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Welcome to Middle School Monday!
As you may already know, Kennady is studying European Cultural Geography for Social Studies this year. We have two main resources - the BJU textbook Cultural Geography and the study Visits to Europe from Simply Charlotte Mason. Also, we're once again making use of one of my favorite resources, Geography Through Art.
To begin with, she studied the introductory chapters of Cultural Geography to learn some background on the study of geography and cartography, and how these studies are inter-related with studies of climate and cultures. Then we shifted to Visits to Europe, and began a tour of the countries of Europe through maps, reading, and pictures. For many of the countries, there is related reading in Material World or Hungry Planet, both by Peter Menzel. The descriptions and photos in these books give a glimpse into the everyday lives of people in various countries by showing their living quarters, household possessions, grocery provisions, and meals.
Kennady also reads about the countries and regions in Cultural Geography and if there is a related art project in Geography Through Art, we try to get that done.
But cultural geography in our homeschool is more than just reading (as fascinating as that is!), or studying and drawing maps (although some of those are works of art in their own right!).
One of the things Kennady wanted to be able to do while studying European geography was to learn about and sketch some of the famous landmarks of the countries. Our first featured region was the British Isles, which provided inspiration for a couple of sketches - Big Ben and Stonehenge.
The British Isles also provided plenty of ideas for foods we could try. We made Irish Soda Bread, which was easy and so good and hearty!
We enjoyed Roast Beef with Yorkshire Pudding for dinner on evening, and one Saturday morning we sat down to our version of a Full English Breakfast. We're familiar with the term "Continental Breakfast" but it was rather new to realize that this term differentiated the pastry and fruit breakfast commonly served in Europe from the hearty full breakfasts served in England. Our version included sausages, bacon, English muffins, eggs, and Toad in the Hole.
We couldn't discuss England and Scotland without nibbling on shortbread! We made two kinds - a traditional pan shortbread, and my personal favorite shortbread cookies.
Naturally, we also had Chelsea Buns and Cream Scones one day. Our original plan had been to have them as part of a British tea, but with schedules and whatever, we wound up having our scones for evening snacks and for breakfast rather than at teatime!
When Kennady studied Greece, I tried to convince her to have some Greek yogurt with honey, but she wasn't impressed. I love it. Although this honey is local, and certainly doesn't have a Greek name!
The family dinner table benefited from our virtual visit to Greece, because it reminded us that it's been too long since we had this favorite Greek recipe - Chicken and Feta Pie. Yum!
Kennady's attempt to sketch the Parthenon was fraught with frustration, so we came up with an alternative art project - these Greek-inspired theater masks.
We've had a couple of other European cultural geography inspired meals during the past few weeks as well, although I either forgot to take pictures, or I felt that the pictures didn't do the food justice. Most notable was Chicken Paprika from Hungary. So good!!
Similar to our Eating the Americas series last year, we're hoping to try breads, sweets, or main dishes from the different regions of Europe over the course of this school year. I did learn my lesson about trying to put the foods on the menu during the same week that we studied the countries. Too much planning ahead and orchestrating to make that happen, which is why I haven't even started blogging about the foods until today. But I plan to have the first in our "A Taste of Europe" series ready to go this week, so please check back!
Do you enjoy art projects or foods from the countries or cultures you study? Does your middle schooler still get into these kinds of hands-on projects? Leave a comment and let me know!
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