How State Studies Started
As I’ve said before, unit studies are my life. They are how I think, how I plan, how I teach my kids and how my kids love to learn. When my son was 4 1/2, I decided I wanted to do something more interesting, something big, something more cohesive for his Kindergarten year of homeschooling. Numbers, letters and shapes were fun, but I thought he’d progress in a more meaningful way if that information was part of something larger, if he could see how it fits in and applies. I thought long and hard and came up with my own program which I dubbed State Studies. It was essentially a year long unit study on the United States Of America, with each week exploring a new state.
We completed the states in alphabetical order and I divided our week up into routine topics for each day. So, for each state, it looked something like this:
Monday: State overview, coloring sheets, State Flag, State Song, Brief history of the State, copywork, videos on the state.
Tuesday: State animals-mammals and reptiles/amphibians, coloring sheets, videos on their favorite animals from the state, a craft about the animal, books on the animals, etc.
Wednesday: State climate, terrain, weather, natural and historical landmarks and the history of them, make art or model of a landmark, and more books and videos.
Thursday: Notable person from the state, books and videos on the person, worksheets, art or craft about what they did or invented, etc.
Friday: Recap and review, science or art project based on an aspect of the state.
Activities We Did
This was an amazing program and it really did flow seamlessly. I loved that I didn’t have to spend too much time worrying or grasping for materials. There are many different resources I used, but I always knew what we would be working on for the rest of the week, or the following week, and the kids got used to this routine and very much looked forward to each day. I think this really jumpstarted their learning because we covered every traditional school subject in a cohesive and inclusive way. The kids learned geography, social studies, the history and culture of each state. They learned about landforms, climates, terrains, and weather. They had reading and writing activities that pertained to each state’s theme. We did dot-to-dots, coloring pages, word searches and word scrambles. We did science projects, built dioramas, made posters and painted. We read heaps and heaps of books, watched countless videos and had endless discussions and conversations about the similarities and differences of each state. They looked at maps, and made their own, learned about charts and graphs, and made their own, and I always tried to incorporate regular math lessons on the theme. So, if we were on the state Utah, then we were learning about the Golden Spike and the Transcontinental Railroad, so we’d do math with trains! I’d print our train-themed place value worksheets, we’d bust out our own train toys and perform addition and subtraction problems using the toys as manipulatives for counting and seeing the math, and we’d play Ticket To Ride (One of my favorite board games ever!)
You Can Learn Across The States Too!
I received overwhelmingly positive feedback from my friends about this self-made curriculum. They loved the idea and said I should publish and sell it. Many of my friends aren’t quite sure how to put a unit study together and felt inspired by my State Studies. So, after many months, I took their advice and created the year-long study for other families to use! You can purchase the curriculum here. There’s also a Reading Companion with a book list for each state as well as 50 original poems created by yours truly with copywriting pages for each poem. If you follow me on Instagram, check out my IGTV overview video I made explaining how I designed this, how to use it, and a sneak peek of the inside activities and pages!
A year later and my son still remembers almost everything he learned about these states because it was like an experience for him as opposed to memorization. The unit study brought the information to life and made him feel like he was there. Part of me is sad that State Studies is over, but we are already working on going global with the idea as we tackle many of the world’s countries in the same format. We are having so much fun reproducing art, listening to languages, and cooking our own food from all of the nations around the world!