Living US Geography Homeschool Curriculum for our Home School - Sisters, What!

Living US Geography Homeschool Curriculum for our Home School

Studying US Geography can be overwhelming. I will share the books and resources that we are using as we start our study of US 50 States. 

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Last fall, I decided it was time to tackle the study of United States Geography. We have been around most of the world with so many wonderful picture books, but it was time to really tackle the 50 states. I must admit, I was a bit overwhelmed with the idea, but I had a few things I wanted in our study.  

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How I planned our US Geography Curriculum for Our Home School 

I wanted to include many living children's books that would spark curiousity about each state and to help keep it in line with the spirit of Charlotte Mason. Most importantly, like with most of home school, I wanted to keep it fun and inspiring. I didn't want book work or boring worksheets. That being said though, I did end up make a fun state page for the kids to fill out. BUT, I tried to make it less worksheet like and more like a scrap book, adventure journal page. 

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Why I picked Beautiful Feet US Geography Intermediate Elementary guide 

As I was contemplating what to do, I didn't have time to come up with something completely from scratch. I decided I wanted to do each region of the US and then find books from those areas. But, I just didn't have the time or energy to find all of the resources by myself. 
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Beautiful Feet is Charlotte Mason and Literature based

I have followed Beautiful Feet for a while now and have used their teacher guides before. I really love their book lists and teacher guides. Their guides are simple, rich and focused around literature. The books they pick, to go with the guides, are living and well curated. So when I saw their new US Geography for Intermediate Elementary, I was really excited.  The illustrations 

The Beautiful Feet guides can be used for the whole family

They have a US Geography for younger grades as well, but since I have a 4th grader and a 6th grader, I wanted something that was geared more towards them. On their site they recommend doing the higher level guides for everyone in the family and just include the younger kids too. Which is basically what we do. If the recommended book is too hard for my younger kids to read, or to even sit through a reading of it, I just assign my older boys to read it on their own and then come back and narrate their findings. 

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Beautiful Feet has a different activity options in each lesson

So far, we are really enjoying the guidebook. There are so many different options for activities, simple or complicated. They also geography of the land included with the different lessons. For example, before we started on the states, they did an intro into Geography basics. Which was a great review for my older boys. The suggested activity was to make a clay earth. My kids LOVED this project so much. 

Beautiful Feet guides include a variety of learning opportunities

They also include extra book recommendation for further reading as well as curated youtube videos to go with each lesson. As well, they have little rabbit trails that you can choose to go down if it peaks your kids interest. Also for each lesson they have a culinary connection blip to connect food with the states.
beautiful feet us geography home school curriculum review
 I mostly just love that the curriculum is an "open, read and choose your own adventure" guide. You choose what you do and make it work for your family needs. But, all the suggestions are rich and inspiring. 

50 US States Geography Research Journal Printable

To compliment Beautiful Feet, I wanted to make a notebook to keep all their state findings in one book. In the past I've tried to keep track of all their country pages that they made for each country we learned about. But, my lack of preparedness would either mean we didn't always have a country page when we were doing it or I was printing it just before. Then there was the matter of saving them all in one place. Not all survived. So, I decided that I was going to be really proactive and made an actual 50 states research notebook for my three oldest kids. 
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I kept it simple. I did a front page, united states page outline, a page for each region with the united states outline, and then a field guide page for them to fill out for each state. The page includes fun things like the state bird, state tree, landforms, year created, state flag, etc. I don't make them fill it in, it's completely up to their own choice what they do. 
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I took it to office depot and had it bound with a clear plastic cover on front. I want this to last through the whole time it'll take us to study all 50 states. With how my kids treat their books, I'm really glad I went with the plastic cover :). 
50 usa states geography unit printable pages
I decided to put all these documents together and have it listed in my shop HERE for a really great price. I've included a 50 states title page (in 6 different color option - one printer friendly), a page for each region section that they can color as they learn each state, a large us map page, and a page for facts to fill in facts. 
(I promise it's quite affordable)
printable us geography regional pages

How to Put together the  50 States Geography Research Journal:

Print of one title page, one US blank map, 5 different regions, 50 fact pages. Divide the 5 fact pages amongst each region accordingly. Have book bound at local office store. 

US Geography Curriculum Resources and Books 

I wish there was one great book that I could use as a spine for our study. But after researching and reading some of the books recommended by many Charlotte Mason home schoolers, I decided that those books weren't for my kids. I even tested reading them with my boys and they fell flat. Maybe if I just made them push through they would have liked them in the end, but once I found the Beautiful Feet option, I felt that would work best for our family.
So that we could keep track of each state we're studying, I downloaded a blank map from etsy. The one I bought is no longer available - but HERE is a good alternative. I then had it printed at Office Depot. Beautiful Feet has beautiful physical maps as well, which I wish I would have done instead. 
Here are our main books we keep on hand:

This National Geographic Kids United States Atlas is one of the main resource book to go along with the Beautiful Feet Geography guidebook. It's an excellent resource book on each state and is still interesting to read. My kids have enjoyed using it. 
This 50 States book I got a few years ago after finding it at the library. It's colorful and full of fun, interesting things about each state. 
I came across this Our 50 States book at a book sale and was pleased to find it done by the same artist as Fancy Nancy. A fun book about a family taking an adventure across America. 
We got this National Parks book for Christmas and it's so fun. National Parks is such a fun way to explore the united states and my kids love reading it about and can't wait to visit more of the parks in here. 

Years ago, I came across the Mamoko and the Under Water, Under Earth books by Aleksandra and Daniel Mizielinski and they are my kids favorites. Their Maps books is no exception. It's beautiful and so interesting to look at. Alot of people don't like it because it's missing many countries in Africa and Central America, but hopefully they'll keep updating it and adding more countries. For now, we're happy to use it for US study as well. 
Other Resources:

USA Geography Flash Cards - We have a different version, but I can't find that one made anymore. This one seems very similar to ours. 

This Scrambled States of America is a fun game to play with all ages of kids. All my kids love it. 

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