Thursday, May 9, 2013

Plan for Our Upcoming 50-State Study

The years have quickly passed, and I realized I’ve never done a 50-state study with my kids!  I covered VA history with my oldest when he was in 4th grade, but my mind never settled on expanding to cover the 50 states until now, as my middle child is entering 4th grade and we’ll again be revisiting a study of VA history.

I am embarrassed to say I’ve let my oldest get to this stage of embarking on high school in just a few short weeks without ever teaching him so much as the states and capitals!  Yikes!  Time to do a little backtracking, to say the least.  I’ve decided that while Haylee is working on VA history throughout her 4th grade year, I will work on a complete 50-state study with both Hayden and Haylee at the same time, killing two birds with one stone.  I plan to spread it out throughout the year, covering up to 2 states per week with periodic reviews and quizzes built in along the way.  So if you’re considering doing the same, you might want to take a look at some of these great resources I’ve gathered to make this fun and educational at the same time.


  • Our spine for this study will be the Star-Spangled State Book & Workbook by Knowledge Quest.  This includes a printed full-color book and a CD-ROM with the lesson plans and printable workbook pages.  It’s designed to last a full 36 weeks with included reviews, quizzes, and exams.  Take a look at samples of the book and workbook.  This combo is $25.95 + shipping of $4.  You also have the option to get the .pdf version of the book for $15.95 and the CD-ROM of the workbook for $10, but that works out to the same price anyway.  The nice thing about having the workbook on CD-ROM now instead of the printed version they used to offer is that you can print as many workbooks as you need.  I printed one for each child, laminated the covers, and bound them with spiral comb binding.

  • As a fun little add-in for Haylee, I picked up the Discovery Kids America State by State sticker activity book.  This fun little activity book has over 500 stickers in it that are full-color photographs of famous places, landmarks, animals, and state flags for each state.  It has little puzzles, mazes, word searches, and other activities using stickers to accent each state.  This sells for $7.99 at Amazon, but I picked this up at my local homeschool bookstore for $4.


  • As another fun extra for Haylee, I picked up the 50 Amazing US Mazes: Journey Through the USA.  This book has a cool state-shaped 3-D maze for each state with solutions in the back.  This one may not even be in print any more, but I picked it up for 50 cents at my local homeschool bookstore. 


  • Then I found a really, really nice printable book called Traveling the States on a homeschool blog.  It gives you a nice map of each state, a black & white of each state bird, flag, and flower to color, and 2 pages of facts about each state.  This is a great resource this blogger/homeschooler put together herself!  Haylee loves to color, and this book gives accurate instructions on how to color each state flag, bird, and flower properly so they’ll be true-to-life.  Even though there is a great summary of each state included, I mainly printed this up so Haylee could color the items.  It has a lot of pages, so I chose to print it in booklet format with 2 pages per sheet, printed on both sides so that it became a nice 4.25” x 5.5” bound book.  I laminated the covers and bound it with spiral comb binding.

  • I went to the Scholastic Warehouse Book Sale this week and picked up some books with odd and unusual state facts that I thought both Hayden and Haylee would enjoy just for fun.  In fact, they’ve both been curled up with these books already since we got them!  Hayden especially enjoys odd trivia books, so these were right up his alley.  The first one I got is Fast Facts About the 50 States for just $4.50 at the book sale, but it’s $9.31 at Amazon.  It has basic facts on each state accompanied by odd facts on commerce, sports figures, legends, famous people, and amazing records made in each state.


  • The second book I got at the book sale was Go, Go America: 50 States of Fun.  This was $5 at the book sale, but it’s $15.38 at Amazon.  This book has cartoon-style illustrations and interesting and unusual trivia facts about each state.


  • During one of the Teacher Store sales, I got a fabulous $1 e-book called 50 Great States: Read & Solve Crossword Puzzles.  For each state, it has a page of information about the state on the left and a full-page crossword puzzle on the right that can be solved with answers found in the text.  My kids love puzzles, so I thought this would be a fun extra that would also help them review things they’ve learned about the states.  Since I downloaded this, I printed it and bound it with spiral comb binding.  I just made one copy because I figured Hayden and Haylee could work on these puzzles together and help each other find the answers.


  • While we’re working our way through all of that stuff, I’ve got a fun game we can play:  Discovery Channel’s American Road Trip DVD Game!  This will be a great way for the kids to try out their newfound knowledge of the 50 states.  This is a product by bEQUAL, which is known for making DVD games that kids and adults of all ages can fairly play together, thanks to its 3 levels of game play for ages 6-9, 10-13, and 14+.  We love these games!  This one works out to about $17 at Amazon, but I think I picked this up at the thrift store years ago.  It’s for 1-4 players, ages 6-106!


That pretty much sums it up!  So the real school work will be done with the Star-Spangled State Book and Workbook, and the rest is just for fun.  We’ll cover a little from each book as we study the individual states.  I think this will be a lot of fun to do together!  When I did reviews on Apologia science and a lapbook kit from Home School in the Woods this year, I really enjoyed being able to work with both of the older kids together on group projects, which is something we’ve never been able to do before, given their 5 year age gap.  So despite being extremely late covering this material with Hayden, I think it will be extra fun doing this with the two of them together.

Here’s to a fun 50-State Study!  If you have other great resources in mind for your upcoming state study or one you’ve already done, feel free to share them in the comments.  Smile

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