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Drawing Around the World: USA Review by Rebecca Ray

Kimberly Garcia
Brookdale House

Do you have children studying the United States or US History? Do you want your children to learn where the states are located and their capitals? I know that this information is one of our family’s priorities for geography learning, so I was pleased to receive an opportunity to review Drawing Around the World: USA.

In Drawing Around the World: USA, students spend twenty-seven weeks learning their state names and capitals, where the states are in relationship with each other and how to draw the states on a map. The curriculum comes in both e-book and printed workbook editions. I am using the e-book version of the curriculum, which retails for $22.95, but there are printed workbooks available for $25.95. This curriculum was perfectly appropriate for children as young as my third grader, but I still found it enjoyable to complete as an adult.

On the first day of each week, your child is introduced to one or more states. They begin by studying the state (or states) deeply enough to be able to fill out a basic reference sheet of state facts. These facts include the population, birds and flowers, interesting facts, and other basic knowledge about the state. Then, students will find their new states on a dashed line United States map. They trace and label the new states with their capitals. Then, they attempt a freehand drawing of the state on a frame map.

Days two and three of each week have students both tracing and labeling each of the states that they’ve studied so far as well as drawing all of the states onto a frame map. Day four has students listing each state they know and writing the abbreviations for the states. Then, students are given a blank paper to freehand draw and label their entire map without looking back at the previous days and weeks’ work.

This is a curriculum that I have found to be beautiful in its simplicity. It is open-and-go. I do no have to work ahead or plan out the curriculum beyond printing out each week’s sheets. Through the constant repetition of all the states, my children and I are slowly memorizing where the states are at, as well as the capitals. I cannot say enough good things about the repetition in involved in the exercises in this book.

Because I am working with a third grader and a fifth grader, I did found that I sometimes broke day one of a week down into two or three days to focus on a specific state for research each day before beginning a week of drawings. I would have appreciated having those scheduled out over more days. However, each week of the curriculum is designed to be a four-day week, so there is plenty of time for catch-up. Also, the author includes from ideas in the front of the book for adding additional drills in if your children need more practice to learn the states, and the children and I have occasionally tried out these ideas.

This is a curriculum that is a clear winner in our house. I love the way that my children are building knowledge through repetition. I love how quick and easy this curriculum is to implement. It takes us less than twenty minutes a day to complete most days. The children enjoy the fun drawing exercises, and look forward to using this curriculum.  This curriculum is a keeper, and it is one of the few curricula that I have on hand that I plan on reusing with my younger children, as they get old enough to learn to draw their states.

-Product review by Rebecca Ray, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, March, 2016