The Old Schoolhouse® Product & Curriculum Reviews
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My Indiana Review by Linda Rose(Teacher and Student Resources)
Robert C. Law
Our Land Publications
4861 Chino Avenue
Chino, CA 91710
My Indiana is a unique and, dare I say, fun way to learn state history. The combination pack costs $49 and includes a comprehensive teacher's manual and a complete set of 30 student newspaper style issues packaged nicely in a cardboard sleeve so that none of the issues are misplaced. The teacher's guide includes complete lesson plans in a three-ring notebook. The publisher, Our Land Publications, has found a way to engage students in studying the state of Indiana in an appealing way.
This product could easily be used in a traditional school setting, small group coop type setting, or individually in a home school setting. The latter is the way we have been able to use this product. My 12-year-old son has been enjoying these materials. The recommended age range suggested is for students fourth grade or above. Older students could easily use this resource mostly independently, younger students could benefit from having a parent work through the material with them. I personally think this is perfect for the upper elementary or early middle school student. High school students could enjoy this as part of a geography or to round out an American history credit. This is intended to be a complete curriculum so there is no need to supplement, but I appreciate that this could easily be used as a supplement, or if feeling adventurous, the teacher could easily add to it.
Each issue walks the students through a different time period in American history and then expands on what was happening in Indiana during that same time period. Some American history is included to give students a framework of the bigger picture so they can connect the information learned to their individual state, in this case, the state of Indiana. However, the focus of each issue remains on the state of Indiana and really digs in to discover the important people, places, and events that lead to Indiana's statehood.
As an example, issue number one includes information relevant up to the year 1509. The headline for this issue reads: COLUMBUS REACHES INDIES. The separate articles in this issue are titled: Indiana!, Short Way to India!, Understanding Your World, Where is Indiana, Trade, Sailing Around Africa!, and The Final Voyage of Columbus. Questions and blanks are given for students to interact with the information in each issue. The teacher's manual further explains the material allowing the teacher to give as much or as little information as is needed for the age and interest level of the student.
The extremely thorough teacher's manual breaks each issue into smaller lessons. The teacher could choose to cover one lesson per day, thereby covering one issue per week. This would make the entire curriculum last for an entire school year, leaving a few weeks for makeup lessons, review periods, tests, or even digging deeper if so desired. The student text is included in the teacher's manual in a gray tint on one side of each page; the other side of the page includes tips, hints, questions, and other pertinent instructions. Black line masters are included for the teacher to make copies for his or her entire classroom, but it should be noted that the teacher's manual and individual student issues are not able to be copied. Additional copies of the student materials are available for purchase from the company's website.
This is an excellent resource for learning about the state of Indiana and would be an excellent addition to any American History curriculum, although it could be studied on its own. Students will definitely be engaged with the information. The unique newspaper style issues breaks down the information into manageable pieces without overwhelming the student with a large textbook. This would easily appeal to students in grade four or above. I didn't feel like I needed to add anything to this study as we used it primarily for its simplicity and ease in getting it done without needing to hunt down lots of extra resources.
-Product review by Linda Rose, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, January, 2018