- It encourages kids to trace maps in class instead of getting sidetracked doodling with their dry erase marker.
- It encourages kids to trace maps at home. I think all homeschool parents (CC or not) probably want their kids to practice map tracing at home, but we have to pick our battles. If the kids aren’t motivated to do this, it’s often allowed to slide (I know it would be in our house).
- Tracing maps in the younger years prepares our CC kids for Challenge A (7th grade) when they work on free hand drawing the whole world. Several former ChA students have confided in me that they wish they’d traced those maps more when they were younger!
- It helps cement the geography memory work for that week. Just saying the location names while we point to them is ok, but this combines a great kinesthetic element to the review that will make all the different for some kids to get the places memorized.
- It helps us learn more about the location and what’s around it. When you’re tracing the map, you become more aware of it’s shapes relative to the locations and features around it. For example, I had this idea in my mind that Spain was west of France. When we were tracing maps a few years ago, I realized it’s actually southwest of France! Granted, my knowledge of geography was seriously lacking prior to CC, but I’m sure you’ll have some realizations of your own, no matter how great your current knowledge level is.
- It helps develop fine motor skills for handwriting and art.
- It helps parents realize what a valuable tool tracing really can be.
- It helps you score higher at Stack the Countries, a favorite app of ours.
How to Organize a Community Map Challenge
During our opening meeting I ask each family how many maps they did that week. I type each number into my calculator as I’m standing there, announce the week’s total, write in on my “Director’s Map Tally” sheet, and shade in the appropriate number of boxes in our graphic. (If that sounds too complicated for you, ask another parent to help you type numbers into the calculator and write the number down. You can always shade in the graphic at home and show it next week in class.) Every map traced is celebrated as a contribution to our community goal. We never try to make the kids feel like they are competing against each other. There are always some kids that are doing A LOT of maps and some who are doing less, but that’s ok. When we meet our goal, I buy ice cream for everyone! I love the camaraderie it creates!
Here it is! I’m so happy to share this great map tracking PDF graphic with you. (The images behind the graphic are my own personal artwork and are protected by copyright. Please contact me if you have any questions about the use of them!)
This graphic is also available for $4.99 in my store. If you purchase the file, you get the PDF plus a fully editable Microsoft Word version.
I like to print one graphic per semester on card stock and have my director’s tally sheet on the back. So, this year I’ll print the 10,000 maps page for the first semester. I print the second one on another piece of card stock for the second semester and staple it on top of the first so my tally sheet doesn’t get separated from the graphic. The Word document is totally unlocked so you can change the numbers, font, and the images behind the bar graph! Have fun with it! If you find a new creative use for it, please share it with me. You can find me here or on Facebook.
How High to Set the Bar
(# of students) x 750 = maps for the year
Time to Celebrate!
When our community reaches it’s semester goal, I throw an ice cream party! Rest assured, I keep this stick-in-the-sand simple. We just meet at a local park and I bring an ice chest of ice cream sandwiches. The kids play while the moms talk and no one really had to do a lot of planning. You could easily combine this with a Christmas party and the End Of Year event instead.
Go Plan a Map Challenge!
- Announcements- Map Challenge: Each time the student draws or traces one week’s geography grammar, while saying the place out loud, counts as one map. Tally up the number of maps your students draw or trace at home. We’ll add them up as a community and have an ice cream party when we reach our goal!
Since all our tutors model this on community day in New Grammar, parents and students usually get the hang of it quickly.