Google The Unplanned Homeschooler: An exciting alternative to the postcard exchange

Monday, August 4, 2014

An exciting alternative to the postcard exchange

I've seen a lot of buzz lately about postcard swaps. The idea is to find other homeschoolers from around the country, ideally one in every state, and set up an exchange, so that each child in the group gets postcards from all the other states and learns a little bit about history and geography along the way.

The idea of a postcard swap sounds neat. Kids love getting mail, and postcards from all around the country could spur a lot of interest in learning about our great states. But organizing a swap can get complicated, especially when trying to exchange addresses and other personal information with strangers you've met online. Parents want to be safe, after all.

I figured out another way to fill our mailbox with educational materials from every state, and it was easy and free to do. A few years ago, when I wanted to spark my children's interest in U.S. geography and help them learn more about the 50 states, I sent requests to the state travel and tourism offices in every state to request maps and tourism guides for our family.



Three years ago, I looked up state travel and tourism offices individually, just doing a search by state names. But another homeschooling mom showed me a site that has links for all 50 states conveniently compiled together, so the hard part is done for you.

Some states offered many more resources than just travel guides, free for the asking, including brochures about historic landmarks and battlefields, maps of specific areas of the state, and more. Before long, we had in our hands full color books, from every state, full of information about major cities, state history, natural resources, sports and entertainment, and all sorts of cultural treasures.

So, if you are a little wary about participating in a postcard exchange with folks you don't know, or if you happened to miss out on the sign up, consider this alternative. It might be the perfect way to request educational mail for your child, and to stock up on valuable educational materials like full sized state maps. Who knows, you might even find a great place to take a family vacation!