We just finished a 6 week block on US Geography. Local and national geography is a standard block for 4th or 5th graders (10 or 11 year olds). I did not use a scripted curriculum for this block, but did find much guidance on the Christopherus website and through Donna Simmons’ Waldorf Curriculum Overview for Homeschoolers. In September we began the year by studying our house and our immediate neighborhood. In this second geography block, we expanded outward to study the area of the United States east of the Mississippi. My goal was to keep this block rich in stories, tall tales, regional recipes and folk songs.
Our local library system was a treasure trove of resources, and I really tried to keep the number of resources low. However, in retrospect I could have taught the whole block only using the Stories from Where We Live series edited by Sara St. Antoine. I cannot say enough about these books written specifically for children ages 9 and up! Each one profiles a different eco-region of the country through a compliation of poetry, short stories, letters and memoirs. There is also a section on topography and habitats that is thorough, but not overwhelmingly factual. I purchased mine (mostly used) through thriftbooks.com and amazon.com. This block was very easy to include my 6 year old kindergartener. He loved singing and marching along to all the patriotic music. He also enjoyed the stories, especially the picture books Island Boy and When I was Young in the Mountains. And although we didn’t use them as resources for this block, The Train of States by Peter Sis and The Scrambled States of America (and the corresponding card games) by Laurie Keller are perennial favorites at our house.
- Stories from Where We Live series edited by Sara St. Antoine
- American Tall Tales by Mary Pope Osborne
- Island Boy by Barbara Cooney (New England)
- When I was Young in the Mountains by Cynthia Rylant (Appalachia)
- My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George (Catskill Mountains)
- Minn of the Mississippi by Holling C. Holling (Mississippi River)
- Earth Maker’s Tales: North American Indian Stories about Earth Happenings by Gretchen Mayo
- Native American Stories by Joseph Bruchac
- Rascal by Sterling North (Wisconsin)
- The Completely Amazing Slightly Outrageous State Quarters Atlas and Album by Klutz
- This Land is Your Land: Favorite American Folk Songs by Phil Rosenthal
- Patriotic Songs and Marches by Dennis Buck
- Folksongs and Bluegrass for Children by Phil Rosenthal
- The United States Cookbook by Joan D’Amico and Karen Eich Drummond
- The Little House Cookbook by Barbara M. Walker
- Heritage of America Cookbook by Better Homes and Gardens
- Various church and local cookbooks
- Embroidered a fabric map of the United States (shown above; detail below).
- Cooked many, many regional dishes.
- Painted a landscape of Appalachia and a seascape of New England.
- Drew freehand topographic map of the United States.
You can also see a mini block on the coastal region of the US here.