Monday, July 28, 2014

Review: Hewitt Homeschooling - learning our states

Hewitt Homeschooling Review

Hewitt Homeschooling is a fantastic company that encourages not only academic excellence for homeschooling families, but also focuses the overall child and how they can leave their homeschool years as better person. We are just beginning to learn about US history in CC this year, so I was excited to get a jump start on that this summer by reviewing My First Report: Eastern United States. These are designed for grades 1-4 and integrate all the subjects as we learn about 12 states.

Hewitt Homeschooling ReviewThere is one page of notes to the teacher in the front of the set, and then about 60 pages of activities for the kids. They suggest you do one state a week so you could get through four of the sets in a school year. Since it was summertime when we reviewed this, we approached this a little differently. I let Princess P choose what state she wanted to learn about first and we jumped around a bit. She chose Maine to start with - might as well start at the top, right?  We read the facts about Maine listed in the book, and then found and colored it on the map. We looked up pictures online about Maine compared its size to some of the other states.

This is a great starter for a unit study on the states and was very good for getting the kids researching and writing "reports" (more like a paragraph in our case...hey, it's summer!).

It isn't an "open and go" curriculum. We opened it and put it in a binder, but then it takes quite a bit of planning on the teacher's part to use this well. There is so much potential here and with some planning you could do things like "Write the department of Tourism for additional information about their state" in advance and have the information waiting when you got to that state. {This was an idea suggested in the curriculum.}

Each state has a list of facts about the state. There are several maps of the states and the US for the kids to use as they go and lined paper included (that you may copy) for the reports.  Then there is a great section with TONS of ideas for expanding on each state study. There are ideas for Bible, History/Geography/Social Studies, Reading, Language, Math, Science/Health, PE, Music, Art, and even ideas ideas for field trips! I mean there are TONS if ideas. They encourage you to pick and choose according to your child's interests and abilities and there is no way you could (or would want to) do all the ideas for all the states, but it allows for some variety as you go. We picked different things during each week/new state. For Maryland, we did the word game where you find different words using the letters in Maryland and talked about Francis Scott Key, who is from there. We are planning a trip to New England next spring so it was fun to learn a little about all these states.

Some of the ideas are very simple and require no "work" from you to prepare. Such as locating the states and capitals on a map, or writing all the words you can think of that rhyme with state. Others, however, would take planning and a trip to the library to even get started. We liked that there were options so we could pick and choose what to do and I think would really enjoy doing these on Oklahoma and other local states so we could see the sights and do the field trips suggested easier.

One thing that is awesome about homeschooling in this day and age is the internet. While we couldn't visit any of the landmarks it mentions physically, we could look them up online and watched some videos on youtube for things like a "reenactment of the Boston Tea Party" or just see pictures of places like Monticello or Williamsburg that were mentioned.

As I said earlier, they are recommended for 1-4th grade. Princess P is in 3rd and this was just right for her. There are so many ideas here that you really could tweak this and use it up to 6th or 7th, in my opinion. The younger kiddos will need more help but you could have some books available for older ones and they could write longer reports on the states with a little research. It is cheap too - just $8.95 for the 66 page set. They have many other sets to choose from listed on their site. You can get more info here or by clicking on any of these links below.

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