geography

FREE Unit Study: Before the 4th of July

Before the 4th of July Unit Study
This 3-week Unit Study is an American Girl history exploration with Kaya to help your child understand what it was like to live as a Native American in the 1700’s.

As we gather to celebrate the Fourth of July, it’s crucial to recognize that the roots of this significant occasion extend far beyond the year 1776 when the colonists declared their independence. The land we now call America was and continues to be inhabited by a remarkable and diverse array of Indigenous peoples, whose vibrant cultures and deep connections to the land shaped the very fabric of this nation. Within this context, we embark on a captivating journey with Kaya, an extraordinary American Girl doll who represents the rich tapestry of Native American heritage.

Kaya 2014 Mini Doll & Book (American Girl)

Kaya stands as a unique figure among the American Girl dolls, as she embodies the spirit and resilience of the Indigenous peoples who inhabited this land long before European settlers arrived. As we explore Kaya’s life, it’s important to remember that the sight of a European person in her world would have been an unexpected and unfamiliar encounter. Through the exploration of her story, we gain a profound understanding of the profound influence Indigenous cultures have had on America’s history and identity.

Throughout this homeschool unit study, we will begin on an enlightening adventure, honoring the legacy of the Indigenous peoples while celebrating the significance of the Fourth of July. We will discover the intricacies of Kaya’s life and the astonishing diversity of Indigenous cultures that thrived and continue to thrive across this vast land. By understanding and appreciating the Indigenous heritage that predates the birth of the United States, we deepen our connection to the collective narrative that shaped this nation.

Join us as we journey through the pages of history, weaving together the stories of Indigenous peoples, the struggles for freedom, and the rich cultural tapestry that makes America truly unique.

START HERE:

Begin to read Kaya: An American Girl: 1764:

You don’t need to complete all the books before beginning this unit study. Read 1-2 chapters a day to your children. There’s a good chance they may love them so much that they want to keep reading all the way through the 8-book set. This set will take you and your children on an incredible journey through history as you explore Kaya’s life and learn about elements of Nez Perce customs and language.

Incorporate Play:

Kaya’s Paper Dolls

Have fun with Kaya and her friends with outfits to cut out and scenes to play:

6 pc Horse Play Set

Have fun with these detailed miniature toy horses while you read about Kaya’s life.

The narrative of the story immerses readers in Kaya’s character, providing an authentic depiction of her Native American culture in the year 1764. As the story unfolds, Kaya undergoes significant personal growth, evolving into a compassionate individual who gains wisdom from her errors. Her cherished horse assumes a vital role, symbolizing an inseparable bond with Kaya’s existence. Ultimately, “Meet Kaya” imparts a valuable lesson about transcending youthful arrogance and discovering redemption through acts of selflessness. The very source of pride, embodied by the swift and magnificent horse, becomes the catalyst for a remarkable rescue.

Week 1

  1. Map: Mark Kaya’s home on the map. Explain that, unlike later girls, we don’t know exactly where Kaya lived. In fact, she probably didn’t have homes in the traditional sense, since the Nez Perce were a nomadic people who moved around to follow hunting opportunities. Explore an interactive map of Native American tribes across the United States.
  2. Timeline: Find 1764, as well as 1754, the year Kaya was born and record in the Book of Centuries. Check out the internet to find other events happening in America at about that time and record those too. The most significant of these for Kaya would have been more and more European settlers coming to the Northwest. Discover important events in Native American history on this timeline and record them in your Book of Centuries to help gain perspective of these events.
  3. Craft: Choose a craft to work on while you’re studying Kaya. Consider either a leather craft or beading, both of which would have been popular among the Nez Perce. Remind your child that beads would have been very valuable and obtained by trading with European settlers. So much of the beautiful beading was so intricate and may be difficult for your young child. This natural clay bead kit would be a good alternative for young hands.
Leather Bag Craft Kit

BTDT Homeschool was created with a heartfelt mission: to empower and give back to the secular homeschool community.

Through our informative podcasts, blog posts, daily inspiration, and a wide range of free printable tools, we aim to empower you on your homeschooling journey.

New to Homeschooling>>>

Week 2

  1. Introduce the Founding Fathers, the Founding Mothers, and their contributions. Remind your child that Kaya would not have heard of these people.
  2. Explore and Learn about the Lewis and Clark Expedition from an Indigenous perspective. Remind your child that Kaya may have heard of Lewis and Clark, who came through the Northwest when Kaya was much older. Go outside and explore and teach your child to respect the natural world they encounter.
  3. Native Nations: Explore this map and all the Native American Nations that were encountered on the Lewis and Clark expedition.
  4. Act It Out: Have your children choose a scene or event from one of the books to act it out together.
Explore Native American Nations encountered by Lewis and Clark

Week 3

  1. Animals: Animals were a very important part of Kaya’s life. Have you child consider how the life of your pet is different from the animals in Kaya’s tribe. Learn about the unique relationship between Native Americans and their animal counterparts.
  2. Video: Watch this 2 min YouTube video on How Appaloosa Horses Keep Nez Perce Traditions Alive. See their horses and meet a a Nez Perce Family and see their traditional clothing and the pride of a young girl wearing her great grandmother’s dress.
  3. Nez Perce Today: Learn more about the Nez Perce Tribe and the Nimiipuu people that live in north-central Idaho with more that 3,500 citizens.
  4. Learn More: Visit The Nex Perce Museum in person or on their website and learn more about the objects they made and used over the past 10,000 years. Basketry, beadwork, ceremonials, toolmaking, language, their daily rhythms and cycles and how they were attuned to the land, and more!
Nez Perce Dugout Canoe and Tipi
20 Best Tips for Teaching Reading and Spelling

Homeschool Lesson Planner and Ultimate Organizer

BTDT Homeschool Lesson Planner and Ultimate Organizer

Introducing the BTDT Homeshool Lesson Planner & Ultimate Organizer – the essential tool for every homeschooling family! This 187-page planner is all about tailoring it to your unique needs and making your homeschooling journey a breeze.

A homeschool planner is a tool designed specifically for homeschooling families to help them stay organized and track their progress. It typically includes various sections and features to assist with lesson planning, scheduling, record-keeping, and tracking academic goals. 

Whether you have one child or a bustling homeschooling household, this organizer is here to keep you super organized and on top of things. It’s like having your personal homeschooling assistant! Completely customized and flexible planner that adapts effortlessly to your homeschooling needs. Say goodbye to scattered records and hello to an all-in-one solution! With everything in one place, you can easily access all your information as you move through the school year.  

Planning your homeschool lessons has never been easier. Our user-friendly design makes planning a breeze, allowing you to map out your curriculum with efficiency and precision- whether you are a child-led unschooler or a scheduled parent, the flexibility will work for you and your kids.  

Stay on top of your homeschooling schedule effortlessly, empowering you to focus on what truly matters – educating your children.  

Our planner empowers you to track anything and everything related to your homeschooling journey. From attendance and grades to extracurricular activities and field trips, you’ll have a comprehensive overview of your children’s progress.  

Page by Page view of the BTDT Homeschool Lesson Planner & Ultimate Organizer

What is included in this planner?

We’ve taken the time to include detailed instructions on how to use this planner effectively, but let me give you a friendly overview of how it’s organized: 

PART 1: REFERENCES  

  • Resources list from BTDT Homeschool- Including: BTDT Homeschool podcast, getting started in homeschooling, tips, free downloads, and more to help in your homechool journey.  
  • Password Tracker 
  • Membership/Subscription Tracker 
  • Field Trip Tracker 
  • Attendance Tracker 

BTDT Homeschool was created with a heartfelt mission: to empower and give back to the secular homeschool community.

Through our informative podcasts, blog posts, daily inspiration, and a wide range of free printable tools, we aim to empower you on your homeschooling journey.

New to Homeschooling>>>

PART 2: MAKING A PLAN  

  • Curriculum & Resources Brainstorm 
  • Literature Selections and Rating 
  • Planning For the Year Ahead 
  • Monthly Goals and Accomplishments 
  • Quarterly Term Goals 

PART 3: BUDGETING  

As parents research how to get started homeschooling, budgeting is a top concern. Families want to know how much it will cost to homeschool. Preparation for the costs will minimize the stress that can affect your homeschool efforts and overall success.  

Several factors determine how much it will cost to homeschool. These include the number of children, the grade level, the type of curriculum you select. Each family will have different homeschool requirements, so providing a dollar figure before evaluating your family’s needs is difficult. Your Homeschool Budget is listed in an organized way so you can stay on track and not bust the bank:  

  • Curriculum Budget by Subject  
  • Outsourced Classes/Workshops/Etc.  
  • Summary Budget  
  • Annual Household Bill Tracker  

PART 4: THE SCHEDULE  

  • Monthly Focus Dashboard 
  • Monthly Schedule 
  • Weekly Lesson Planner for 12 Months 
  • Grade Tracker/Student Checklist 

PART 5: REFLECTIONS  

  • Year-End Reflections 
  • Year In Review 
  • Notes 

Get yours today!

Transform your homeschooling journey by staying organized and on track with the ultimate organizer! With 187 pages, staying on top of your schedule has never been easier, giving you the freedom to focus on what truly matters – educating your children.

Homeschool Lesson Planner and Ultimate Organizer

$11.95

029. Around The World In Your Homeschool

Tracing a Map

029.

Around The World In Your Homeschool

What are some fun ways to learn geography?
How do you teach about different cultures in your homeschool?
What are our favorite geography resources?

Tracing a Map

Podcast Episode 029:

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Geography Bundle (pdf)

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Show Notes

Geography is not a subject to be skipped in your homeschool. It has been my favorite subject to teach and one that has brought so much fun into our home over the years. From mapping and directions, to learning about different cultures and how to be a global citizen, your family is sure to fall in love with geography too. 

Geography is a topic many families put off until later but really, it’s a subject that you can introduce pretty early on.  Kids as young as kindergarten are able to grasp concepts like directions and maps and are often eager to learn about the continents and other countries. Some people avoid the topic because they think it’s boring.  Memorizing things like states, countries, large bodies of water and spitting out facts sounds dull, so instead, reframe it as instilling a natural curiosity about the world and other cultures.

For homeschoolers who may use a history centric curriculum or a trivium approach. which describes the learning stages as children mature (Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric), introducing geography early gives a great base at a time when children are naturally inquisitive and are willing and able to absorb tremendous amounts of information.  This makes having a general feel for where things are handy as you move into historical timelines and world events.

Our Book of Centuries and Timeline Figures are a great addition to every homeschool curriculum.

From a very young age, we always incorporated a timeline in our homeschool which really helped my kids visualize how history connects together. It also helps them identify patterns that have occurred throughout history. Let’s face it, it’s a lot easier to memorize historical events when we can see it chronologically, and it makes sense in our minds.

Geography, history, and culture really intertwine because when you learn about historical events, you naturally learn about the locations and the people that reside in those areas. 

Universal Yums has been a wonderful addition to our homeschool. My kids have learned so much about different regions and people from all over the world!

What are some fun ways to learn geography? (5:29)

Start with very general mapping skills

The book Me on a Map by Joann Sweeney is also great for this. This playful introduction to maps shows children how easy it is to find where they live and how they fit into the larger world.  It starts where they are in their bedroom, in their house, in their neighborhood and then broadens through their community, state, country. 

Which direction are we traveling? You can look at a map directory to find a store, or a trail map at your favorite park, or a highway sign that says how many miles to the next city. You can talk about map keys and symbols, physical directions like north, south, east, west.  Talk about the sun setting in the west and rising in the east and other landmarks in your area that may indicate direction.

We talk about how cities are often built on a grid and you can teach your kids what streets make up that grid in your area and what direction they travel.  Passengers have more time to notice things like this and it helps young drivers, too. We count a lot on GPS for things, but I am still a big fan of an old school street map and atlas books, for finding things.  

Take a road trip

We just did an awesome field trip episode and have a cool post with 100 field trip ideas.  Hop in the car and go on one!  One activity that my kids always loved is ‘passenger driver’. Where we spent an afternoon driving and them telling me which direction to go. At every turn, they just tell me. I would’ve never thought of this, it was my kids idea. I guess when you’re trapped in the passenger seat, you have no control, and this gave control to them because I went exactly where they told me. It was always an adventure! 

We have a friend that has always put together incredible road trips for her family- her Texas history road trip and Civil Rights road trips were my favorite, but you don’t even have to go far! For long road trips, snacks, audio books or podcasts, and road trip games can be really fun.  We loved making elaborate snack trays and a folder of car games like highway bingo, the license plate game, state fact sheets, etc.

Stuff you missed in history class is a favorite podcast for us to listen to on road trips.  We once listened to an episode about Native American Mounds and happened to be crossing into Louisiana while listening.  We made a quick stop at the welcome center, picked up a brochure, and hit it on the return.

I always loved having a road atlas to track our progress.  This one is a lot of fun for kids:

Start or join a Geography club

Geography clubs are one of my favorite things! They are great for teaching kids research skills and how to make geography and cultural connections.  They learn physical geography, historical information, cultural facts, and artistic skills.  I ran several geography Clubs over the years.

We gathered families together and we would choose a country to study and usually meet two times a month. Each family was responsible for presenting an aspect of that country. Typically, the family hosting would prepare the food, another family would talk about geographic location and topography and typically present a map, another family would discuss the people and culture, and often dressed in traditional attire from that country, another family would prepare a game we played that originated from that country, another family did a presentation on the type of government and political system, and another prepared a craft from that country, and more! Just depended on how many families attended. It was an all-afternoon party! 

Games

You know how much we love our board games.  One of my all-time favorites is Ticket to Ride- First Journey, US Version, European Version:

Ticket to Ride First Journey Board Game | Strategy Game | Train Adventure Game | Fun Family Game for Kids and Adults | Ages 6+ | 2-4 Players | Average Playtime 15-30 Minutes

Ticket to Ride Board Game | Family Board Game | Board Game for Adults and Family | Train Game | Ages 8+ | For 2 to 5 players | Average Playtime 30-60 minutes

Ticket to Ride Europe Board Game | Family Board Game | Board Game for Adults and Family | Train Game | Ages 8+ | For 2 to 5 players | Average Playtime 30-60 minutes

When my kids were older, they loved the game RISK. What’s not fun about taking over the world in a game of strategic domination? We have a really fancy vintage game. We got it at a garage sale and my kids always thought it was hysterical because it actually had the USSR. Even though the information was not completely accurate, we had so many discussions about it they will never forget.

Risk Game | Family Board Game | Board Game for Adults and Family | Strategy Game | Ages 10+ | For 2 to 5 players

The World Game is also a lot of fun and a good way to teach geography to the entire family. I promise, with this game you are going to learn a lot too!

The World Game – Geography Card Game | Ages 7+ | For 2 to 5 players | Educational Board Game for Kids, Family & Adults

Books and other media

We read the book 360 Degrees Longitude: One Family’s Journey around the World in one of our homeschool programs.  It chronicles a family’s journey on bikes through 28 countries.  The book also uses Google Earth as a compliment to the narrative.  You can follow along virtually through maps, videos, photos, and text.

360 Degrees Longitude employs Google Earth as a compliment to the narrative. Using your computer you can spin the digital globe to join the adventure cycling through Europe, Africa, and the Andes.

For younger kids, the older show “Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego” still has a ton of appeal and is online to stream or you can also get it from your library – or you can tune into the new version.  She’s an international thief whose capers are used to teach children geography via tracking her down as she swipes monuments and sneaks them around the world.

Penpals or Postcrossing

Get a penpal- we often see requests for these online.  I also stumbled on this kind of accidental geography project while looking for penpals years ago.  It’s a website called postcrossing.  Basically, you set up a profile and send postcards to people and others send them back to you.  Meanwhile, you can track on a map and learn about the different places your cards have come from.

Geocaching, Letterboxing, and Orienteering

Geocaching is a type of global treasure hunt.  In this real life treasure hunt, people look for hidden treasure or caches.  This is fun for all ages and there are all types of caches from micros, to large ammo boxes.  Seekers use a GPS (your cell phone) to find the treasures and then log their finds both in the cache or online.  The bigger caches may have cool items that you can take or trade.  Caches are everywhere.  We were really obsessed with this for a while and it took us to some really cool places we would not have found otherwise. I kept a gallon size baggy in my glove box with a pen and little plastic animals which I used for cache trades. 

Letterboxing is in the same vein as geocaching– except that rather than GPS, letter boxes are found through elaborate directions and landmarks.  Once you find the, they contain a book and a unique stamp, which you put in your book, and you can sign or carry your own stamp to put in theirs.  

Orienteering is a kind of sport that requires navigational skills using a map and compass to navigate from point to point. It’s typically in a diverse and often unfamiliar terrain and sometimes involves you moving at a certain speed.   You’ll have a topographical map with prepared control points. You can find orienteering groups in your city,  this is also a common scouting activity. I know friends who do races that involve orienteering as well. There’s a permanent orienteering course at the Bob Woodruff Park in Plano and you may be able to find one in your area.

GPS my City is another thing I talked about in our field trip episode and that we have a blog post coming.  It’s an app that you can use to read travel articles and then create walking tours in various cities around the globe.  I mainly use this while traveling, but you could also use it in your own town.

How do you teach about different cultures in your homeschool? (20:13)

So we talked about geography club being a great way to introduce different countries and cultures to your students. One of my favorite ways of incorporating cultural studies is through food. Yum.  Cooking is not only a great skill to know, it’s a fantastic way to teach about different cuisines. We’ve used a lot of different cookbooks over the years but a couple that I love that have kid friendly, recipes and easy to follow instructions are 

International Cooking for Kids: Multicultural Recipes to Make with your Family from Around the World (Cooking with Kids Series)

If you don’t want to do this in your own kitchen and prefer to support local (and often minority owned businesses ), I really recommend trying out visiting different restaurants and cuisines in your area.  Often it’s a great way to expand your food palate, try some dishes that may be totally new to you, and learn something about the culture straight from the source.  We used to have a Culture Club restaurant group where we met for lunch once every two weeks and tried different foods.  We would read up about the country or region beforehand and discuss over lunch.  If you have a friend who can guide you in the food of their culture, that’s even better.  We have a friend who has graciously done an Asian grocery market tour of her favorite items and always offers to give friends a crash course in Korean BBQ.

Universal Yums

Universal Yums is something we did for over 10 years in our homeschool. If you’ve not heard of it, you’ve got to check it out. Universal Yums is a subscription service that sends you a box of snacks and candies from a different country every month. It was only about $12 a month and they sent us so many snacks that were delicious and unique and often extremely difficult to find in the US. 

We’ve learned so much from other countries with Universal Yums!

Each Universal Yums box also came with an interactive guidebook for that country. It described in detail each item and where the food originated. We would read these right before we tried each snack. It was a big event in my house. The booklet also has trivia, games, recipes, culture and more from that country. We would often head to the library and gather books and continue reading. It really was like getting a present every month in the mail.

Model United Nations is an educational simulation in which students learn about diplomacy, international relations, and the UN at a conference the students will work as a representative of a country and they must solve problems with other delegates from around the world. They learn all kinds of skills like research, public speaking, debate, writing, in addition to critical thinking, teamwork and leadership. While it’s typically an extracurricular activity, some schools also offered us a class. My kids have been actively involved in model United Nations groups since they were little.  The program that they do is a middle school program but it involves kids as young as 8 to 10 as pages in the program and then high school kids run the program as the secretariat. 

There are all kinds of model United Nations programs out there. The YMCA runs a large one and there are high school groups that participate, even college groups participate in model United Nations.  It’s really an awesome activity that engages students and allows them to develop a deeper understanding of current world issues, world politics and just the things that can affect different cultures and countries.

Cultural events and Celebrations—  We touched on this in our field trip episode, too, but visiting cultural events and celebrations in your area is a great way to learn about others.  We love attending events like the Greek Festival, Chinese New Year, and other country specific or cultural celebrations. 

And of course, reading!  We specifically search for books that contain characters of color as well as main characters that may represent a minority point of view.  We look for books that are written by an author of diversity or color from their perspective.   Books that feature myths or folktales from other countries are often favorites and can show kids the parallels between these stories and the stories they may have grown up with.  You do want to make sure you are choosing quality books and not ones that reinforce negative stereotypes.  We want to encourage our kids to be global citizens and celebrate diversity and inclusion. 

Heritage Mom

We are including a couple links to websites with wonderful book lists.  Amber O’Neal Johnston’s Heritage Mom site has a fantastic page of recommendations, mostly including African and African American, but also, books about refugees and migrants, etc.

Pragmatic Mom

Another list is from Mia WenJen’s site.  She is the co-creator of Multicultural Children’s Book Day (January 25th). Her Pragmatic Mom site is amazing.

Kelly Tudor is Lipan Apache and a citizen of the Lipan Apache Tribe of Texas.  She is culturally intact, speaks her language, and is active in the local Native community.  She has a blog that reviews curriculum and books from an Indigenous perspective and she’s also a very popular Indigenous instructor on Outschool.  We will link to both her classes and her blog.

What are our favorite geography homeschool resources in addition to all the ones we’ve listed so far? (27:08)

Mapping the World with Art by Eileen Henry is almost 3 books in one- the first section is a history text that tells the story of cartography from ancient Mesopotamia up to the discovery of Antarctica, the second section provides step-by-step drawing lessons for each of those history lessons, and in the last section provides extra activities that you can use with your students like worksheets, group games, historical crafts, art projects etc. 

Mapping the World with Art is such a great introduction to breaking down the world in pieces and helping the kids understand the small parts of a whole. its making cartography and geography so much more interesting for them

Build Your Library is a secular, Charlotte Mason inspired, literature-based curriculum that both of us have used for many years.

BYL is a secular, Charlotte Mason inspired, literature-based curriculum that both of us have used for many years. Level 0 is a gentle tour around the world and introduces kids to seven continents and explores amazing places, people and the animals of these regions.  It is appropriate for about 5- to 7-year-olds. Level 7 explores various landscapes, continents, culture, and people with another diverse and exciting book list.  The literature in this level takes you to many destinations across all seven continents. This level also teaches about the religions of the world. This suits a middle school age range and is a great program for multi age families.  The levels do not include math, so it is flexible and easy to combine different age kids.

Holling Clancy Holling was an author and artist who worked in a taxidermy department of the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago and spent time working in anthropology. For many years, Holling C. Holling dedicated much of his time and interest to making books for children. Much of the material he used was known to him firsthand, and his wife, Lucille, worked with him on many of the illustrations.  He has 4 books that we have used. Disclaimer: they are very old books.

There’s an awesome set of maps from the Beautiful Feet company (not a secular resource, but they are just blank maps) that we bought to go with these.  They are on parchment style paper and just gorgeous- we colored them in and hung them in our classroom- they make excellently keepsakes.

From mapping and directions, to learning about different cultures and how to be a global citizen, geography is not a subject to be skipped!

This Week’s Freebie:

Download your FREE Geography Basics Bundle! It introduces a compass rose, cardinal directions, using maps, and identifying your place in the world. It also has grids that encourage your child to map their bedroom and neighborhood.

Discovering Geography and Culture Through Food

Universal Yums

Discovering Geography and Culture Through Food

What is Universal Yums?

countries, country, flags-1301799.jpg

They also include a booklet of information about that country. The booklet is full of fun facts, recipes, and reasons why each treat was included in the box. It’s easy to build an entire UNIT STUDY around each country – and the kids love getting to “travel” from home!

Tracing a Map
Episode 029.
BTDT HOMESCHOOL PODCAST

New episode every Thursday!

BTDT Homeschool was created with a heartfelt mission: to empower and give back to the secular homeschool community.

Through our informative podcasts, blog posts, daily inspiration, and a wide range of free printable tools, we aim to empower you on your homeschooling journey.

New to Homeschooling>>>

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Why Is It Important To Learn About Different Cultures?

We love incorporating Universal Yums in our social studies and as we learn about geographical regions. Learning about different cultures is important for several reasons:

  1. It gives our children an appreciation of diversity: Learning about different cultures helps us appreciate the diversity of people, beliefs, and traditions that exist in the world.
  2. It improves communication and understanding: Learning about different cultures helps us understand the perspectives and experiences of people from different backgrounds, which can improve communication and understanding.
  3. It allows for cultural competence: Cultural competence is the ability to understand, appreciate, and effectively interact with people from different cultures. Learning about different cultures can help us develop this important skill.
  4. It gives a greater understanding of global issues: In a globalized world, knowledge of different cultures and languages can be an asset as your children explore many careers, especially in industries such as travel, international business, and diplomacy.
  5. Personal growth: Learning about different cultures can broaden our horizons and help us see the world from different perspectives. It can also challenge our assumptions and biases, promoting personal growth and development.

You won’t have to worry about forgetting your passport with Universal Yums. You’ll receive a delivery of snacks and candy from a different country, paired with plenty of information about what’s in your box. You’ll snack like a local, enjoying offerings from all over the globe.

  1. Unique snacks from around the world: Universal Yums delivers a variety of snacks and candies from different countries each month, allowing subscribers to try new and unique foods that they might not be able to find in their local stores.
  2. Discovery of new cultures: With each box, Universal Yums includes a booklet that provides information about the featured country’s history, culture, and food traditions, giving subscribers the opportunity to learn and explore different cultures.
  3. Surprise and excitement: Each box is a surprise, as subscribers don’t know which country’s snacks they will receive until they open it. This element of surprise can add excitement and anticipation to the subscription.
  4. Personalized experience: Universal Yums allows subscribers to customize their subscription by choosing the box size, delivery frequency, and preferences for certain types of snacks.
  5. Community and social interaction: Universal Yums has a large and active online community, with social media groups where subscribers can share their thoughts and opinions on the snacks they receive, as well as interact with other subscribers from around the world.

As we taste each snack, I read the information about that particular treat from the booklet to my children. We all have very different opinions about how much we like each snack, and we record our opinions on the back of the included map, on a scale of 1-3.

PROS

  • Original Snacks: The diversity of snacks was quite impressive. There is a nice mix of sweet and savory bites and unusual flavors. The snacks are also difficult to find in the US making the experience special and memorable. Even in the smaller Yum snack boxes, we really appreciated the full-size snacks in each box. The flavors and textures are a treat for the taste buds.
  • Cultural Immersion Booklet: The booklet in each snack box is surprisingly detailed and rich with fun facts, games and recipes. The stories behind the snacks are fascinating and the nutritional information is also helpful. You not only enjoy the tasty snacks but also learn about the history of the country featured.
  • Easy and Simple Ordering: The ordering and shipping process on the Universal Yums website is simple and pain-free. The website is easy to navigate and placing your order is clear and straightforward. We went with the month-to-month option, and it was easy to order and cancel the snack subscription box.
  • Order individual Snacks from the Yum Shop: We love the new and improved Yum ShopIf you’re a fan of a snack from a particular country, you can buy it directly from the Universal Yum shop. You can also shop for best selling items and get extra discounts on featured snacks. The snacks in the shop change regularly, making it a great place to check for unique snacks.
  • Free and Fast Shipping: Shipping for all the boxes is free in the USA. We were quite impressed with the fast shipping and delivery of the snack boxes. If you are shipping internationally you will pay a small shipping fee and you can see the pricing on the Universal Yums website. In either case, you will be able to track your snack box shipment online.
  • Ingredient Transparency: Ingredients and nutritional information is listed in the booklet (in English). Common allergens are bolded.
  • Responsive Customer Service Support: We found the customer service team to be very helpful.
  • Easy process: ordering and cancelling your subscription is easy to do. Website clearly laid out.
  • Discount: Discounted rate if you purchase an annual subscription
  • Gifting: Customer service makes it easy to buy a gift subscription for a friend or family member.

CONS

  • Snacks Do Not Accommodate Food Allergies Or Dietary Restrictions: The snacks provided in each of the boxes are not tailored for food allergies or dietary restrictions. 
  • International Shipping Costs: As mentioned earlier, Universal Yums only offers free shipping within the USA. For international shipments, plan to pay a small shipping fee.
  • Can’t order previous boxes: You can’t order an entire previous box, but you can order individual items from their Yum Shop.

How Does Universal Yums Work?

1. Start

2. Ship

Your first box will ship by the date listed in the sign-up process. Future boxes will ship by the 15th of each month.


3. Snack

Receive your box of Yums and go on an unforgettable adventure! Feeling full? There’s a one-step cancellation process.

Before we first open the box, my kids guess which country they think it might be from. When they discover the country, we locate it on the world globe and share all of the facts we already know about the country!

I like to sneak a peek and see what country is heading my way.

I like to do this to have further reading and understanding and make it an entire unit study about the country when receiving our box!

In your box you’ll receive the snacks, a booklet with relevant information and nutrition facts, and the larger boxes come with bonus trivia, recipes, and more.

  • The countries rotate every month!
  • Holiday Theme – try holiday snacks from multiple countries!
  • We’ve even received a Halloween Trick or Treat Tasting game box!
  • Spain, Scandinavia, Italy, UK, Taiwan, Turkey, and more!

How Much Does Universal Yums Cost?

Universal Yums offers different subscription plans, and customers can choose to receive boxes from a specific country or opt for a surprise country every month. The cost of Universal Yums subscription boxes varies depending on the box size and delivery frequency selected.

Pricing options:

Universal Yums pricing is determined by the size of the box you order, and whether you choose to pre-pay for a whole year or just one month at a time. Shipping is always free in the US.

BOX SIZEMonthly Price
per box
Annual Price
per box
Small (5-7 snacks)$15$17
Medium (10-12 snacks)$26$28
Large (18-20 snacks)$41$42

Sample Universal Yum Boxes

One the company site, you can find examples of past Universal Yums boxes along with the top contents of each box. The snacks are listed in the categories of “Best,” “2nd Best,” and “Weirdest.” Universal Yums snack boxes feature all sorts of snacks that you can’t find in the U.S. Here is a review of some of the top picks:

  • Italy Box. The Italy snack box contained treats like Black Truffle Potato Chips, Lemon Pepper Taralli, and Amarettini Cookies.
  • Ukraine Box. Ukraine’s box featured snacks such as Cheese Curd Waffles, Potato and Onion Sticks, and Chocolate Pizza.
  • Spain Box. The best foods from the Spain box were Spicy Mango Gummies, Caramel White Chocolate, and Cocoa Truffles.
  • Turkey Box. The 2019 Turkey snack box had favorites such as Carrot and Pistachio Turkish Delight, Spice Crackers, and Mosaic Cookies.
  • France Box. The France snack box had important items from French culture such as Strawberry Chews, Raspberry Swirl Cake, and Sea Salt Chocolate.

Is Universal Yums Worth it?

I feel the Universal Yums subscription box was well worth the price, for the variety of items, ease of ordering, and the booklet, which provided interesting and useful information. Especially if you live in the USA.

Teach your kids about different cultures with Universal Yums!

We find that the cost is a huge savings of time and money because if I took the time to shop for foods from specific countries, I know it would cost more locally.

How To Make Universal Yums Even MORE Educational

The kids can take turns with this one, too. Each month, one child can scratch off the country while another child gets to scratch off the flag.

Postcrossing

Postcrossing

An accidental geography project

Postcrossing is FREE

Modern Day Penpals

When I was about 10, I had a pen pal (I don’t remember now where we got them, possibly it was a school project) -a boy named James from England and we wrote back and forth for many years.  When my older kids were about that same age, they mentioned wanting to find penpals, too, but as homeschoolers, we didn’t really know where to start.  While browsing online, we stumbled across a website called Postcrossing and ended up finding the greatest accidental geography project.

What is Postcrossing?

With today’s technology like texting and email, the art of the handwritten note has slowly faded away.  There’s satisfaction in immediate responses and many people don’t have the patience to wait for the mail. But for children, and some adults, there is such joy in opening up your mailbox and finding actual mail! 

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Postcrossing is a project that allows you to send postcards and receive postcards back from random people around the world.  For each postcard you send, you will receive one back from a random postcrosser from somewhere else. There are more than 800, 000 Postcrossing members in 208 countries across the world. This means that you can receive personal mail from people living in other countries,from different cultures, with different hobbies and interests. The postcards you receive may be from places you have never before seen, and  you get a genuine feel for how other live.

Who Created Postcrossing?

The Postcrossing project was created in 2005 by Paulo Magalhães, as a side project when he was a student in Portugal.  He loved to receive mail and postcards from friends and family. He knew more people shared the same interest, but there was no good way yet to connect everyone. And that’s how he got the initial idea of creating the online platform for this thing he called Postcrossing. Its goal: to connect people across the world through postcards, independently of their country, age, gender, race or beliefs.  By 2008, 1 million postcards had been sent via postcrossing. By January 2021, 60 million!

From Russia with Love
This one came from Hungary with a mythology lesson

How Does it Work?

You do need to be at least 13 years old or have parental permission to join Postcrossing. There are security settings and community guidelines, but because they are postcards, you are not putting a return address or any personal information on the cards that you send. 

We try to send postcards from places we have lived or have visited that show geographical features or skylines or other things about the area.  Or if a receiver has a specific wish for animal cards or art, we will try and find a card like that.  Some people like to know the temperature where you are writing from or receive special stamps.  It’s fun to look through the profiles of the people you are sending to and be able to include a personal note. 

Sometimes seeing the stamps is the best part

After you have set up your profile, you can request addresses for cards.   You are issued a postcard ID that you include on your postcard, and once you receive or your postcard is received, you log that postcard and ID number onto your homepage.  From there you can see interesting stats- how many days it traveled, you can view a virtual map of its travel, and you can keep track of the cards you have sent and received. You can also upload photos of the cards you send and the cards you receive and showcase your favorites.

Lessons from China

Since we chose to use this as a geography project, we also liked to pinpoint the country we received cards from on our big world map. We love looking to see how far cards come and learning about different countries and places. Receiving postcards from different places in the world can really turn your mailbox into an adventure. Practicing handwriting is a lot more enjoyable when you have a purpose and destination.  And this is a fun, simple, and inexpensive project that anyone can do and at any age. It’s like traveling, but without a passport!

Postcrossing is FREE!
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