Monday, November 21, 2011

Study the 50 States

The Shepherding Kind Hearts Academy (I just made that up, pretty good eh?) has started a year long unit study of the 50 United States. As a young child I remember having to memorize the 50 states and their capitals. I've decided to take it a bit farther and teach my children, namely my oldest who is a 5th grader some additional lessons beyond just the state names and their capitals. Through this unit he will learn notebooking, improve on his writing, online research, and a range of geographical terms.

Although this is very much still a unit in the making I wanted to share with you the resources, both written and online, that I have thus far discovered and are utilizing.

First and foremost we are utilizing the geography state notebooking pages from Notebooking The beauty of notebooking is that you can individualize your unit with these pages. Debra provides a wide range of notebook pages to suit and complement every possible research topic. I am handpicking about 10-12 pages from each state for my son to complete. These pages require him to do online and book research as well as improve upon his research writing skills. 

Book Research Resources:

National Geographic: Our Fifty States

Book description: Overflowing with beautiful illustrations, specially designed maps, and concise essays written and reviewed by members of the Society's Geographic Alliance Program, this authoritative guide stands alone in the children's reference category. From Maine to Hawaii, kids will discover fascinating details behind each state's unique history. Our Fifty States is a superior volume so chock-full of engaging information and stunning visuals, youngsters will never run out of things to learn. Foreword by Former President Jimmy Carter. The easy-to-read physical map that introduces each region of the U.S. is followed by a lively essay with absorbing descriptions of the area's history, climate, natural resources, and physical features. Then, within each regional chapter, children can explore the individual states through illustrated historical time lines, full-color political maps, photo essays, and state-at-a-glance boxes. Additional features include special essays on the District of Columbia and the territories, comparative charts, a list of additional resources, and a detailed index.

My perspective: This is a beautiful hard back book full of vivid images and a wealth of state history knowledge. We are using this book to help complete the timeline and state facts notebooking pages. Additionally, my oldest son is reading this book to help with his state research topics. For example, in the Pennsylvania section her read about the Battle of Gettysburg and completed a notebooking page about this battle as well as the Gettysburg Address. 

The Look It-Up Book of the 50 States

Book description: Entertaining, up-to-the-minute, and easy-to-use, The Look-It-Up Book of the 50 States is an affordable family reference to each state of the union. Illustrated throughout with photographs, drawings, and maps, it provides a concise history of each state from the time it was first explored to the present day–as well as information on places to visit, wildlife, natural resources, and fun facts.

My perspective: This wonderful resource is full of beautiful glossy color information packed pages. With 2-3 pages dedicated to each state this is a perfect reading resource for upper elementary students to read on their own or for reading to younger children who want to learn alongside their older siblings.

Online Research Resources:
The e-mail course of the 50 States is the guide I am using to dictate the order in which we study the 50 states. Each week will send you an e-mail with 2 states and the links from to help with your unit study. Beginning with the 1st and 2nd states, Delaware and Pennsylvania respectively, each following week you will receive an email with each subsequent state admitted to the union in their respective order. After I receive this email each week I go to and print off the appropriate notebooking pages for the upcoming state studies.

Class Brain for a plethora of state information including symbols, geography, and other fun information

Golden Gate Weather Service for weather information

City Population for population information for each state listed by city

Info Please for elevation information for each state

Mining and natural resources for each state

Current Results  for precipitation and other weather related information

50States for all kinds of fun U.S. state related information

As we venture into this long unit study I am quickly learning to adapt and change as we go. Depending on the research subject matter from each state I am amending the type of notebooking and research. For example, CT is full of fun historical subject matter. I am having my oldest son do a bit more research during the week of CT in the hopes that he gleans more historical information from this important seaboard state.

Happy studying!!

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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Gratitude challenge 2011 days 12-20

I've fallen behind on my gratitude posting, not surprising really since schedules are not my forte. Nonetheless, this challenge has still been on my mind and heart everyday.

Day 12: On this cold and blustery day, I am thankful for the warm house I call home.

Day 13: I am thankful for a full night sleep. Jillian may not be the best napper during the day but she knows how to sleep through the night and that makes her lack of daytime sleep worth all the struggles.

Day 14: Today I am thankful for the little guy kicking inside my belly. So much of this pregnancy has been filled with thoughts and pondering of true blessings and miracles. If my twins hadn't arrived early the life that now grows within me would have never been possible simply by way of timing. I am excited to be this little guy's Momma, I know without a doubt he has a special purpose. Otherwise God would not have orchestrated all of the events of this year which made his life possible.

Day 15: Today is for my 4 year old daughter who is finally staying dry at night. There were days that I thought this milestone might never be reached but she has done it without much struggle.

Day 16: Today I am thankful for the simple things like hot tea and fresh brewed coffee with Almond Joy creamer. Sleep doesn't always come at night and these two drinks help me through my day when nothing else (besides prayer of course) does.

Day 17: November 17th was the 1st annual world prematurity day, so on this day I was incredibly thankful for my micro preemie twins born earlier this year at 26weeks 5days. Everyday I give thanks and praise for their health and well being.

Day 18: I am thankful for my first born. He is growing up into such a wonderful young boy. He is kind, caring, and so full of life.

Day 19: I am thankful that one of my babies has learned to put herself to sleep for naptime. I simply lay her in the crib and without a peep or whine she sleeps for hours on end. Thank you Britian for this and many other blessings you bring to our family.

Day 20: Today I am thankful for my husband who willing takes our children places that he knows they will enjoy. This afternoon he is ice skating with our oldest 3.

What are you thankful for today?

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Friday, November 11, 2011

Gratitude Challenge 2011 Days 9-11

I fell a little behind in posting my gratitudes simply due to time constraints, they were on my heart each day though.

November 9th - with snow and rain falling all day I was thankful for a warm house and a working furnace.

November 10th - having completed a large grocery shopping trip I was thankful for the money in the bank to pay for all the food and necessities my family needed. My refrigerator still looks empty but I know there is food somewhere in the house for us to eat. :)

November 11th - Happy Veteran's day to all the men and women who have courageously served or are currently serving our nation to protect our freedoms. I am thankful for my husband, a veteran, for all the sacrifices he made as a young man to serve our country.

What are you thankful for today?

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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Gratitude Challenge 2011 Day 7-8

November 7th - Yesterday I was thankful for my 4 year old daughter and the joy we got to experience together as she read her first 2 books all by herself. All day she insisted that she was ready to learn to read. So later in the afternoon we sat together and I reviewed a few sounds she would see in the first book we would read together. Not only did she read that first book all by herself she wanted to read another and so she did.

November 8th - I am thankful the rainy weather we have had today. We desperately need the rain. It has been raining all day today and is expected to continue into tomorrow. Now if it just stays as rain tomorrow I will really be thankful (joking of course). There is a chance that the nasty white stuff will start flying tomorrow, I am just NOT ready for that yet.

What are you thankful for today?

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Sunday, November 6, 2011

Gratitude Challenge 2011 Day 6

November 6th - Today is my husband's birthday so it is only fitting that I am especially thankful for him today. More specifically though I am grateful for the struggles we have overcome in our marriage to get to where we are now. It wasn't always an easy road to travel but together we conquered something I thought at one time was impossible. I love him more and more everyday!

What are you thankful for today?

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Saturday, November 5, 2011

Gratitude Challenge 2011 Day 5

November 5th - Today I am grateful for evening hours at my pediatrician's office and for wonderful health insurance. One of my infant twins was really struggling to breathe despite a medication that was prescribed for her earlier in the week. Night office hours yesterday meant no urgent care visit and our health insurance coverage saved me a ton in prescription costs.

What are you thankful for today?

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Friday, November 4, 2011

Gratitude Challenge 2011 Day 4

November 4th - Today I am thankful for God's graciousness and forgiveness. I struggle with so many things on a personal level, I am thankful that He is always there for me in my times of need.

What are you thankful for today?

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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Gratitude Challenge 2011 Days 1-3

I have so much to be thankful for over this past year, choosing just one thing each day for the next month will be hard. But because my family has been so blessed in 2011 I can not think of a better way to bring this blog back to life than to begin with the Gratitude Challenge.

November 1st - I am thankful for my husband. He works incredibly hard for our family and does everything in his power to make sure I can stay home with our 5 (soon to be 6) children.

November 2nd - I am thankful for my micro preemie twin blessings, Britian and Jillian. Born 2/9/11 weighing 1 pound 6 ounces they have defied all the odds and are thriving beyond my wildest imagination at 8 months old.

November 3rd - I am thankful for the multitude of doctors and nurses that cared for my girls in the NICU for those 11 weeks. Their hands with God's grace brought them both back from death's doorstep.

What are you thankful for today?  

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