Geography: United States of America


This year in school we are using Layers of Learning year 4. The first two weeks of school we did unit 1. Our geography topic was the United States of America.

We found the USA on the big wall map. They already knew where it was, of course, but it’s always good to review.

We started folder maps. We will complete these throughout the course of the year. For the first unit, we labeled the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and the Gulf of Mexico and colored them blue.

We learned about two letter postal codes and went through the entire US map and guessed what each state’s postal code is and then labeled a blank map with the correct abbreviations.

We learned about time zones and colored a map of all six time zones in the US. We noted the current time where we live in the Central Time Zone and then figured out the current time of family and friends spread across the country and their grandmother in Greenwich Mean Time.

They used their old expired passports to add a “visa” for visiting the USA. As we “visit” each state over the course of the school year, they will add stickers for each one to the visa pages. Adrian was especially fascinated at how little he was in his passport (he was 4).

We learned about 25 animals that are only found in the United States.

We counted how many states we’ve ever been in. That’s six for Adrian (he’s lived in three of those).

We watched an episode of The States. They picked the one that includes Texas, of course.

History: American Government


This year in school we are using Layers of Learning year 4. The first two weeks of school we did unit 1. Our history topic was American government.

We added to our timeline. 1780-1800 is just covered in timeline pieces. It was just a tad busy of a period of history here in the US.

We talked about types of government and how they are on a continuum. The founding fathers made us a republic with just enough, but not too much, governmental control.

We matched types of government with their definitions and then placed them on the continuum.

We pretended we were in a new society that started with anarchy and then moved toward having a government. We made up some laws for our new society. They came up with stuff like “no rye bread on Sundays” and “murder is illegal except on Friday, which shall henceforth be called Dieday.” Adrian explained that they weren’t taking the assignment seriously. Indeed. They did understand the concept, however.

We learned about James Madison and discussed some of his quotes and whether we agreed with him or not.

We learned about the three branches of the government.

We learned about checks and balances.

We matched the Bill of Rights to what each amendment is about.

Side note: Fritz really likes his Code Ninjas shirt. He wore it both Tuesdays we did history!


About six months ago we started working toward becoming licensed foster parents. The amount of paperwork we had to turn in, the amount of questions we had to answer, the amount of training we had to do was so much. But that makes sense because we will be entrusted with the lives of real live children, all of whom have dealt with more trauma than anyone their age should ever be subjected to.

Two weeks ago tomorrow we were licensed. Now we wait for our first child. It’s kind of a weird feeling of limbo really. We know we’ll get a kid, but we don’t know when or how old or their race or gender or even if it will be just one or if we’ll get two at once.

We are often asked why we decided to do this. Basically, to decrease world suck. When Trump shut the government down back in January and Jamie was forced to work but we had no idea when he’d get paid for that work, people were so kind to us. It was quite incredible really. That got us thinking and praying about what we could do to pay it forward and the answer we received was to become foster parents. So here we are.

One really interesting thing happened while we were going through the licensing process. We got invited by Amazon to join the Vine program. This means we get products to review. Stuff in exchange for our words. We’ve reviewed well over 300 items so far as part of that program. Many of the things we have gotten are for babies, toddlers, and children. Toys, clothes, carseats, diapers, even a crib mattress and a twin bed base. Things we would have needed to buy. So that’s been a huge blessing.

We also were given a bunkbed (just needed to get mattresses for it) and a crib by friends who were getting rid of them absolutely free. It’s like the stars totally aligned (or, rather, we were super blessed by God for being willing to do this crazy, hard, incredible thing of caring for and loving His little ones).

We should have our first placement very soon. You never know when a child (or two) that matches what we are approved for (girls 0-3, boys 0-7; that’s all based on the space in our bedrooms and the laws in Texas) will need a home.