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Civics/Geography Study Suggestions Please!


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This year we're finished with one cycle of world history (ancients through the present in the past 4 years) and I'm thinking of taking next year "off" to do a civics and geography study.


First, has anyone done something like this? Will this be enough or is there something else that I could add in? I'm just realizing that my older kids are going to be in 5th & 4th grades and they don't really know where the states are, state capitals, etc. And they don't really have an understanding of our government.


With this being an election year, it seems like a good time to do a unit study on government. I'd also do a 50 states study, and have them be able to fill in where all the states are. After that, I could do a world study and have them get a better grasp on world geography.


I'd love any thoughts or suggestions, especially resources if you have done something that has gone over well. Thanks!


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I think your idea is great. I do civics/government once per week, and I think it is a very valuable study so that our kids grow up to be educated and knowledgeable citizens.


I am going to read through this book next year with my kids:

Why America is Free, A History of the Founding of the American Republic 1750-1800 (Hamburger, Fischer, Gravlin).

It is a well written book which explains the founding of our country and much about the Constitution.


I also like this one:

O, Say Can You See? (Keenan).

It is an inexpensive book that has a tremendous amount of information. It covers Important Places (Plymouth Rock, The White House, etc,), Interesting Objects (The Flag, The Liberty Bell, etc.), Inspiring Words (The Declaration of Independence, The National Anthem, etc.), and Celebrating Holidays.


We also do some memory work regarding civics:

Excerpt from the Declaration of Independence, date, reason why it was written

Preamble of the Constitution, year, three facts about it

Three facts about the Bills of Rights, five significant rights, year


12 major wars of the U.S.


For geography, I think your ideas are good. One of the best geography resources I have found is this:

The Complete Book of Maps and Geography Grades 3-6.

It is a color workbook, over 350 pages, and it only costs about $10 on Amazon.


Here is another source for finding good civics resources:


This is actually one of the few sources I know of for trying to find civics/government resources for the elementary years.


Usually there are activities/contests about the Constitution in September. (Constitution Day is Sept 17, 2012.) You may want to look into those, too.

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I did a unit on North America before I found the Well Trained Mind. To help my son learn the countries and where they were I made a matching game with the country names and maps with the country colored in (I hope that makes sense). This helped him a lot (though he is younger than your children) and he learned the name of the country, became familar with the spellings, and knows where they are on a map.

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Another couple of thoughts that came to mind...


Hands of a Child has a lot of good lapbooks. Look under "History" and "Social Studies" for civics lapbooks. (There are ones about the Declaration of Independence, Citizenship, etc.) Also look under "Geography" for the geography ones.


You could also think about adding in a state history study.


There are a lot of options from which to choose, and I think it could easily fill up a whole school year.

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I'm probably going to use almost all of them. I hadn't even thought of memory work yet, but those are some great things to start with. I'm getting excited about the plan as I start looking at these books and ideas. I think we'll do a mini-study of each state as we learn them and then something more comprehensive for our state. We live about 20 minutes from D.C. so there will also be TONS of field trip options.


Just looking at all of this, it seems like there will be plenty to keep us busy and it might be kind of nice to take a break from "history" too. I might have them do some unit studies as it is appropriate, though!


Thanks so much for the great ideas!


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