Today we visited South Dakota!

Well today was a very interesting day!

We have been involved in what we have called a ‘Cultural Exchange Envelope’. This is a project that the children and I devised in order to make our learning about other countries, people around the world and cultures more fun. It involves a person, family or school group to collect paper based items from where they live, and to put them into an envelope and post them over to us and we do the same thing back to them.

We have devised a list of what kinds of paper based items people can put into the envelope, the list is definitely not exhaustive, but gives an in depth idea to those participating of what they can add to the envelope to post over to us.. These items are based on accessibility and low cost. which is designed to help us learn more about their actual daily life where they live as well as keep costs down to the minimum. Basically the most expensive part of this envelope exchange is actually posting the envelope off to some one some where else in the world.

Anyway, Yesterday we received a cultural exchange envelope from another home educating family in the state of South Dakota in the USA. Unfortunately we did not get time to actually open it and examine the contents of the envelope until today. But what a wonderful surprise it was to open it and view all the wonderful things they had sent us!

The envelope contained a letter from the family for us telling us about their life. It also had a photo of them and a write up of a ‘Day in their live” which gave us a wonderful insight into what life is like for them where they live. We were able to see a little of their state through the five post cards they enclosed and had a wonderful history lesson reading through the enclosed information about Mt Rushmore in the student guide provided.

This wonderful family had also enclosed a copy of their local newspaper – the Rapid City Newspaper – which was a interesting read. Not only was it great to see what news is about where they live, it was very interesting to see just how long, but slim their newspaper is! They also enclosed a copy of their local grocery store leaflet. This too was very interesting. The prices of the food and items seemed very cheap, however we will be working on establishing just how cheap, when we sit down for a maths lesson (once everyone is no longer sick) and Jah has to convert LBS to Kilos, American Dollar to the Australian Dollar and Gallons to Litres!

Other items that were enclosed in the envelope include:

South Dakota State colouring in pages

State Map

Hunting and Fishing puzzles

South Dakota Wildlife Sheet

A Stamp

Tourist Pamphlets –

  • wall / badlands
  • Bear Country
  • Chapel in the Hills
  • Hotel Alex Johnson
  • Homestake mine
  • Landstrom’s Black Hills Gold
  • Reptile Gardens
  • Crazy Horse
  • Bear Butte
  • Custer State Park
  • Devil’s Tower
  • Tribal Lands
  • Spearfish

Information sheet on Wild bill Hickok

5 Postcards

A photograph of the family

A list of educational Websites related to their state and area.

Rapid City Newspaper

Diary Entry

Letter to us

Grocery Ads

South Dakota - Cultural Exchange Envelope Contents

South Dakota - Cultural Exchange Envelope Contents

We will also be looking at all the leaflets to read about each individual place. Then we will choose one or two to do some further research on. I am Hoping that Jah will choose to present her findings in either a power point presentation (which we can then add to this website for you all to see) or as a written project.

Our Trip to South Dakota has been a great one, it has been taken through the eyes of  a local and a trip that without our new friends we would not been able to have. So thank you to the ‘H’ Family who shared not only a little of their state with us, but a lot of their daily life with us too!

Cultural Exchange Envelope – learning about the world around us though another persons eyes.

Well we have devised a new way to learn about other countries, their people and cultures.

I have been looking for a way to make learning more fun. Then all of a sudden it came to me . Why not try to organise a ‘Cultural Exchange envelope’. The more I thought about this the more I knew it could work. I first tried attracting people to be involved in this exchange in late October last year, however I never managed to get enough people really interested. So I shelved it for a while, before really starting to actively engage myself in trying to get others to join in. So from today onwards I am hoping to get others interested in the project involved and the envelopes exchanged!

All of the contents would be paper based, in fact most of it could be sourced from around the house for free and also from the local Tourist Information Centre or from a Tourist Attraction themselves. The items would be a representation of where each participant lives and their daily life. They would provide a glimpse into the world through their eyes and a way for us to use all our skills to learn more about them and their country or state.

A few of the ways in which we intend to learn from these participants and the contents of their envelopes:

  • Following directions from Maps,
  • Plotting itineraries based on visiting the tourist attractions detailed in the enclosed Leaflets,
  • Converting the cost of their groceries (as detailed in their currency)  into the Australian Dollar, converting Llbs into kilos, Gallons into Litres etc
  • Researching some of the places that the tourist leaflets talk about.
  • Reading about the lives of other people in other countries,
  • Exploring another persons perspective on where they live.
  • Reading their local newspapers
  • Engaging in the activities sent with the envelope, such as word searches, colouring pages, eductaional activities.

We can’t wait to get started!

Flying high and home again!

Saying Goodbye to Monty!

Well today was JAHG’s final day staying at Babcia and Dziadek’s House. On her way out to the car to travel to the airport, she asked to say good by to Monty and to have her photo taken with him. JAHG loves animals and would love noth9ing more than for us to be able to have a pet of our own. Unfortunately this is not going to happen anytime soon. But hopefully one day we will be able to forfill this request for the children.

Today also held a ‘first’ for JAHG. Having only travelled by car or ferry before, today she enjoyed her very first plane ride. JAHg has talked about this dy for months, ever since we booked her plane ticket with Babcia to return home to Tasmania. She has been very excited about the prospect of travelling on a plane, but also a little apprehensive. However she reported after returning home that the experience was quite fun, which is great news.

JAHG on her first flight on a plane!

Once back home again, JAHG was happy to see her little sister and to show f some of her art work to Babcia!

Sister's Reunited!

Spirit of Tasmania I – here we come!

Well today was our day to head home. We had packed our car the night before and then got up really early this morning to have some breakfast, say good bye to Babcia, Dziadek and JAHG (JAHG is staying an extra few days and will fly back to Hobart with Babcia on the 2nd of February), before actually getting into the car to drive from Churchill in the Latrobe valley  to Melbourne to board our ferry back to Devonport Tasmania. It was amazing just how much traffic was still on the roads at 4.30 am as we left on our journey into the City of Melbourne. SZG and I commented that the amount of traffic at this hour of the day (4.30am) was basically more than what we have seen in Hobart or Launceston at Peak hour!

When we arrived at the ferry terminal we were greeted with the news that we would be travelling on the Spirit of Tasmania I. Until now we had always manage to travel on the Spirit of Tasmania II, so this boat was a new experience for us, even though they are said to be the same! For much of the trip, we enjoyed the comfort of our Cabin, sleeping when ever possible and just reading our magazines, books and NIK drew some pictures to fill in the time.

All the while JAHG was starting out back in Churchill on her first grand adventure without Mum, Tata or NIK, as she stayed behind at Babcia and Dzadek’s house for about another week. Lets hope she has lots of fun! As for us we can’t wit to be back home!

Fun at Babcia and Dziadek’s House

NIK, JAHG, Dziadek and Monty the Dog.

Today we spent the day at Babcia and Dziadek’s House. The children enjoyed this immensely. It has been almost two years since we have visited them at their house, yet it seemed like yesterday once we got there. Both girls were very excited to see Monty the dog and Marnie the cat. Monty was very accomodating in sticking around for photo opportunities, however the same could not be said for Marnie as he did very well at hiding away.

During the day we did lots of things, such as visiting Pra babcia’s grave, going for a walk. JAHG did some bead craft – Making necklaces and bracelets for us all. NIK enjoyed a play with Monty, who is almost as big as her and a great day was had by all.

JAHG hard at work with her beads making Jewellery.