Wednesday, July 6, 2016

{Review} State the Facts: A Guide to Studying Your State

Recently, we began looking for a new way for Amber to study our state history that we could document as her high school state study. Thankfully, at the perfect time a review of State the Facts: A Guide to Studying Your State from Laurelwood Books became available.

Review of State the Facts: A Guide to Studying Your State as a high school level option.

State the Facts: A Guide to Studying Your State is a versatile consumable study guide that can be used for any U.S. state. There are so many facets to this book that your student may not complete every page, but will definitely learn more about their state through self driven research and question prompts.

The book really is a study guide in that it presents major topics to study about the target state, and then provides questions for the students to ponder or research.  The study guide is best used for students at least eight years old, and is geared towards fourth through sixth grade students since those grades are when state history study traditionally take place. However, the book can be used for older than sixth grade as well because of the open ended nature of the questions.

State the Facts: A Guide to Studying Your State is 58 pages long, and begins with a quick "How to Use This Book" section. The author recommends having fun while learning about your state, and working the book in any order you prefer. There is no wrong order of pages and it may not be possible to complete all pages.

Students will need a source of information about their state and the author recommends using people around you, the library, and other standard resources. Even the phone book is a possible resource for the first page in the book where the student is asked to name the elected officials starting with the U.S. president down to their own mayor and librarian. Address and phone numbers for these officials can also be included.

The book also recommends calling the local librarian or congressman, senator or other official. Scripts to use on the phone are given for the students, but they may still ask their own questions. However the point of these calls are to find out more about how the state government works, so the questions revolve around that topic.

Review of State the Facts: A Guide to Studying Your State as a high school level option.

Other topics for student research include:
  • Statehood - researching how and when statehood was achieved and some details about the process.
  • Significant People from the state - both from the student's own reading and also specific occupations (scientists, presidents, authors, etc).
  • Days Gone By - How the state has changed over the years in various aspects.
  • Facts about the students community - zoos, museums, and other resources available locally. 
  • Planning a local trip
  • Plant and animal life - learning what lives in the student's state. Nature walks are also encouraged in this section.
  • Commerce, Industry & Natural Resources
  • Weather - documenting the types of weather common in the state, including a personal weather log.
The end of the study guide also includes a complete and a blank map of the United States for the student to locate and learn where their state is in the country. And as a bonus, a list of all the presidents of the country are also included, through George W. Bush.

Our Usage:
Amber did study Missouri history in fourth grade, both in parochial school and after we began homeschooling mid-year. However, high school students in Missouri are encouraged to also study the state and there were topics that we did not cover in  as detailed as I might like the first time around.

I allowed Amber to look through the book and decide which pages she wanted to start completing. Although the study guide is really designed for a younger age group, the types of questions and need for personal research make it easy for even a high school student to use the book. Amber looked up details about Missouri's statehood, and the one and only president born in Missouri - Harry S. Truman.

Review of State the Facts: A Guide to Studying Your State as a high school level option.

Honestly, Amber wasn't sure we even had a president born in Missouri, but I reminded her about Truman who actually grew up in the same city where Amber's dad is from. It felt like such an oversight that she didn't remember about President Truman.

Amber used her iPad to browse the internet for information about Missouri and Truman. There was a good deal of interesting information she found, but did not necessarily have a place to record in the study guide until she remembered the blank Notes page at the beginning.

We had a good time reminiscing about field trips we've taken when going over the places of interest to visit in our area so that Amber could complete those pages. We even decided to return to a couple of those places once the school year starts up again.

State the Facts: A Guide to Studying Your State from Laurelwood Books turned out to be a rather unique and fascinating tool for studying our state. We highly recommend it for any one who wants a little more guidance in topics to research or even just a scrapbook style memory of your state.





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