Exciting news! For months (years!) I have been planning a series of FREE states unit studies that will be published weekly (one state at a time), beginning Friday, August 5. Your students grades 3-8 will be able to study each state in the union and create a notebook along the way. As a bonus, there will also be a unit study about Washington, D.C. for a total of 51 unit studies. And they are all FREE!
The unit studies will primarily be written as a list of resources you can use to notebook across the USA, leaving room for flexibility to adjust according the needs of your own homeschool. There will be a lot of resources given. Please don’t ever feel that you need them all. I will strive to make sure there are ample resources for different grade levels.
Many of the books and DVDs should be available at your local library. With your library card, access to the internet, and the ability to print (or create your own) notebooking pages, you’ll be well on your way to having everything you need for your family to enjoy 51 weeks of unit study learning.
I tossed around ideas for what order to write and publish these states unit studies — by region, in alphabetical order, or by order of admission into the union. I ended up doing a poll on Facebook to see what my readers would prefer and although all 3 choices received votes, by far, the majority preferred to study states by admission into the union, so that is what we will do.
This landing post will serve as the home base for links to each unit study as they become available, so be sure to bookmark it now (or subscribe to the email list so you’ll receive a link to each unit study as they publish). At the bottom of this post you’ll find the list of dates each state study will be released. As they are published, I will add a link to make it easy for you to find them all in one place.
Notebooking Across the USA Schedule
Here is the order in which the states unit studies will be published over the next year (each will be linked as they become available):
3/31 West Virginia
4/28 North Dakota
5/5 South Dakota
6/23 New Mexico
7/21 Washington, D.C.
How to use the Notebooking Across the USA series
Notebooking Across the USA assumes that your students understand where the USA is in the world. We will not be studying the country “USA” or any of the history related to the formation of the USA except when the history of an individual state leads there. If your students are not familiar with North America as a continent or that the USA is a country in North America, you’ll want to review that with them before beginning Notebooking Across the USA.
There are a few ways to use this series in your homeschool. The following suggestions should help you find the best way to enrich your own homeschool.
Use this series of states unit studies to do a year-long study of the U.S. history and geography. Studying one state per week, your student will learn about the history of each state, geographical features, state symbols, famous people, common flora and fauna, foods and recipes, and must-see sites, including national parks. Each states unit study will contain a resource list of books, websites, apps, games, puzzles, activities, and more to make the study both fun and educational. Add the 3Rs and you’ll have an entire year of study for elementary and middle school. Not in a big hurry? Spread each states unit study over a 2-week period and complete it in 2 years. There will be enough information to make each unit study as light or deep as you wish to go. And don’t forget the rabbit trails. Your kids may want to follow a few. Let them!
Study your own state and go deeper. Maybe you’re only interested in studying your own state. Utilizing the resources provided for each states unit study, you can spend from one week to one month or more learning about your state. A common year to do this is grade 4, but the resources provided can be used for grades 3-8.
Use the information in each states unit study for more specific studies. Your student can create a nature journal of USA flora and fauna, keep a notebook of famous people from the USA, take a tour of the USA via virtual field trips, or create a timeline of the USA or journal of state symbols. The possibilities are endless.
Use these states unit studies to enrich another U.S. geography or history curriculum. Adding the notebooking feature especially will add great substance to any U.S. geography curriculum you’re already using.
Use these states unit studies to study the National Parks Systems. Twenty-seven states have National Parks. Each National Park will be covered when studying the states where they are located. Use this series to notebook your way through the National Parks system.
Recommended Resources for Every State
The following resources will be the spine for this unit study series. There will be a resource list for each states unit study as well, but the following are the recommended resources for those of you who will be using this series to Notebook Across the USA. None of these resources are set in stone. You may substitute other maps and atlases you have in your home library, however, I do recommend purchasing the USA State Study Complete Notebooking Set for the sake of convenience.
USA State Study Complete Notebooking Set
The spine for the Notebooking Across the USA will be the USA States Pack from Notebooking Pages.com. Each state study set includes 44 notebooking pages, including outline maps, state sympbols, nickname, and motto, template pages for history, government, famous people, inventions, and tourism, state facts, state timeline, travel journal, blank templates, and more.
This bundled purchase includes ALL 50 Individual States Study Notebooking Sets plus the following bonus sets: 13 Colonies Themed Notebooking Pages, National Memorials Notebooking Pages, National Monuments Notebooking Pages, National Parks Notebooking Pages, State Birds, Flowers, Flags, and Seals Notebooking & Reference Pages, United States of America Notebooking Pages, and Washington, D.C. Notebooking Pages.
I talked with the kind folks over at Notebooking Pages and they are excited to support this series by graciously offering my readers a discount of 25% off this bundle of notebooking pages. The regular price is $29.99 (or each state can be purchased individually for $3.95 per state and does not include the bonus sets). With the discount, you can purchase all 50 states plus the bonus sets for $22.46. You must use the link below and use the code: benandmeUSA when you check out in order to receive the discount. If your family enjoys notebooking lots of subjects, you may want to consider the Lifetime Membership for $97. This membership includes 1000s of notebooking pages already in the membership plus any future pages that will be added, and of course, includes the USA State Study Complete Notebooking Set. This has been our favorite homeschool resource for many years now.
A common question I expect to hear is whether or not you must purchase the USA State Study Complete Notebooking Set in order to do these unit studies. The answer is no. You can create your own notebooking pages, search and find free notebooking pages online, or skip the notebooking altogether. Having this set available (especially with the 25% off discount) is purely for the ease and convenience of having beautifully created notebooking pages right at your fingertips.
National Geographic United States Encyclopedia: America’s People, Places, and Events
The richness of America in all its grandueur and diversity is captured in this comprehensive, authoritative, and lively United States Encyclopedia. With a team of experts and talented writers, this book will be the definitive United States reference resource for kids, and an indespensible tool for home and school.
Every state in the union is showcased in a spectacular way in this big, beautiful book of the U.S. Awesome to look at, fun to read, and easy to use, it includes an unparalleled amount of information that is both intriguing and useful.
National Geographic Kids United States Atlas
The award-winning National Geographic Kids United States Atlas features lively maps, and graphics; updated essays and statistics; 8 thematic map spreads, on topics such as immigration, natural hazards, the water crisis, and the “greening” of America; same-size physical and political maps for each region for easy comparison; vibrant photo essays on each region and state; more than 350 full-color illustrations; 80-plus pages of National Geographic maps; 50-plus info graphics; updated state fact boxes; geo-whiz facts; state flags, birds, and flowers; comprehensive place-name index with coordinates for easy reference; and glossary of geographic terms. (feel free to substitute with any U.S. Atlas you may already have in your home library)
Unites States Explorer Wall Map
The United States Explorer map is a classic example of the cartographic excellence National Geographic is known for. This colorful political map clearly shows state boundaries, capitals, major highways, rivers, lakes, and many major cities. Insets show detail of Alaska and Hawaii. The color palette is vibrant and stunning shaded relief provides additional texture and detail. (feel free to substitute with any U.S. map you may already have hanging on your wall)
The United States Cookbook
The United States Cookbook is a delicious mixture of fun food trivia, fascinating tidbits about each state s history and traditions, and yummy recipes you can cook yourself. What a great way to stuff your face and feed your brain at the same time!
Optional Resources for Every State
These resources won’t necessarily be mentioned in any of the unit studies, but are fun resources your student will enjoy using while notebooking across the USA.
Stack the States (iOS)
Stack the States 2 (iOS)
Stack the States (Fire)
Stack the States 2 (Fire)
GeoFlight USA (Fire)
Flash Cards United States (Fire)
Games and Puzzles
Free USA Games online (Sheppard Software)
Recommended Resources for Each State
Each states unit study will have it’s own recommended resource list of picture books, chapter books, non-fiction books, websites, DVDs, games, puzzles, apps, and more. The above resources are recommended if you will be notebooking through all of the states. For resource lists for individual states, click on individual states below (as they become available).
Links to state maps and travel guides with tips for how to use them to teach geography.