Homeschool Co-op: US Geography / States and Capitals


I've mentioned before that we joined a homeschool co-op this fall. I am teaching US Geography / States and Capitals to elementary age students (2nd-5th grades). I wanted to share my basic plan for this class.

Our class meets for 50 minutes, once a week for 12 weeks.  As the lead teacher for the class, I could choose curriculum and organize the class however I wanted. I opted for the first week to be introduction and the last week to be review and wrap-up. That left 10 weeks to cover all 50 states in some way. 

We are covering 5 regions of the US in this order: northeast, southeast, midwest, southwest, northwest. Each week we're covering 4-6 states, sharing a brief overview of each one's landmarks, capital, major products, etc. For each state, I check out a book (like this one) from our library. I gather some basic facts from the book and share them with the class, showing pictures from the book when appropriate.

 The students chose 1 state each that they would report on (making slightly less work for me). It's been interesting to see the uniqueness of each student's report. Some brought in food to share that was significant to their state. Some have shared powerpoint presentations on their parents' laptop while others used coloring pages or a posterboard or just read from a handwritten page.

I put together binders for each students, with one page per state. I used coloring pages like the ones found here for each state.  The students can color the page as we talk about the state or they can write down notes about the importance of that state.

I regularly bring two United States puzzles to class for the students to work on. One puzzle is bigger and slightly easier. The other is smaller and more challenging. The puzzles give the kids hands-on time to review the locations of the states. 

Here are some girls working together on one puzzle.

Here are two boys working on the other puzzle.

Lastly, we are memorizing the song from this video, in order to learn our States and Capitals. It adds some fun to our class!

Some people are just wired to love geography, navigation and such while others aren't. I love it and it's fun to have the opportunity to teach it to young people. 


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