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In preparation for Classical Conversations Cycle 3, this summer, we are working on a special project we are calling the "Patriotic Project!" The kids are going to be studying the United States next year including (but not limited to) states & capitols, presidents, landmarks, national parks, and of course, American history.
We are blessed to live in a day and age of an abundance of information. We can read books, research on the internet, and learn about almost anything we want to! But, there is nothing like a personal perspective. So, the kids wrote 100 letters - 50 to the Tourism and Travel Departments of each state and 50 to the Governors of each state in America - requesting information and personal perspective from someone who actually lives in that state. (see more below...)
We are going to keep track of who responds and what state they are from.
And if you live by a national park, landmark, or fascinating place in the United States and would be willing to send us brochures, pictures, pamphlets, website links, books, or anything else to enhance our learning, we would be deeply grateful and would love to include your contribution on this page!
The letters go out tomorrow, July 9, 2011 (which is also Daddy's birthday)!
All the states are listed below. We'll document whether the Governor and / or Tourism Department gets back to us and take a picture of what they send. We also might throw up a few fun links we find to information about each state.
July 14, 2011 - Our first three responses arrive!!! (see Montana, Louisiana, and South Carolina)
July 16, 2011 - Our second round of responses arrive (see North Dakota, Illinois, Arkansas, Indiana, Nevada, Louisiana, and California...)
WOW! They are really rolling in now! 16
packages arrived between the 16th and 18th! I'll just call them July 18th
below in the comments.
The kids are beyond delighted and so enthusiastic to learn when they open each and every package.
Oh my goodness! When we came back from our three week vacation on August 15th, THIS is what awaited our return! Needless to say, we are going to have to take this bit by bit! At this point, I'm not even going to start opening them until we start school. So, bear with us and know when you return to this page, there will most likely be updates!
July 18, 2011: The state of Alabama sent the kids a magazine, a brochure, and a pamphlet. They suggested this website: http://www.alabama.travel/.
July 16, 2011: The Honorable Governor of Arkansas, Mike Beebe, sent several awesome worksheets put together in an information pack as well as an incredible Arkansas activity book for kids and a very impressive letter! One of the things he wanted the kids to know was that Arkansas is the first state in the US where diamonds were found naturally and the only state with a working diamond mine! It was a newsy letter full of several interesting facts!
July 16, 2011: The California Travel and Tourism Commission sent everything in triplicate!!! They sent them each two magazines and an "interesting facts" information sheet. Two websites they suggested were www.visitcalifornia.com and www.visitcwc.com. The official state website is www.ca.gov.
July 18, 2011: The Connecticut Department of Tourism sent printouts, magazines, and 2 very nice brochures for each of the kids. They suggested the following websites: www.kids.ct.gov and www.ctvisit.com. But what thrilled the kids most of all was...
...FLAT STANLEY! Oh WOW! They were so excited that they sent a Flat Stanley along with a letter of everywhere in Connecticut that he visited. So cool!
Checking out the maps...
September 1, 2011: The Honorable Governor of our own great state of Florida, Rick Scott, sent an autographed picture, a biography, and a printout of "quick facts" about the state of Florida! Funny story - when she looked at the picture Siri said, "He's very handsome, but not quite as handsome as Daddy. Maybe Daddy should run for Governor of Florida." It cracked me up!
July 18, 2011: Kira was beyond excited to open the Idaho package because her beloved American Girl Kaya was a Nez Perce Native American who lived in Idaho. Kira already knows way more about this state than I do. Thankfully, whoever sent the package from their Department of Tourism was generous beyond belief. Kira went NUTS going through all the fantastic brochures, pamphlets, and postcards they sent.
July 16, 2011:
The Illinois Department of Commerce and
Economic Opportunity's Office of Tourism sent three booklets called
"Illinois for Kids." Websites they suggested include:
www.enjoyillinois.com and a special
one for kids at:
July 16, 2011: The Indiana Office of Tourism and Development sent pamphlets, bookets, magazines, postcards, and three great activity sheets for the kids. Websites they suggested: www.visitindiana.com. Official state website is www.in.gov.
July 16, 2011: The Louisiana Office of Tourism sent each child their very own package in the mail! WOW! It included a magazine, a state road map, a wonderful thick brochure, and a pin in the shape of the state for each child. The coloring books for each child were an absolute hit! Website they suggested was: www.louisianatravel.com. Official state website is: http://louisiana.gov/.
July 14, 2011: The Honorable Governor of Louisiana, Bobby Jindal, sent a very nice letter and told the kids that their state capitol in Baton Rouge is the tallest in the entire United States. The girls enjoyed reading his letter.
July 18, 2011: The Maine Department of Tourism sent three fantastic maps with lots of information for kids on the back. They suggested three websites: www.visitmaine.com, www.mainekidspage.org, and www.maine.gove/portal/facts_history/facts.html.
July 21, 2011: The Honorable Governor of the state of (they say "The Commonwealth of") Massachusetts, Deval Patrick, sent a nice letter and an extremely cute kids map of the state.
July 20, 2011: The Mississippi Department of Tourism sent a magazine and pamphlet for each one of the kids!
July 21, 2011: The Honorable Governor of Mississippi, Haley Barbour, sent a lovely letter, some pamphlets and brochures, and a recipe for Haley's Chicken! The kids definitely want to try that!
July 18, 2011: The Missouri Department of Tourism sent a fantastic package! WOW! There were tons of postcards, brochures, magazines, and a map too!
Some wonderful, kind soul actually got an index card and hand wrote out several websites for us to visit. Whoever you were, bless you!
July 14, 2011: The Honorable Governor of Montana, Brian Schweitzer, blew us away! Seriously, this kind man sent a TON of stuff for the kids as well as links to special student websites about Montana: http://www.mhs.mt.gov/education/students.asp and www.montanakids.com. The girls were GIDDY getting his wonderful package which included a lovely pin.
July 16, 2011: The Nevada Commission on Tourism sent a booklet, three pamphlets, and a state road map. They have a special website for kids: www.nevadakidspage.org. We've also found www.travelnevada.com and www.nv.gov.
July18, 2011: The Honorable Governor of the state of Nevada, Brian Sandoval sent a wonderful letter. Seriously, his package might not have been large, but he got BIG kudos for actually signing his own name and hand writing a personal note to the kids on the bottom.
September 1, 2011: We received packages from both the Department of Tourism and the Honorable Governor John Lynch. The Dept. of Tourism sent a nice little kids pamphlet which folded out and included a couple games. Governor Lynch sent a letter, a biography, a print out of state symbols, and a wonderful recipe for New Hampshire Apple Pie! I will certainly be trying that one! They suggested students visit: www.visitnh.gov/student for more information.
September 1, 2011: The Governor of New York forwarded the letter we sent him to the New York Division of Tourism so we didn't get to hear from him, but Jamin Clemente sent us a wonderful package filled with stickers, maps, and all sorts of wonderful goodies filled with information.
July 16, 2011: A letter arrived from Mommy's home state! The Honorable Governor of North Dakota, Jack Dalrymple, included a recipe for Spaghetti alla Carbonara and a brochure for the North Dakota Historical Society. He referred us to the state website: www.nd.gov.
September 1, 2011: The North Dakota Department of Tourism sent a great package filled with magazines and brochures. Mommy also picked up a map when we left North Dakota after our summer vacation to visit Grandma and Papa.
July 21, 2011: The Public Affairs Liaison, Brett Thomas, (from the Governor of Oklahoma's office) sent a booklet about the state capitol, information print out with fun facts about Oklahoma, and map. Thank you to Mr. Thomas for the information. We appreciate it so much!
September 1, 2011: The Oklahoma Department of Tourism gets a "O" WOW! They sent a huge box filled with all kinds of amazing things for us to read and learn!
September 1, 2011: The Department of Tourism in Oregon sent a nice package with magazines and pamphlets.
September 1, 2011: We got a fantastic letter from the Honorable Lincoln Chafee, Governor of Rhode Island. He read our letter and answered the questions we sent like - "What's something you would like us to know about your state that we may not find in books or on the web?" Kuddos to him! I've included a very interesting paragraph from his letter. He also sent three State House Activity Books for the kids.
July 14, 2011: Someone from South Carolina sent three little booklets for the kids. It didn't have any return address or indicators at all, so we have no idea who to thank - the governor, the department of tourism, or some wonderful person who read about our project on the website. Whoever you are - THANK YOU!
July 18, 2011: The South Dakota Office of Tourism sent a letter, map, and a page of TWELVE websites where we could find more information! Stay tuned and I'll get them posted soon!
July 21, 2011: The Honorable Governor of Tennessee, Bill Haslam, sent a very nice picture and information packet about his state.
July 21, 2011: The Utah Department of Tourism sent a fantastic package including a magazine, map, and postcards. It was very colorful!
July 20, 2011: The Honorable Governor of Virginia (they say "the Commonwealth of Virginia"), Robert McDonnell, sent us several wonderful things about his state including a poster, print out, brochure, map, and postcard.
July 18, 2011: Our friends Doug and Wanda would be so delighted to know the Governor of their fine state of West Virginia sent an absolutely amazing package for the children. The honorable Earl Ray Tomblin blessed our children with a picture, magazine, postcards, info packet, 3 pins, 3 pencils, and a recipe for Strawberry Bread! We learned that the first organized golf club in the United States was in West Virginia. Now we know why Grandpa Doug and Grandma Wanda live there!
July 21, 2011: The Honorable Governor of the state of Wyoming, Matthew Mead, sent a brochure, map, and information print out about his state. We look forward to learning more!
Come back and visit this page when we get into the school year. I'll show you how we are organizing all this information as well as how the children will be using it to enhance their learning.