Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Hewitt Homeschooling ~ State History Notebook Review

My daughters and I have been pretty fortunate to be able to review a bunch of really wonderful products this year as part of the Schoolhouse Review Crew. Just recently my oldest daughter had the opportunity to review Chronicles of . . . A State History Notebook from Hewitt Homeschooling.  What an awesome product! My daughter absolutely loved it. You can choose to do the study on whatever state you want. Being from Oklahoma, she decided that was the state she wanted to learn more about. So she embarked on a great Oklahoma history journey. I have always felt that learning about your state history is very important. We have done state studies before but this one was so much better. Perhaps, I should even add that it was our favorite state study!

Chronicles of . . . A State History Notebook is a 3-ring binder with 100 wonderfully laid out notebook pages that guide students through an entire course of state history.  It is recommended for grades 3-8. My daughter is in 5th grade and did very well with it. She not only gained first-hand information about her state of Oklahoma, but also learned some valuable research skills as well. The notebook has a great introduction that contains suggestions for additional projects and other resources.

The notebook provided many opportunities for my daughter to be creative. The cover of the binder has sleeves, so that photos and/or artwork may be inserted. This gave my daughter the opportunity to personalize the front of it. She very much enjoyed being able to have control over what her binder looked liked.

Also, the pages are printed on a heavy-stock paper and laid out in a old-fashioned scrapbook style. The layout made it easy for my daughter to navigate the pages, add research info, and be creative with drawings, photos and printouts.

The amount of content within the notebook is amazing! My daughter was able to touch base on things, that I would have never thought about had I tried to put a study together on my own.

  • Facts, Symbols, Emblems
  • Geography, Population
  • Industries, Jobs
  • History, Government
  • Miscellaneous, Field Trips, Photographs
Suggested activities include:
  • Interviewing a new resident and an old resident
  • Visiting the capital 
  • Making a time line
  • Reporting on field trips
  • Drawing the state flag, tree, bird, flower, and seal
  • Creating graphs of various kinds
  • Making a relief map
  • Creating a climate map
  • Learning about immigration into his own state

As you can see from the table of contents, this is a very complete state study. We loved that each category is filled with lots of items to learn about and not just the basics. Each page states on the top what the page will be about and then provides a blank spot for pictures, art, or photos and then also has a blank spot for writing a description. Once again, being able to add what my daughter wanted was so much fun. She really felt in control of the study without fear of wrong answers. 

My daughter found a bunch of information on the internet for this study. So while learning about her states history, she also learned how to use the computer to research better as well. While I believe the internet is a valuable research tool, it was also fun to take trips to learn things first hand. For instance, when it came time for my daughter to learn about license plates, we took a trip to our local tag agency. It was fun to watch her ask questions and investigate things on her own. We also drove around looking for our state tree and counting all the ones we found. There is a page that asks for a pressed leaf from the state tree. She also used books for her study. The library came in handy for that. Also, a few months back, a friend of mine brought us some rose rock. It was really neat having that on hand to examine when it came time for her to learn about the state rock.

We enjoyed that Chronicles of . . . A State History Notebook turned out to be very hands-on. It wasn't just about filling out the blank pages. The study got us out and about, investigating and exploring.

My daughter's favorite part was that each category presents new research ideas and room for creativity. My daughter told me that it was a ton of fun to look up the information and learn new things about Oklahoma but even more fun being able to be creative about it.

She learned so many wonderful facts about Oklahoma and even started learning the 77 Oklahoma counties. That will take a bit longer, but I feel she has a wonderful start. She was instructed to draw a map, fill in the counties, and color each one a different color. We laughed that perhaps we might run out of colors and she would have to be creative and make some of her own. I could tell that while it was work, she was also enjoying herself. I know that the ability to put things together like a scrapbook, in her own style, made her more interested in the product and enjoy it even more.  I have enjoyed listening to her sing our state song and try to come up with cleaver poems. There is still more fun things she is looking forward to completing, like making a travel brochure and interviewing a resident. We are also looking forward to taking a trip to our capitol building soon for more learning and research. I know she is excited about adding what she finds to her notebook.

She hasn't finished Chronicles of . . . A State History Notebook yet, but when she does she will receive a cute certificate that is located on the last page of the notebook. I thought this was a fun extra and I'm really glad it was included. I know my daughter is looking forward to getting it.

Final thoughts:

We loved everything about Chronicles of . . . A State History Notebook! It is such a fun study.  I feel that this study could be tailored for each student using it. I do believe that older children could do the study independently, while younger children would need help researching and perhaps writing. I really felt that because of the way it was set up, there really was no wrong way to complete it. While it does take time to complete the study, each child doing the study can be as creative and unique with their research and answers as they want. I loved that my daughter could take as little or much time on a subject as she wanted and that she learned a ton of interesting things. 

I absolutely love creating our own curriculum, but like I stated before, I don't believe I could have put together a study on my own like this. Chronicles of . . . A State History Notebook does a fantastic and thorough job of covering the many aspects of the state and its history. I'm extremely grateful that we had the opportunity to do this review.

You can currently purchase this awesome notebook for only $19.95

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  1. Jenny K.30.9.14

    Hello, I have been exploring your blog & stumbled upon this post on state history. By the way your blog has been so much fun & also a great homeschool resource for this mom!
    This looks like a great book for my 4th grader to use this year. My daughter is wanting to learn more about our home sweet home of Kansas. I love all the different things included in the study. I agree it would be hard to put together a curriculum like this. Your daughter looks like she enjoyed it. Thanks for sharing the review. :)

    1. I was so thrilled to read your comment. It sure makes me feel good to know that you have enjoyed my blog. :) Thank you so much for your kind words. This was a wonderful product and I think you and your daughter would really enjoy it.


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