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How Do I Manage a U.S. States Study Unit?

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by , 04-04-2011 at 12:31 PM (10959 Views)
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ID:	519Several states require a state study as part of a homeschooler's curriculum. A few, including Kansas, Maine, Michigan, North Dakota, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Vermont, specify that the focus should be on the student's state.

One way to provide this is to purchase a "state study" workbook. These typically devote one or two pages to each state. They usually begin with a list of the state's capital, state bird, state flower, state motto, and so forth. There is usually a picture of the state flag, a map of the location, and an overview of state demographics, economy, and history. Students work their way through the book, reading and answering questions about each state.

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If your goal is to have a completed workbook to demonstrate that your student completed a state study, this will do just fine. I prefer that my children also remember what they've studied. The Time4Learning geography lessons, along with a couple of fun supplemental activities, have worked great for my family.

Remember that I rarely pay attention to "grade level" when using Time4Learning for science or social studies. The reason for this is that there isn't a huge difference in the difficulty of the lessons from grade level to grade level. The difference is in content. "Somebody" had to decide that a fourth grader would study geographical terms, a fifth grader would study US geography, and a sixth grader would study world geography when, in truth, the grade in which a student studies each of these things doesn't really matter.

My children, regardless of age, have used the twelfth chapter in the fifth grade Time4Learning social studies curriculum for state study. These twenty lessons present states in geographical regions. It's easier to develop a mental picture of several regions than to assimilate trivia involving each of fifty states . . . and it's more useful to the child in the long run, too!

If you want your child to access these state study lessons using the Activity Finder, they are numbers 5901, 5902, 5903 and so forth, through 5920. I like my children to first complete the fifteen fourth grade geography terms lessons, because then I know they have an understanding of terminology such as "plain", "plateau", and "peninsula" when they are used in the state lessons. The geography terms lessons are:


We also use SpellingCity to practice the vocabulary and learn to spell the words presented in the geography lessons. A list prepared especially for the Time4Learning lessons can be found here: Time4Learning Geography Vocabulary . Your child can play all sorts of online games with this list for free! You can find additional spelling lists on the SpellingCity Geography List page and the States List page.

For more fun with individual states, we use these U.S. States Games. Click on your own state, if that's your lesson focus. My kids love the Story Blanks, which are similar to Mad Libs.

These 35 Time4Learning lessons, along with plenty of fun with the games mentioned above, have been a great way for my children to learn about the United States. I schedule three Time4Learning lessons per week, so this unit takes us one term (or 12 weeks), which satisfies most states' "State Study" requirement.

Updated 04-04-2011 at 01:36 PM by hearthstone_academy