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An Elementary Writing Curriculum

Study Any US State With Laurelwood Books' State: the Facts

I always think it's interesting to learn more about our state by doing state studies with the kids. When I first began a state study with my older set, I learned so much about our state that I didn't even know. Recently I received for review State: The Facts, A Guide to Studying Your State from Laurelwood Books.
State history study

Originally I was going to use it to study our state- South Carolina- with my younger girls (Ashlyne and Rachel ages 12 and 10), but as we started looking at the book, we realized that we had already studied some of this information about our state, so we decided to take the book's suggestion and study a different state than our own. We've been reading about pioneers and Laura Ingalls Wilder, so we decided to study Kansas.

Laurelwood Books

Laurelwood Books is a resource for homeschoolers. They have quite a variety of homeschool books and curriculum resources, including books from popular curriculum publishers. They offer new and used books. And you can sell your books to Laurelwood Books as well.

Laurelwood Books also sells books that are published by Laurelwood Books, including Patriotic Penmanship books, literature study guides, Latin readers, the state study I'm reviewing, and more.

State: The Facts, A Guide to Studying Your State

State: The Facts, A Guide to Studying Your State is a consumable workbook that is designed to help kids do independent research on their state or any other US state. This workbook, written by Mary Ellen Tedrow is intended for ages 8 and up. Although I had both of my girls doing research, Ashlyne was the one documenting information in the workbook because she enjoys writing, while Rachel just...doesn't.

Learning about your state

As students complete State: The Facts, they'll end up with a book all about the state of their choice as a finished product. I like this because, often when kids fill in blanks in a workbook all they end up with is a workbook. But this book is written in such a way that kids can go back and read it or share it with others.

At the beginning of the book is a short section on How to Use This Book. The information tells kids and parents that the book can be worked through in order or you can skip around and complete different sections in the order you like. We used the skip around method to record information in different sections, picking sections of interest first.

These opening instructions have some ideas about where to find the information, but they don't list the internet. Instead they suggest an encyclopedia, phone book, dictionary, local library or other people. I thought this was interesting and looked back at the publish date- 2007. It's almost ten years ago, and some research methods have changed. We don't receive a phone book anymore. And I didn't come across much in the book that could be found in a dictionary. I do think it's good to make kids aware of different ways to conduct research. But I think that teaching kids how to search effectively online is an invaluable skill in our current culture. We used the internet for our research, and we also talked about things we had learned about the state as we read about Laura Ingalls Wilder.

The book is 58 pages long. It includes US maps in the back as well as a listing of US presidents (through George W Bush) so that kids can see which presidents may have come from their researched state. Here are some of the topics kids can research about their state with the book.

  • When and how the state was admitted to the US
  • State flag
  • Famous people in the state
  • A look at how the state has changed over the years
  • Animals and plants in the state
  • State symbols
  • State weather- including a weather chart to complete
  • Field trips in the state
Researching US states

Our thoughts

I like that there is a variety of types of research in the book. There are some sections that have questions to answer, some that involve drawing, and some that are more open ended for a report. This variety gives options and you can pick and choose which sections to use so that kids are not only learning about a state; they're also learning about how to do research.

State history

Some of the information in the book is dated, such as not listing the internet as a source or talking about how to use it, having George W Bush as the last listed president, and not having students find an email or website in the section that has them record contact information for US and state officials. Although it's pretty easy to work around this, I think it would be great to have an updated version.

All in all, I really like this book as a study guide. I especially like the variety of research it has kids doing. It's a good way to study your own state or any US state you may be learning about. And it's a good way to begin getting kids doing research.


Other Crew reviewers reviewed this and other books from Laurelwood Books. You can see what they thought below.


Latin and Penmanship {Laurelwood Books  Review}

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