Monday, September 20, 2010

State History by Joy Dean - A Review

As many of you know, I publish Oklahoma History Online, an online curriculum for studying the history of Oklahoma. Many of you have written asking me to write a curriculum for other states, but sadly, I just can’t seem to find the time.

In August, however, I was perusing the vendors at the Homeschool Convention in Texas and discovered a resource I hadn't seen before: State History by Joy Dean.

Joy Dean, the author of these wonderful resources, was very helpful. She showed me the resources she created and let me take a few of them home to examine more fully.

I chose Fifty States Under God, Fifty States Under God for Young Learners and Geography of Fifty States. Using these three resources, you could create a wonderful unit on the 50 states for all grade levels.

Fifty States Under God is a workbook study of all 50 states in the order of statehood. It includes a timeline of statehood and map worksheets that correspond to the timeline. Then, there are four pages of interesting facts and worksheets for each state. Activities include pasting in a few of the state symbols, the state flag, state seal, and picture of the state capitol (full-color, pictures included in the back of book); writing in facts about the economy of the state; writing in the abbreviation, capital city, and nickname; writing in the name of bordering states; decoding the state motto; and unscrambling the state nickname. Students will also use research skills to complete the book. I particularly like the short anecdotes at the end of each lesson. They are stories from history such as “William Penn’s ‘Holy Experiment’,” “John Brown’s Raid on Harpers Ferry,” and the “Klondike and Alaska Gold Rush.”

Fifty State Under God for Young Learners does not include a timeline. Instead, it includes four pages of worksheet activities for each state. These worksheets include painting activities (You’ll need paint, markers, crayons, and glitter.); cut out and paste state symbols, flag, seal, motto, and nickname; and color by the number map study of bounding states. Again, there is an anecdote about each state to read. These anecdotes are different from the other book.

Geography of Fifty States includes a complete, day-by-day lesson plan on how to combine all three of these books, as well as State History from a Christian Perspective and My State History Funbook, into a one-semester or one-year course. How cool is that! You can also use the geography book by itself or combined with any one or more of the above books. (By the way, this geography course is also an introductory American history course!) Lessons include information about the geography of the U.S. and individual states, as well as a map study. Students will mark major land features and major cities. There are also quizzes and tests included.

Whether you are looking for a 50-state study or a study on one state for one student or a crowd, Joy Dean has plenty of resources to choose from. Website: State History.net.