Calling all homeschool historians, geographers, artists, and treasure hunters! Here’s something new to search for in your pockets this month: the National Park of American Samoa “America the Beautiful” quarter, just out from the U.S. Mint.
If you’re looking for a fun and easy way to include some interesting geographical and historical facts in your homeschool schedule (as well as a little motivational treasure hunting), you can’t do better than to keep an eye on the “America the Beautiful” quarters series. This commemorative series began in 2010 and each year five new designs are issued featuring national parks and other historic sites in the U.S. states and territories.
The latest quarter commemorates the National Park of American Samoa, and it has just gone into circulation:
“The National Park of American Samoa is located some 2,600 miles southwest of Hawaii and is one of the most remote in the U.S. National Park System. The site includes sections of three islands — Tutuila, Ta’ū, and Ofu. Almost all of the land area of these volcanic islands — from the mountaintops to the coast — is tropical rainforest. The park’s area totals 13,500 acres, 4,000 of which are underwater.
“The obverse (heads) design features the familiar image of George Washington by John Flanagan, used on the quarter since 1932. It has been restored to bring out subtle details and the beauty of the original.
“The reverse (tails) design depicts a Samoan fruit bat mother hanging in a tree with her pup. The image evokes the remarkable care and energy that this species puts into their offspring. The design is intended to promote awareness to the species’ threatened status due to habitat loss and commercial hunting. The National Park of American Samoa is the only park in the United States that is home to the Samoan fruit bat.“ (U.S. Mint)
The Mint has a remarkably comprehensive set of free lesson plans available for the whole America the Beautiful series — you could make quite an American history course out of them. And the Mint also has a very nice simple album for this series (amzn.to/2D2A3dO) — just the thing to get some educational treasure hunting under way. 🔍
(And next up, if you want to look ahead: a quarter for the Weir Farm National Historic Site in Connecticut, scheduled for April.)
What numismatical discoveries have you been making and what cherished collectables have you been accumulating in your homeschool this Orion Term? 😊
❡ Explore more: The Mint has a great introductory page on the history of United States circulating coinage that would be just the thing to use with your young homescholars. Why not study it with them, or ask them to read it and narrate the main points back to you to show what they’ve learned. 💵
❡ Come, here’s the map: The America the Beautiful quarters are a great tool for teaching about geography. Locate each park and each historic site in your homeschool atlas (riverhouses.org/books), and spread out your whole collection on atlas plate 35, the map of the entire United States. 🗺
❡ Make it a tradition: Why not pick up an old roll of circulated quarters at your local grocery store or bank each week and invite your students to go through it around the kitchen table. A whole world of historical and geographical discovery awaits them. 💰
❡ Cabinets of wonder: This is one of our occasional posts on the educational value of collections and collecting for homeschoolers. Add your name to our free weekly mailing list (riverhouses.org/newsletter) and get great homeschool teaching ideas delivered right to your mailbox all through the year. 🗞