Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Memorizing the 50 States

(I recently had a conversation with some other homeschooling moms about songs to help kids learn. I thought I would re-post this entry for those of you trying to teach the 50 states.)

Did you know that "Grand Old Flag" is the perfect tune for memorizing the 50 states?

I didn't either. But on a (very) long family car trip a few years ago I decided to "entertain" myself by looking at a map of the 50 states. (I was the passenger, of course.) This map also listed the order in which the states were admitted.

"Wouldn't it be great to know all 50 states in order?" I asked myself.

With nothing but miles ahead of me I started experimenting with songs that might fit the natural rhythm of the states. Eventually I stumbled upon "Grand Old Flag" and it fit so well that I had to use it. By the time we had reached our destination, I had almost all 50 memorized.

You may not believe me, but my 2 year-old, blessed to be stuck with me in the back, had the first section memorized, too! It didn't matter that he didn't completely understand the words; he just loved music and he loved to repeat things. (He also loved "showing off" to his amazed relatives on that visit, and took pride in teaching the states to his Grammy!) Even today, 5 years later, it doesn't take much effort to recall those states. 

Music is powerful. I often remember places, people, events from the past just by hearing one line of a song. It's an awesome tool for bringing together bits of information and making them much easier to memorize.

I've broken up the states by verse below:
(As a bonus, the first 13 states are also the 13 colonies)

Tune: Grand Old Flag

Delaware, Pennsylvania,
New Jersey, Georgia,
Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland,
South Carolina, New Hampshire,
Virginia, New York,
North Carolina, Rhode Island, Vermont,
Kentucky, Tennessee,
Ohio, Louisiana,
Indiana, Mississippi, Illinois,
Alabama, Maine, Missouri,
Arkansas and Michigan

Florida, Texas
Iowa, Wisconsin,
California, Minnesota, Oregon,
Kansas, West Virginia,
Nevada, Nebraska,
Colorado, North Dakota, South Dakota
Montana, Washington,
Idaho, Wyoming,
Utah, Oklahoma, New Mexico,
Arizona, Alaska, Hawaii
And the Capital is Washington, D.C.

I hope to figure out how to insert a listening clip of these. Enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. Glad you posted this to remind me to work on this with my boys.
    I have been reading your blog since you started posting again and I have some comments, it's just been busy here. One day I'll surprise you and leave a bunch of comments! :)
    Whenever I get to posting about the retreat I may link to your post since it was such an excellent summary-especially since I didn't do it right away and it won't be fresh in my mind. You gave me the idea to post about the library though! I still have a few more rural pastor wife posts and then I'll return to posts about homeschooling and the retreat etc. I had to interrupt the other posts for Lamb 1's birthday but I didn't want to interrupt those posts too much.