The Old Schoolhouse® Product & Curriculum Reviews
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Daily Skill Building: U.S. Geography Review by Lisa McKinneyCarrie Fernandez
Daily Skill Building: U.S. Geography by Homeschool Giveaways is an open and go program designed to teach more than just states’ names and their capitals. This digital curriculum includes worksheets for recording information about statehood, state flower, state bird, and more! The Book lists states in alphabetical order and breaks the material into weeks for easy use. Each week covers two states (two days per state) plus an optional research paper for the fifth day, supplying twenty-five weeks of material. There are additional materials included in the appendix that could be used for testing skills like labeling the states or regions, time zones, order of statehood, and more. The curriculum also includes a Daily Skill Building U.S. Geography Resource Pack that contains all the information needed to complete the daily assignments, including printable charts with key information about each state, printable state fact cards and state map cards, and answer keys. Daily Skill Building: U.S. Geography is a digital download available for $16.95.
Daily Skill Building: U.S. Geography came in two digital downloads: one for the lesson worksheets and one for the resource pack. While you could go ahead and print it all off at once, I chose to only print off the worksheets I needed. To see if it was possible to do it, I let my boys randomly pick states, instead of doing them in order. This worked fine because the material is the same for every state every week--it will just have week/day labels on the state pages. While we could have used the U.S. Geography Resource Pack for all our information, we used our own collection of resources with the same information. I do think, however, that I will print it off and have it bound for future reference. It is a nice consolidated resource for state facts. If someone did not have access to materials for completing the curriculum, this is an invaluable asset making it truly an open and go program.
This program is recommended for grades 3-6. My boys are nine and fourteen years old and it was still a good fit for both. If used as designed, the first day is recording basic state information like the statehood, the capital, the region, etc. There is also mapwork which includes locating and coloring the state on a map of the states, labeling the border states, and mapping the three biggest cities for the state. The second day covers information like the agriculture, industry, state symbols (flower, bird, tree), and the state flag. Because we are on summer break, we opted to do one full day for each state instead of breaking it up into two days of work. We chose to print out the different symbols and flags for each state and paste them onto their worksheet. This was one thing not included in the resource pack and it would have been nice to have that as an option.
While this program was designed for homeschooling, I think it would be a good fit for any student needing to learn or even review basic U.S. Geography skills. I think that having the worksheets printed and bound would make it even easier to use and should be an option for parents who may not have printing accessibility. I liked the ease of the program, and my boys appreciated that they knew exactly what to do for each state since the process is identical every week. The weekly research paper is optional, and we chose not to do it since we were not using this as a full curriculum right now. I think that if I used this as a curriculum, I would incorporate the weekly writing assignment.
This is an ideal curriculum for any classroom or student that wants to learn or review the basics of the states in the U.S.A. I think it would be easy to use as a core curriculum and then add on additional books or exploration. I think having the appendix with review mapwork and other mastery quizzes makes it perfect for basic state study. This would also be a useful resource for someone who needs to do a state research paper, especially having the additional resource pack. I would 100% recommend this material to anyone who is looking for an affordable beginning U.S. Geography study.
-Product Review by Lisa McKinney, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, August 2020