So after my long complaints about history and science, you may be wondering what I'm planning on doing for this coming year - 1st grade for my oldest. I have found several options I like for our long-term history plan, but for this first year, I didn't want to start any of them yet. I plan to do history together with all 3 children, but this coming year, my other 2 are still a bit young to get much out of an expensive history curriculum. I will wait until Rebekah is in 2nd grade, Reanna is starting kindergarten (5 years old for most of the year), and Ryan is starting preschool (4 years old for most of the year) before I spend too much money on anything.
So, for this coming year, I've decided to do a study of the U.S. states with Rebekah. There is tons of material on the web for studying the states - too much to ever do all of it, especially with a 6-year-old's attention span. So I've narrowed it down to some basics. I've chosen one book to use as our "spine" - Our 50 States: A Family Adventure Across America. This book has 1-2 pages for each state, with lots of little tidbits of information for each. The pages are a bit busy, but I think it will work well for our purposes. The book is written as a travelogue of a fictional family's adventure, visiting all 50 states in a row. The family has 3 children, so I thought it was a good fit for us!
I also got 2 coloring books: one that has a blank outline map plus details and facts for each state, and one that shows the state bird and flower for each state. I plan to do one state a week, or maybe double up on weeks where we're not doing too much else. We will read that state's pages in the Our 50 States book and do the 2 coloring pages for that state, one in each book. We may also look up some websites for that state, such as http://www.apples4theteacher.com/usa-states/alpha-list.html. Their interactive, on-screen coloring activities should be fun to do.
I also made a mini-booklet for us to complete. I found a package of state flag stickers, so I made this booklet for them. Each page (1/4 of a regular piece of paper) has the state name, a blank box for the sticker, the state capital, and the date it was admitted to the union. We'll do each page as we come to that state, and put the whole thing together at the end, making a keepsake booklet. Since a study of the states seems to be a popular thing to do, educationally-speaking, I thought others might be interested in my template too, so I've made it available here. It could be used for older or even younger students as well, as just a handy little activity that only takes a minute per state to do. You can probably find similar state flag stickers in quite a few places, but on the left is a link to the ones I bought from Amazon.
In addition to the states study, we are also going to be reading some books about native Americans and the pilgrims and the early colonies. I'll try to start up a list of books we're reading - maybe a separate page to keep all that straight.
Then, I also got a geography book from Evan-Moor - Beginning Geography for K-2. It's a workbook with lots of good, short exercises teaching about how to read maps and globes, different types of terrain, and a short study of each continent too. I already found a bunch of good videos for each continent from National Geographic (see here: http://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/player/ and here: http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/countries/), and when we get to that part, I'll post about what we're watching.