Summer State Study


It’s the end of summer with 1.5 weeks left before school starts. For me, an introvert with a sewing business and hobby, having all four kids home everyday is kind of torturous. I love being able to put the baby down for a nap and just work for a few uninterrupted hours. Not during the summer, though! At the beginning of each summer, I try to come up with some sort of schedule or list of places to go and things to do. This summer, I got an idea from a friend on Facebook of studying the states this summer. I determined that with our vacation in the middle of the summer, we could study about one state a day and be done by the time school starts. I even made a spreadsheet with each state and a couple famous people from each state, plus one or more activities to do each day related to that day’s state. Ambitious? Yes. But I knew it would probably be a winner with my kids.

Sure enough, just like I anticipated, it was a fun activity and gave them something to anticipate each day. They wanted to know every morning which state we were on and what was the day’s activity. I found a homeschooling blog that had a state study curriculum, which I bought. She had a coloring sheet for each state, which my kids put in their binder and don’t bother coloring. My oldest two have actually gotten really into making slideshows, so they decided on their own to make a slide for each state.

So every day, whenever we got around to state study, we would begin by coloring the state in on the map I printed out. Then I read some facts from the curriculum. After that, I read the entry in the atlas I bought, the National Geographic Kids Atlas. Then, the oldest two kids told me what they learned about the person that I assigned to them earlier in the day, and we discussed that person. Sometimes we did the related activity right away, sometimes we waited until the baby’s naptime or until after dinner. Occasionally we just didn’t get to it because there were too many things going on. We doubled up on states a few times.

Unfortunately, after our mid-summer vacation, my brain felt fried and I didn’t get back into the groove. We did two states, then gave up. So we have done 26 states this summer, and I’m going to save all my prep work so that we can do the other 24 next summer!

So here’s a list of states and the activities we have done.

  1. Connecticut. Harriet Beecher Stowe, Benedict Arnold. Connecticut is the home of the first hamburger so we bought hamburgers for lunch.

  2. Delaware. Caesar Rodney, Joe Biden. I was in the middle of a giant purse order, so I left them to their own devices for the activity. We were originally going to make the Delaware Memorial Bridge but they ended up just making creative bridges out of popsicle sticks.

  3. Maine. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Stephen King. We read Longfellow poetry and went blueberry picking (Maine is known for blueberries).

  4. Maryland. Harriet Tubman, Francis Scott Key, Babe Ruth. We sang the National Anthem. We also went to the Agricultural Museum that day.

  5. Massachusetts. There are so many famous people that I let them choose their own. We watched an episode of Liberty Kids, which is a great show for kids to learn about the Revolutionary War.

  6. New Hampshire. Robert Frost, Alan Shepard. We read Robert Frost poetry. I was going to have them write some poetry but we didn’t have time.

  7. New Jersey. Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison. We went to the Victrola Museum in Dover (Edison invented the phonograph.)

  8. New York- Norman Rockwell, Michael Jordan. We made Statues of LIberty from clay. Except my kids wanted to use their Statue of Liberty rubber duckie as a model, so yeah. Duck Statues of Liberty!

  9. Pennsylvania- Jimmy Stewart, Betsy Ross. We watched a JImmy Stewart movie (Mr. Kruger’s Christmas) and made chocolate from scratch in honor of Hershey, Pennsylvania. They also saw a Liberty Bell craft in the curriculum so they made Liberty Bells.

  10. Rhode Island- Roger Williams. We actually ran out of time but we planned on going to a local beach.

  11. Vermon- Calvin Coolidge. We bought and ate our own pints of Ben and Jerry ice cream!

  12. Alabama- Helen Keller, Rosa Parks- We learned the sign language alphabet.

  13. Arkansas- We listened to Scott Joplin music.

  14. Florida- instead of people, we did famous places: Disney World and the Kennedy Space Center. We went to a space activity at the library and watched rocket launches on Youtube.

  15. Georgia- Martin Luther King, Jr., and Jackie Robinson. We were supposed to make and eat peach ice cream but we ended up buying some from the store a few days later.

  16. Kentucky- Abraham Lincoln and Johnny Depp. We listened to bluegrass music, ate KFC for dinner, and watched The Pirate of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl.

  17. Louisiana- Wynton Marsalis and Hurricane Katrina. We watched videos of Wynton Marsalis playing the trumpet and made Mardi Gras masks!

  18. Mississippi- Jim Henson, Oprah Winfrey. We watched Muppets Most Wanted.

  19. North Carolina- Virginia Dare and John Coltrane. I intended on us making gliders (because of the Wright brothers) but we didn’t.

  20. South Carolina- Vanna White, plus I had a kid pick someone of their choice. We watched an episode of Wheel of Fortune.

  21. Tennessee- Davy Crockett, Elvis Presley. We listened to Elvis music.

  22. Virginia- Lewis and Clark, George Washington. I can’t remember what we did for this day. I think I told them about Chincoteague ponies?

  23. West Virgina- Mary Lou Retton. We watched videos of her doing gymnastics.

  24. Illinois- Frank Lloyd Wright, Al Capone. I had them research Frank Lloyd Wright and look at his architecture, and we went to Dairy Queen because it originated there.

  25. Indiana- Michael Jackson, Wilbur and Orville Wright. We had a toy car race!

  26. Iowa- Buffalo Bill, Kate Mulgrew. I wanted us to watch and episode of Star Trek: Voyager but we combined with Indiana and didn’t do a separate activity.

It was a pretty nice summer, even if I was overwhelmed with all the people around all the time! And since I did all the planning in advance, it really wasn’t much work. They have daily chores and music practice to earn computer and tv time, and usually spend some time outside as well. But there’s still lots of boredom and arguing, and this gave us something to do each day.

We also visited the Nemours Estate up in Wilmington. That was a great activity, and I highly recommend it. We visited with our NJ grandparents.