Review of Drawing Around the World: USA from Brookdale House10:43 AM
I was horrible at learning my states and state capitals growing up. I wanted so much for my kids to have a better understanding of them, so I was happy to review the Drawing Around the World: USA book from Brookdale House. This program was unlike any other that I had seen for kids; it focused on just one state for a full week and taught them so much more than just the capitals!
By teaching kids to "draw" the states, they were imprinting the state info in their minds. We used discussion time to talk about other characteristics of the state, including the state bird, state flower, and other "fun facts" that we researched about the state. After a few days focusing and reviewing just the one state (and, of course -- drawing it!), we were pretty much experts and could move on to the next state.
We used this program with my 4th grader, but I think it's appropriate for any kids who are old enough to read and write. My 3rd grader and my 6th grader sat and learned along with us, and by the middle of the program, I could ask them questions over dinner, such as "What is the capital of Maine", and even my 5-year-old was answering! (We do a lot of our schooling at the kitchen table. It's not unusual for the young ones to pick things up.)
I really like that this program required little preparation. Yes, I needed to research a few fun facts for each state, but all the activities were included in the book. It was a nice, full-size curriculum packed into a small workbook, so I welcomed it into my already-cluttered curriculum corner/office.
How exactly did we use it? I had it as the first lesson we learned after lunch each day, and we jumped right in, using it for 20-30 minutes. I did one state per week, so, depending on the week, we might get it done in 4 days or have some extra to "catch up with" on the weekend. One could easily have this be their core social studies for the year, assuming you did a few extra things to learn about the states, as well.
Here is how the study of each state breaks down:
Day 1: Study the New State. Complete the State Fact Table. Locate and label each new state onto the dashed, black and white map. Draw all states studied thus far.
Day 2: Locate and label each new state onto the dashed, black and white map. Draw all states studied thus far.
Day 3: Locate and label each new state onto the dashed, black and white map. Draw all states studied thus far.
Day 4: List, from memory, the states studied thus far. Using the blank textbox, draw, also from memory, all of the states you have learned.
Brookdale House has one other product that's similar to this one: Drawing Around the World: Europe which would be great for older kids after they've mastered the US! I would highly recommend either/both as a nice way to teach an often-dry topic in your homeschool.