I remember eagerly awaiting Wednesdays and Saturdays throughout the summer months as a young girl. Those were the days when I had the privilege of getting the mail when it arrived in our mailbox, a task I shared with my brothers. We each were assigned different days of the week, probably so we wouldn't argue about whose turn it was to retrieve the mail. Even with the Information Age and the ability to e-mail, text, and instant message, there still is something special about getting something in the mail. I still look through the daily mail to see if I have received a letter.
The post office is a great place to visit as well as to research to find out how mail services began. Postal services assist us in many different ways. We recently experienced this while preparing for my youngest son to go on an 18-day trip to China. When it came to sending off for a passport, we were able to do this through our local post office.
With the holidays just around the corner, the job of the U.S. postal carrier becomes more intense. Letters, Christmas cards, packages, and catalogs start filling mailboxes. With Christmas quickly approaching, our minds may be focused on cards we want to write. This time of year is often when we connect with people we have not seen in quite a while. As you are busily preparing for the season, do not forget to say a special thank-you to your local postal carrier.
Let's take a look at the United States postal service and the job they do.
Pony Express, postal system, stamps, postcard, mailbox, post office, mail carrier, letters, packages, airmail.
- God's Word is like a letter written for us. Thank God for His Word.
- There are many letters in the Bible. See how many you can find.
- Look up the word "letter" in a Bible concordance. Record five of the verses you find and memorize one.
"Ye are our epistle [letter] written in our hearts, known and read of all men: forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart." (2 Corinthians 3:2-3)
- Research how much it costs to mail a first-class letter. How many ounces can it be?
- After finding out the mailing expenses, figure out how much it would cost to mail a four-pound package first class.
- How much does it cost to send something "book rate"? If you have a ten-pound box of books to send to your friend in Texas, how much will it cost?
- How much do postcard stamps cost? If you send a greeting to 15 friends while you are on vacation, using a postcard for each person, how much will you have to spend?
- You want to send 100 Christmas cards to friends and family. Five of those cards need to have airmail stamps to friends who live in Germany. How much money will it cost?
- The first Christmas cards were created by Sir Henry Cole in mid-19th-century England. Research and find out what you can about this topic. (A great resource is Stories Behind the Great Traditions of Christmas by Ace Collins.) Make your own Christmas cards. Be as creative as possible.
- Read the book Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown, and then create your own version of Flat Stanley. Mail it to friends or family who live in a different state. Ask them to take a picture of Flat Stanley at a point of interest in their town and send the photo to you along with a short description of the location. Then, ask them to send Flat Stanley to someone else they know. See how many different places your Flat Stanley can visit.
- Research when postage stamps came into existence. Go to the post office to see all the different kinds of stamps that are available. Design your own postage stamp.
- Mail is still delivered by mule to Supai, Arizona, a small town in the Grand Canyon. Draw a picture of this.
- Set up a tour with your local U.S. post office.
- If possible, visit the National Postal Museum in Washington DC.
- Watch the 1947 version of the movie Miracle on 34th Street. Take note of the facts mentioned about the postal system.
The postal service began in America in 1775. Mail has been delivered by use of horses, stagecoaches, steamboats, trains, trucks, and airplanes. Find out who was instrumental in starting this service.
The Pony Express started in 1861. This was the first time that mail could be delivered from the eastern United States to California in seven days. How many years did the Express last?
The story of the Pony Express is fascinating. Visit your local library to check out some books about this period of history. See if you can find the advertisement for the first riders. What were the qualifications to be a rider?
Find out how many postal workers are in the United States. How many pieces of mail do they deliver each year?
What year was the first mail delivery by airplane? What type of airplane was it? Draw a picture of this.
Many letters have been written during the wars. Research and find out more about this topic.
Write an advertisement or poster for Pony Express riders.
Imagine yourself as a Pony Express rider—think about all of the obstacles they faced along the trail. Write a story about what happened in a day of the life of a Pony Express rider.
Find out what services the postal system provides today. Did you know that you can take care of getting a passport at the post office? If you could go to any country, which one would you pick? What would you do and what would you see while you were there? Write a series of journal entries that you would write if you were visiting another country.
Write about what it would be like to deliver mail by mule like they do in the Grand Canyon. What hazards would you face?
Ask your parents to help you find out how you can get a pen pal from another country, write to a missionary, or write to a soldier overseas. Be faithful with writing.
Start writing and publishing a monthly family newsletter. Send it to family members who you don't get to see very often. Tell funny stories about what is happening in the life of your family.
Keep a record of the different pieces of mail that come into your home for a month: letters, magazines, advertisements, newspapers, packages, junk mail, etc. At the end of the month, make a graph depicting your findings.
Stamps come in all shapes and sizes and have depicted many scenes through the years. Research and find a stamp that depicts a famous scientist. Next, go to your library and find a book about this scientist. Give an oral report to your family about what you have discovered.
Find out what the postal motto is and depict it on a poster.
With a parent, make a batch of cookies and surprise your postal carrier with the goodies. Do not forget to include a handwritten thank-you note as well.
Jodie Wolfe and her husband have been married for twenty years. They have been homeschooling their two sons for twelve years. Jodie likes reading, writing and leading ladies Bible studies. She also enjoys encouraging women through her blog, Digging For Pearls at http://diggingforpearls.blogspot.com/
Originally published in Home School Enrichment Magazine. Now, get a FREE subscription to HSE Digital by visiting www.HSEmagazine.com/digital Every issue is packed with homeschool encouragement, help, and information. Get immediate access to the current issue when you start your FREE subscription today!