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Trail Guide to U.S. Geography

Trail Guide to U.S. Geography is a family-friendly, multi-level geography curriculum guide for students in grades 3 through 12. With its trail markers (animal track icons) guiding your student along three different learning paths, this book can be used for more than one academic school year and works well if you have a number of students of varying abilities learning together.

Trail Guide to U.S. Geography provides lesson plans and assignments for a 36-week school year.

Geography Trails Weekly: Days 1-4
Students use an atlas to answer two questions daily, gaining experience and proficiency with map reading and atlas usage. Click to see a sample lesson or the Table of Contents.

Mapping Weekly
Weekly mapping lists provide opportunities for students to label an outline map for inclusion in their personal geography notebook.

Trail Blazing — Personal Research and Discovery
Select 2 to 4 weekly additional assignments — which may include creating a chart or graph, research and study, arts or crafts, meal planning and preparation, designing a travel brochure, making flash cards or a crossword puzzle, or creating an illustrated geography dictionary — to augment the school week.

During the final weeks of the school year we change it up with a Literature Review Unit, using family read-aloud time and a good novel.

Using the Trail Guide to U.S. Geography as your core, students will:
  • Gain experience with map reading using an atlas;
  • Create their own personal geography notebook, or portfolio;
  • Develop critical thinking skills;
  • Learn countries and capitals;
  • Much more!
Resources used with Trail Guide to U.S. Geography
With the following required and optional resources, Trail Guide to U.S. Geography makes for an interesting year of geography studies and most can be used again when students have moved up a level:
  • Desk Atlas of the United States — atlas used for daily questions and weekly mapping assignments
  • Almanac and Book of Facts — used for the high school level (secondary trail) for answering the daily questions
  • 3-Level Trail Guide to U.S. Geography Student Notebook printable pdf files (or a good set of outline maps) form the core of the geography notebook. Of course, we recommend the Uncle Josh’s Outline Maps book or collection on CD-ROM if you don’t choose to use the Student Notebook files.
  • The Captain’s Dog — read-aloud novel for 6-week literature review unit
  • Geographical Terms Chart — visual aid for learning geography terms
Optional Complimentary Resources
These optional resources meet more specific needs and aid in making this an even more interesting subject to study:
  • Eat Your Way Through the USA — This cookbook is referenced in Trail Blazing assignments, and features complete meals for each of our fifty states. It is interesting how differently we eat across the country. Includes ingredients grown in the state, recipes the state is known for or, recipes submitted by families in that state. Food facts for each state add interest and provide opportunities for discussion while preparing the dish. Everyone loves to eat so cooking is an easy connection to any geography study.
  • Geography Through Art — Introduces world and U.S. cultures in a medium children enjoy and relate to ... Art! They learn what children in countries around the world do for art and create their own from the instructions provided. Many projects come with fascinating information of historical significance. Step-by-step illustrating examples help students draw a number of different animals and more, and all projects include great simple-to-follow instructions. Nineteen art projects from the United States aid this study; there are 100 additional projects from around the world.
  • Cantering the Country — Literature-based geography unit study curriculum which compliments the family geography study. For those who also have younger students, or who love finding real books from which to teach. Using this book in tandem with Trail Guide to U.S. Geography helps family members with different learning styles and of varying ages learn together by allowing each child to do activities and assignments selected just for them.
  • U.S. Trail Guide Lapbook — For younger students or hands-on learning types, this lapbook adds depth to creating a fascinating geography notebook.
  • USA PlaceMap — Great visual aid in a compact size. Includes handy state facts students can use when creating data charts.