While driving around town, we've been playing our favorite geography game again. We didn't find this one in a book or hear about it from anyone else and so, as far as we know, we made it up. It is a great deal of fun and it goes something like this...
Me: Hey Simeon, do you remember our vacation in Arizona?
Simeon: Yeah, that's when I sat on a cactus. Ouch.
Alex: And I found a Gila Monster.
Simeon: Remember our vacation in Australia? Nicholas went for a ride in a kangaroo's pouch.
Alex: And I saw a Koala Bear.
Me: In what kind of tree?
Alex: Eucalyptus. Remember Florida?
Simeon: Yikes! That's when Zachary got eaten by a Caiman.
Zachary: That's not funny.
Simeon: Caiman have teeth that point backwards so their prey can't get away.
Zachary: That's NOT funny.
Me: Ok. Ok. What about California?
Simeon: That's where I climbed to the top of a Redwood Tree.
Alex: And I chopped it down.
Me: How far did you fall?
Simeon: Over 250 feet!
Me: Why didn't you die?
Simeon: Because I landed in a bucket of lemons.
...and so on all around the world.
One of the things I love most about this game is that, since the boys learn almost all of their natural science and geography on their own, it gives me an insight into what they have been reading and learning.
Even before he could read, Simeon would spend hours pouring over maps and looking through animal encyclopedias. His favorite movies were, and continue to be, documentaries about ocean life, dinosaurs, animals, insects, geology and science. I remember when he was three and we watched National Geographic: The Sharks. At the close of the film was rare footage of a shark egg sack latched to a plant on the ocean floor. Transparent as it was, you could see the tiny shark embryo moving within. When it wriggled itself slowly out of the sack and swam free in ocean waters for the first time, Simeon turned to me and said with feeling, "Mama, I love him." And so he has continued to love all things natural, especially living things.
Now that he can read, Simeon gains even more from his time spent with maps and encyclopedias. And although Alex's strongest interests lie elsewhere, he also enjoys looking at these things and learning about them from his older brother.
As the boys read and learn more on their own, our geography game becomes a little more sophisticated and a little more fun. I can see already that their abilities have improved since last year and I'm looking forward to the years ahead when all five boys can play.