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Basic U.S. Geography FUN Packet Review by Brandi Tesreau

Beall's Learning Games

Learning geography can be painless and fun when you use the U.S. Geography FUN Packet from Beall's Learning Games. Each packet includes:

  • 1 glossy 11 x 17 U.S. Map (color graphics)
  • 1 laminated U.S. States & Capitals Map with key
  • 24" x 40" Wall Map
  • Reference Sheets: States & Capitals, Major Geographical Sites, Admission to Union, Both Postal Abbreviations
  • 50 States & Capitals Playing Cards
  • 70 U.S. Geography Playing Cards
  • Reproducible Quiz with Answer Key
  • Reproducible Master Sheets & Worksheets
  • Directions for 9 Games

I've always had a globe or a children's atlas handy as I have taught history to my elementary-aged students. I think it is extremely important for them not only to know the "who and what" of history but the "where" as well. Except for the map work included in our history curriculum, that has been the extent of our geography. I have always been a little hesitant in adding it as a separate subject in fear of overwhelming my children with too many subjects. I haven't felt this way about the U.S. Geography FUN Packet, though. It's a go-at-your-own-pace, do-as-you-will kind of curriculum, which has suited our needs at present.

The U.S. Geography packet does not include daily lesson plans, but it includes a sheet that explains how to use the packet for teaching. I know this may be intimidating for some, but for me, a mom who already has a full load of subjects to teach, it is working out quite well. By not having a strict set of lesson plans, I am allowed the freedom to casually incorporate U.S. Geography into our homeschool schedule about twice a week. It has been a great complement to our first year of studying American history.

My kids don't seem to mind the added subject since they are having fun, learning at their own pace, and have no tests to take! I truly am seeing in both of them an eagerness to know more about the United States.

So far out of the nine games, we have only played one, Match-It, but as we continue to fill out more worksheets and get to know our country better, we will play more. My kids love games. For some reason "game" just sounds so much better than "school," so I always get 100% cooperation when we play games! Two of the games require the Build-A-Gameboard Packet, which can be purchased separately on the website. It is not necessary, though, to have the game board in order to use the rest of the Geography FUN Packet.

The Basic U.S. Geography FUN Packet alone costs $27.95, but plan on spending extra for making copies of the master worksheets. It cost me around $12 to print the recommended number of copies for two children. To me the price is worth it since I will be using it for the rest of this year and into next year as well.

In case you decide to purchase this geography kit, there are a few misprints I would like to bring to your attention. On the "In Which State Would You Find Answer Key," the answer to Mt. Whitney should be "California" according to my research. On the "In Which State Would You Find Worksheet," Fort Larimer should read "Fort Laramie."

Overall, I do like the Basic U.S. Geography FUN Packet, and I think the company is stellar as well. When I contacted them about some significant errors I had found with one of the map keys, they responded graciously and were extremely grateful that I had brought the problem to their attention. They immediately corrected the problem and sent me a new map key. I appreciated their great customer service, and I would definitely consider using Beall's products again!

Product review by Brandi Tesreau, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, March 2010