's poorest and least developed states. However the street food, cooked and served outdoors, belongs to quite another tradition: The ingredients and style are wholly African." -World Food Cafe

For our country study of Mali, we made West African Beans and Okra and Sweet Potatoes in a Cayenne, Ginger and Peanut Sauce. We liked these dishes better than the dishes from Egypt and Morocco but not as well as the dishes from Oman. Okra is one of the most common vegetables of the region, and both dishes were more like what we think of as traditional African dishes than the previous dishes we have tasted.

We studied the history of Ghana from 700-1240.
  • Read from The Kingfisher History Encyclopedia, page 117. Made notes of key words as we read. Write a few sentences about what you have learned in your history notebook. Another option is to use the Medieval History Portfolio, Homeschool Journey.
  • Colored an appropriate map such as the one with History Odyssey, Pandia Press, Level 2 (5th-8th grade).
  • Included appropriate dates on the timeline.


  • The Hatseller And The Monkeys by Baba Wagué Diakité is from Mali  and is the African version of Caps for Sale. It is the story of some monkeys that stole BaMusa’s hats on his way to the market and how he was able to trick them into giving them back to him.
  • Beat the Story-Drum, Pum-Pum, Ashley Bryan, (age 8 and up), Nigerian folk tales.
World Geography and Culture
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  1. Good reminder that I need to look up a West African recipe with okra - had noted it months ago, and I've seemingly forgotten it!

  2. I'll admit I'm horrible about trying recipes that have foods I don't like. It's such a bad example to set the kids, so I tend to look for dishes that have foods I like. I should probably make a dish with okra so the kids can try it, even if I'm not a fan of it.....


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