Review by Bridgette Taylor
“Cantering the Country” by Loree Pettit and Dari Mullins is a great way to teach U.S. geography while also covering many other subjects such as history, literature, language arts, and science.
Students learn by researching and compiling their own notebooks for each geographical region. The material is directed at grades 1-5, but could easily be added to or detracted from in order to accommodate a larger age group. As you canter across the country with this unit study your student will be able to spend as much or as little time on each state as needed. The program is designed to be completed in 1-3 years and the scheduling is left up to the teacher. This makes it easy to fit the lessons into your household schedule. Math and spelling are not covered and you may find that you need supplemental materials for language and science as well.
The curriculum covers each of the 50 states, and the District of Columbia alphabetically. Each state lesson covers basic facts about the state, but also lists numerous resources for each of the basic subjects (geography, literature, history, science, etc.) that your student can use to research and create stunning notebooks.
The included CD-ROM features many other activities such as word searches, maps, mazes, crossword puzzles, games, and full-color reproducible notebooking sheets. The suggested activities and resources for each lesson work together with the curriculum to provide your child a complete view of each state’s history, folklore, culture, natural resources, and more.
In order to give you a choice about what you study there are many activities listed, but you do not have to complete them all. Selecting a handful of activities for each state will provide you with more then enough information. To further round out each lesson you can learn the state song, the state pledge, do arts & crafts, prepare a local culinary treat, or choose from one of the other many activities.
While “Cantering the Country” is not a complete curriculum in and of itself the activities, both suggested and included, go beyond that of a simple supplemental resource to quickly make geography the favorite subject of your students. I highly recommend this curriculum for any homeschooling family.