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Geography of the Fifty States (Grades 3-12) Review by Jennifer Smeltser

Joy Dean
State History From a Christian Perspective
(317) 862-0948
P.O. Box 39298
Indianapolis, IN 46239

At some point in your child’s education, they will study American History. Although the history of the states will be covered, the geography of each state is often forgotten. History is the study of the past and the understanding of how it relates to our present. Geography is the study of our surroundings (i.e. the layout of the land, cities, borders, waters, etc.) and how they were formed and now exist. The study of the history of our states is not really complete unless you have a good understanding of how all of those pieces come together to form the states.

The Geography of the Fifty States is a geography workbook study geared towards children in third through twelfth grades. That provides a collective study for a wide age range of children. Although the workbook is a consumable product, the purchase of one book for each child will allow you to easily use the study with multiple children in your family. Plus, the workbook is self-contained, so no additional material is required to complete the study.

What really appeals to me about this curriculum is the fact the study follows the geography of the states according to statehood. It is an excellent way to see how the “puzzle fits” or how our country really came together. It is a logical approach and I think a better way for children to understand how our country was formed. The formation was a process and there is an order. There were a lot of historical events that led to each state becoming part of the United States.

Some of the features included in the study include:

  • Teaches the major geographical regions and landforms of the US
  • Includes interesting information about geography and major cities of each state
  • Correlates the growth of the nation, state by state, with US geographical divisions

With four pages dedicated to studying each state, students learn about distinct features and state facts. They also practice mapping skills, locate water and land regions of each state, learn and review the state capitals and build their vocabulary with standard geography terms.

The Geography of the Fifty States is written to be covered over a one semester or one-year period. There are suggested schedules for studying the material over both of those periods. The shorter schedule for a semester of study will allow high school students to complete all of the required work for course credit. Students are also able to test their knowledge of what they have learned by completing the lesson overviews and taking the five cumulative tests, which are provided in the workbook along with the answer keys.

If you have a younger child closer to the base-age of the study (third grade), you may want to move through the book at a slower pace. There is also a lesson plan for completing the curriculum over a two-year period. This is the route I chose for my younger son who is using the workbook.

The companion books Fifty States Under God and State History from a Christian Perspective, which are also from State History From a Christian Perspective and published by A Helping Hand, will provide a comprehensive history and geography study for your child, when used with Geography of the Fifty States. So far, my son has been learning not only the geography of our 50 states, but also more detailed history about each one.

Whether you use Geography of the Fifty States independently or alongside the other State History books, the geography in your American History study will not be forgotten in your lesson planning.

-Product review by Jennifer Smeltser, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, October, 2016