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How To Do A Fantastic Study Of The US With Geography Notebooking
Geography notebooking is a great tool in the eclectic homeschooling mom’s toolbox! Whether you choose to do a separate study of the states, or incorporate it with your history studies, you’ll have a flexible and personal way to study US geography.
Gather Your Geography Notebooking Supplies
1. Choose a U.S. atlas. We love Geography Matter’s Desk Atlas of the United States. Fun facts, state symbols, timelines….this Atlas is loaded. It’s creative layout will have your kids reaching for it again and again.
2. Get a binder with easy to open rings. One of the great things about notebooking is its flexibility. By using a three-ring binder, you can add and move things around as needed. Buy the ones with the clear view fronts so your kids can create their own covers.
3. Invest in some quality colored pencils. We love Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils. They come in different counts, so you can find a set to fits your budget and needs. These pencils are smooth and have a great, deep pigment. You can also blend them.
Brush Up on Geography Research Skills
If you purchase a good U.S. atlas, you’ll find a lot of information at your fingertips. But students will also need to learn some research skills.
1. Have your students start by making a list of questions. What do they want to know about that particular state? Brainstorm some ideas together. Then use those questions to guide your research. What are some key words you might need to look up to find the answers?
2. Show kids how they can discover where the answers to their research questions are by looking at the table of contents or index of a book.
3. Search the Internet together! You’ll want to help guide them and show them how they can know whether a website has good information or not. Teach them to bookmark the best sites for state study.
Decide What Order to Study the United States
It doesn’t really matter how, but studying the states in some kind of order will help you to plan better. Consider using one of these options:
- Alphabetically. You simply go through the study of each state based on where it falls alphabetically. By arranging your notebook like this, it will be easy to find states when you want to add more information for a particular state to your notebook.
- By region. Check out National Geographic’s US Regions maps (you can even download them!) Studying the states this way helps kids to be familiar with what states people are referring to when they say things like “in the Midwest” or “the southern states.” You may want to get dividers if you plan to organize your state study this way.
- According to statehood dates. Begin with a list of all fifty states and the date each became a state. Study them from the original colonies working your way to the last states added. Your kids will notice patterns this way and discover how the US was settled.
Make Geography Notebooking Fun
1. Cook your way through the states.
Eat Your Way Through the USA by Loree Pettit includes a full meal of recipes for each state. The recipes are easy to make so your kids can join in and help. You’ll discover some new family favorites along the journey, too.
Take a picture of the food you all cook for each state and add them to their geography notebooks. Have them write about what their favorites are or interesting facts they learn about the different foods people eat across the states.
2. Read your way through the states, too. The 50 States: Explore the U.S.A. with 50 fact-filled maps! or The 50 States: Fun Facts: Celebrate the people, places and food of the U.S.A! are great resources to find fun facts, places, and food in each of the fifty states.
As kids add to their geography notebooks, they can include book reviews or reports or even make “ads” for their favorites.
3. Focus on the things they find most interesting. Do you have an animal lover? Study the animals of the area and add pages about them. Is your child a sports nut? Have them make a page all about each states professional teams. History buff? Research how each state became a part of the US.
Start Geography Notebooking Today!
We’ve made United States Geography Notebooking Pages for you to get started. You’ll find a notebook page where you can add interesting facts, draw pictures, and record data about each state. You’ll also get a larger watercolor outline of each state to do some mapping skills.
Then let your kids make their notebook their own by adding whatever they choose!