Are You Ready for Some Geography?…

Tonight begins Monday Night Football, noted on my calendar for the entire season as "MNF."  Why does a middle-aged mama note Monday Night Football on her calendar? I like to keep track of my husband. He won’t be on the couch with a beer and a bowl of chips. He’ll be at every Monday Night Football site all season long (with the exception of San Francisco tonight–he can’t bi-locate so when MNF is at two locations, he’s only at one of them;-). As much as we love sports around here and as grateful as we are for this job, this is a very long haul through the fall.

Last year, as my younger children began to figure out the rhythm to Mike’s travels, we started moving a Post-it note arrow around on a big wall map so that they could see where he was. But a flat map on the wall doesn’t really do much for a child’s imagination. They couldn’t really picture him where he was working.  Kim introduced me to the idea of geography textboxes these wonderful picture books, and an idea was born.

Every week, on Monday, we spend the afternoon reading and writing about the state where Monday Night Football is being played. The books are packed with information and illustrations and pictures. There is a short rhyming verse on each page, perfect for the little ones. The older children spend more time with the book, reading the more involved columns on the page for detail.

Last year, the baby arrived four weeks into football season. I relied heavily on the idea in these free unit studies which are keyed to the books. This year, I think we are going to focus only on the information in the book during our study time. Each child is creating his or her own book. The books vary according to age and interest and I’m giving the children free reign to pull out of the alphabet books what matters most to them and then to express that in their notebooks.

On Monday evenings, we watch ESPN beginning well before the game. In all honesty, this has nothing to do with geography and everything to do with our Daddy’s shows. But, the bonus to our devotion is that we see great scenic shots of the places we’ve just read in the books. All the way up through the pre-game show and the introduction, there are sights and sounds of the state we’ve studied.

Finally, as he dashes through the airport on his way home, Mike collects a few postcards from each state to add to the book. All the books we will use for Monday Night Football geography are linked on the sidebar. Maybe you’d like to travel with us this fall!


  1. says

    Greetings from Cincy! We’ll be watching tonight, for sure, since it’s a big deal for the Bengals to be on MNF! ;-)
    Oh, you should introduce the kids to Cincinnati Chili: It’s a unique kind of chili (really more of a sauce) that’s served over spaghetti. I thought it was WEIRD when I first moved here from NY, but now we have it a couple of times a month.
    What a great idea for learning US geography!

  2. Kacky says

    Very way cool. I love love these picture books. They make great gifts too, for folks of all ages. Thanks for the great links! Go team!

  3. says

    Cool beyond belief. We’re watching Ravens vs. Bengals right now. Anyone who wants Baltimore info, let me know! (I was privileged to drive around the city the night the Ravens won the Super Bowl…mega-cool.)

  4. says

    Well, I see you have comments from both Cincinnati and Baltimore. We’re living in Baltimore and were living in the Cincinnati area a little over a year ago. And my husband likes football and youngest son loves it, so you can be sure it’s on right now. I was telling them to watch/listen for your husband, but now I don’t remember what it is that he does. Could you refresh us on that? :)

  5. says

    You are a very cool mom! This is a great idea. As we’re very involved with PSU college football and the Steelers, this has great potential for our house, too.

  6. says

    I am forwarding this to my husband, he read Jim Stenson’s Fatherhood and came away having learned that it is fine to spend a lot of time watching football as long as you somehow engage with the kids — maybe now he will see that including them can mean more than asking them to pass the pretzels!

  7. says

    Ah, the blessing of homeschooling! How wonderful that avid little football fans can stay up past 10 to watch an interesting 4th quarter without having to worry about being tired the next morning or missing the bus to school. :-)
    Hope dinner was a hit.

  8. says

    Looks like you’ll be studying Minnesota in the middle of December! Let me know if you need anything and I’ll be sure to get it for you! Will Mike be here on Sunday for Mass? We’d love to meet him!

  9. Mary says

    How awesome! I’m tucking this idea away in the “when my kids are older” file. Can’t wait to try it! Just one question, what do you do about the sometimes distasteful commercials during the pre-game broadcast?

  10. says

    Elizabeth, I love this idea! Now if I could only afford cable… We are now settled into the fact that we can no longer watch MNF, so we now watch SNF. I am another one from Baltimore, so you can imagine how disappointed I was on Monday Night. Anyway, this is a great idea and I love those books. I have an account with that publisher and they really produce some beautiful alphabet and counting books.