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The Journal of Homeschooling


We mentioned Discover America as gaining popularity in the homeschooling community in the last issue of Homefires. It sounded so good I ordered the game for review. The game's inventor has taken his cues from two very popular games, Monopoly and Trivial Pursuit, and combined them with geographical, historical, and sociological facts and tidbits about America and its culture to produce an amazing game--and a neat educational tool to boot!

The object of Discover America is to move your game piece around the board - through every state in the Union - and arrive in our nation's capital, Washington, DC.  As each player moves, they earn and spend money along the way. A player has the option on every turn to either: shake two dice leading to a variety of options and moves; or to spin the state selector to name a state capital, win $10 and move ahead. Once all of the players travel around the board and arrive in Washington, DC, the one with the most money wins the game.

Although not a great strategic move, I couldn't resist testing myself by spinning the state selector. Turns out I don't know the state capitals the way I thought I did - much to my chagrin and my children's delight!
When the game was over, my family enjoyed reading the Quiz Cards and trying to answer questions like: Who is on the front of a $50 bill? Where is the lowest point in the United States? When did the Civil War begin? Define the term "red coat."  Which president said "Read my lips?"  Spell Ulysses (as in Ulysses S. Grant). When did the "yo-yo" become popular in America? and so on.

Some of the questions presented opportunities to explain historical events and cultural crazes that my children were unaware of. The fact that the game stimulates family conversations about American historical and social events is worth the price alone. I consider this game to be open-ended. You can use the information in a variety of ways that can lead to hours of educational focus and fun.

Diane Flynn Keith, Editor & Publisher