January 06, 2011
We really enjoyed learning about the states. That's why we kind of left it as an open-ended project. I mean, learning never has to end - right? Neither does the fun. The cool thing about geography is that it goes hand in hand with nature, also. My kids enjoyed researching what types of animals, birds, plants and insects lived in the other states - and even drew some of them on their state information pages in their state notebooks we created (there's an example above of Texas).
Waterford Press has a really nice line of state-specific "Pocket Naturalist Guides" for each state that are laminated, handy to use, and fold out with glossy color photos and information. They sent us a sample of the Texas guides for: Butterflies and Moths, Birds, Wildlife, Trees and Wildflowers, and Seashore Life.
If you are out on a nature walk, you can stick one of these in your pocket (and not worry that the weather will bother it) - and pull it out when you spot a creature you can't identify.
Keep reading below to see how you can win your own set from Waterford Press!
While we aren't really doing much work on researching other state info right now, we love getting our books out when we take road trips, go on vacations, or get mail/postcards from people that live in other states.
Below are some tips, teaching tools, and links that will make your state studies fabulous:
* Create a State Notebook:
Here's a link to the post I did about our State Notebooks
Eventually, I'll also link up a free PDF to use for this... after I move to WP!
50 states notebook Squidoo for more ideas
* Include Nature:
Here's my big Nature as a Teaching Tool post link
* Collect State Magnets from the places you go (or buy the set online - cheaper!)
(note: Scrapbooking stickers are the best, but by far the most expensive. Sometimes you can find sets at teacher supply stores, which also aren't always cheap. I have also gotten a tip from my friend Bev that Highlights Magazine occasionally carries them. You can get flags or state shape stickers - even state seals!)
* Include food!
Cook some 'regional' or state-specific dishes while you learn about the other places in the USA you might not have visited. This was one of our favorite activities when we studied "States and Regions" with Konos. You can get the USA Cookbook and other State study supplements at Discount Homeschool Supplies.
* Join a postcard swap
This is something we are doing this year. We joined a homeschool Yahoo Group as did 50 other moms from each state. We all agreed to mail a postcard to each participant and the project lasts for almost the entire year. I just ordered my postcards in bulk online for this assignment - since March is our month and I wanted to be prepared before the baby got here. The kids will help me scribble out all 50 addresses between now and our ship-date!
* Write the state governor of states you plan to visit or move to. Who knows, maybe you'll get a reply letter with a state seal?!
* Learn the postal abbreviations for each state (much more handy than Capitals)
My friend Joy at Five J's has some great state stuff:
A free e-book teaching about the states and their postal abbreviations
An interactive practice page for postal abbreviations
* Get free online guides
For Texas, the brochure website of choice is TravelTexas.com - I LOVE this site! Most states have a tourism industry and will send you free visitor information and maps if you request it either online or by the phone. If you aren't in Texas, do a keyword search online or call the chamber of commerce for the state's capital city or state visitor's information bureau. You can also check out what national parks are in different states and visit their websites to see photos of the terrain.
* Don't forget to play:
We have puzzles and flashcards (Target, Chick Fil A, Wal-Mart, Teacher Supply store) that we use to help keep the geography fresh... and it's a great way to start with the little ones, too. If you find a great deal on them, you can even buy extra sets of flashcards to cut up and glue in your state books or other related projects. Big activity books that include state pages and crosswords are fun - you can buy multiples of these to cut and paste, also. Sometimes they have funny facts that you won't get in more serious textbooks.
Some of our Fave Geography Books:
Are you a state-flavored naturalist or a homeschool mom wanting to teach your kids more about the states? Or are you just interested in keeping up with what types of flora and fauna live in your home state?
If you would like a set of your own Pocket Naturalist Guides, here's how you can win them (#1 is mandatory, each number after is optional and only counts once - except for the tweets which count once daily):
1. Visit the Waterford Press Website and tell me what 5 guides you would order if you won.
2. Share this post on your facebook page.
3. Tweet this post once daily. "@sprittibee is giving away 5 Pocket Naturalist Guides for your #homeschool nature/state studies : http://bit.ly/hxTkWH (ends Jan 16)"
4. Blog about this post (counts as 5 entries).
5. Join my Google Friends in the sidebar or sign up for my RSS/email feed.
This give-away will close on the 15th of January. Winner will be chosen on Random.org and must provide a shipping address or a runner up will be picked for the prize.