While teaching my boys (11 and 13) US Geography we watched several Discovery Education videos. During a video on Minnesota and my 11 year old starting taking notes–on his own!
Well, when this homeschool mom sees her child creating notes in a bullet list, it set me on a journey similar to one in If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.
- When my son made a bullet list
- I realized I had to make a booklet for his list (free booklets here)
- When I created a booklet for his list
- I had to create a lapbook for his booklets
- When I started making the lapbook
- I realized I needed to research living books to go with the lessons
- Once I found a list of living books by region (see list below)
- I needed to find more videos. While looking for videos
- I signed up for post card exchange
- Then I decided to save all the resources I was finding on a Pinterest board.
- Then I remembered a super cool US Geography Game I had bookmarked
- Which prompted me to look for online geography games to add to Pinterest
- Then I found an amazing US Geography app by Discovery Education for my iPhone
- Suddenly, I thought it would be neat to hang a US Map on the wall to color each state as we learned about it
- Once I found the cool wall map to color, I had to share it on Facebook
- Once I shared it on Facebook, I realized I had so more than enough for a good blog post
- Once I began this blog post, I had to look in the mirror to see if I had a milk mustache
- (Opps, that wasn’t me that was the mouse with the cookie)
- While making the blog post I wrote a notes in a bullet list
- Then I realized I needed a booklet for my list….
I know you are reading this thinking either: “I do that too!” or “She’s really got an OCD problem.” or “What mouse is she talking about?” It’s OK. I am having fun, my boys are learning, and I can share what I found with you.
Don’t you love social media–its made so many neat changes in how I homeschool. I basically build an entire unit study on US Geography on Pinterest! So you can visit my US Geography Pinterest Board for free printables, websites, activities, crafts, videos, online games, etc and see some my favs below.
It is amazing how quickly this book works. Learning all 50 U.S. states is easy when you learn from The Little Man In the Map! Asked by their teacher to find clues for memorizing the states, students begin to see imagesa hat, a shirt, a pair of boots formed by state boundaries. When they put some of them together, they’re amazed to find the outline of a man standing in the middle of the map
Excited by their discovery, they draw a face and arms on him and create The Little Man In the Map, whom they nickname MIM. Their imaginations bring MIM alive, and with his help they discover the surprising roles all the states can play. Soon they can spot the elf, the playful dog, the spooky head, and all the others. This imaginatively illustrated story, narrated in rhyme by The Little Man In the Map, shows each state’s part in its region and how it interacts with those around it. This makes learning their locations visual, easy, and fun.
Teaching US Geography with Living Books
(IMHO, Charlotte Mason would approve of this post.) In the awesome book 35 Best Books for Teaching U.S. Regions (see book list below) students go on a learning-packed trip across the U.S. with books they’ll love. Many already in our homeschool library. We started with The Sign of the Beaver becasue it was on my bookshelf. I have a few others and will hit the library for the rest.
This resource includes background information, activity ideas, reproducibles, and Internet connections to help you use 35 great novels as springboards to social studies learning. A great way to get your kids to read more deeply—and learn about the seven U.S. regions. For use with Grades 4-8. However, if you’ve been homeschooling for a while you don’t this book, just use the list at the end of this post, and come up with your own creative activities.
Teach Geography with iPhone or iPad Games
The Scrambled States of America Puzzle and Book Set ($8)
In the hilarious illustrated paperback story The Scrambled States of America by Laurie Keller, you’ll learn all about how the 50 States were bored and tired of staying in their same spots all the time. So they threw a party, and decided to trade places. But dry Arizona didn’t like getting his hair wet by the ocean, and poor Minnesota got sunburned when she traded places with Florida! They’re homesick, and they need your help to get them back in their rightful places. Put together the 150 piece puzzle and you’ll have everybody back in their place again! The puzzle is made up of regular jigsaw pieces, but there are 10 state-shaped pieces secretly hidden in the puzzle. Comes with 150 pieces and a bonus, illustrated storybook.
Whoever said that learning about U.S. geography had to be boring must not have read The Scrambled States of America. We fell head-over-heels for Laurie Keller’s hilarious story and knew that it had the making for a great game. As with her book, we hope our game provides a fun way to enrich basic knowledge of U.S. geography. Players learn the names, capitals, nicknames, shapes and positions of the states through a myriad of visual teasers, language riddles and geography challenges. After playing, you’ll see that there’s more to the 50 States than meets the eye!
Novels Included in 35 Best Books for Teaching U.S. Regions
Junebug by Alice Mead
Becoming Felix by Nancy Hope Wilson
The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare
Fire in the Wind by Betsy Levin
Lyddie by Katherine Paterson
- Falcon’s Egg by Luli Gray
- Journey to Nowhere by Mary Jane Auch
- Homecoming by Cynthia Voigt
- The Cabin Faced West by Jean Fritz
- The Day It Rained Forever by Virginia T. Gross
- My Louisiana Sky by Kimberly Willis Holt
- Missing May by Cynthia Rylant
- Moving Mama to Town by Ronder Thomas Young
- Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor
- Charley Skedaddle by Patricia Beatty
- Prairie Songs by Pam Conrad
- Yolanda’s Genius by Carol Fenner
- Moose Tracks by Mary Casanova
- The Watsons Go to Birmingham–1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis
- The Borning Room by Paul Fleischman
- Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse
- Justin and the Best Biscuits in the World by Mildred Pitts Walter
- A Sunburned Prayer by Marc Talbert
- Sing Down the Moon by Scott O’Dell
- Search for the Shadowman by Joan Lowery Nixon
- Bearstone by Will Hobbs
- Dragon’s Gate by Lawrence Yep
- The Great Brain by John D. Fitzgerald
- The Loner by Ester Wier
- Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
- The Barn by Avi
- The Ballad of Lucy Whipple by Karen Cushman
- Yang the Youngest and His Terrible Ear by Lensey Namioka
- Toughboy and Sister by Kirkpatrick Hill
- Under the Blood-Red Sun by Graham Salisbury
Visit My US Geography Pinterest Board for Free Printables,
Websites, Activities, Crafts, Videos, Online Games and More
Pinterest is a great resource for organizing lesson plans. With Pinterest you can easily bookmark or “pin” lesson plans you come across the web for a later date.
If this was a help to you please comment and share.