Welcome to the Eight For Each State US Geography tour. I am so glad you are joining us.
Illinois really surprised me! I had planned to look into the great fire, mention Lincoln, and perhaps talk a bit about the Native Americans from Illinois. My girls however had different plans.
We never made it to the Lincoln log cabin project linked below, but we did learn a ton about the architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Then we took it one step further as I turned them loose with craft supplies and a glue gun to build their own Frank Lloyd Wright house.
Our US Geography study has been like this for awhile now. I love the personalization that comes with following a rabbit trail in this part of our homeschooling.
The perfect introduction to any state in your US Geography tour is the State by State Alphabet books from Sleeping Bear Press. The information in these books is really a state study in itself.
The pictures make them well worth looking at. Many of our spinoff studies come from these books.
Another great way to introduce a state is to watch a video or two. We really enjoy the videos from Socratica and US Embassy Vienna.
The Great Fire in Chicago is a fascinating subject. How did it start? What went wrong? How did people react? These are great questions to stimulate discussion as you use these resources to talk about The Great Fire.
- The Great Fire by Jim Murphy – A Newbery Honor book filled with maps and stories of the key people involved.
- The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 by Kay Melchisedech Olson – My girls are really enjoying these historical comic style books. They are quick and easy to read but really explain the topic well.
- Great Chicago Fire 1871 video from the Weather Channel
3. Deep Dish Pizza
Who can think of Chicago without thinking of deep dish pizza? Our recipe came from The United States Cookbook by Joan D’Amico. If you are looking for a all around great cookbook for your US Geography tour, look no further!
This cookbook is fantastic. The recipes are easy enough for my girls to understand and do semi-independently, and they taste good too! They have learned so much about being in the kitchen by adding a food component to our US Geography tour.
If you already have a favorite pizza recipe, simply put the dough in a 9 x 13 pan instead of a pizza pan and cook as usual.
4. Native Americans from Illinois
There are many Native American tribes that lived in Illinois at one point or another. The Sauk, Fox or Mesquakie, and the Miamis are the three most commonly referred to. Below are a few resources for these tribes.
- Black Hawk: A Boy and his Vision by Carol March McLernon
- Sauk Tribe
- We Are Mesquakie, We Are One by Hadley Irwin
- Facts for kids website – An older looking website but full of great information and links!
- Miami Indian Fact Sheet
Also take some time to look at the large Native American mounds in Illinois. Monks mound is the largest in North America!
5. Frank Lloyd Wright
We we began our Illinois study, I had no idea we would delve into the world of Frank Lloyd Wright. But I am so glad we did!
In the Socratica video above, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Oak Park Studio is mentioned. That is all it took for my girls to clamor for more about these interesting looking houses. I scrambled and found this YouTube documentary that they watched with rapt attention. I’m sure there are others.
I had my husband stop at the library on his way home from work for books with lots of pictures. We checked ours out of the adult section. I bet your library has one or two as well.
Then, after flipping through the books I set the girls, with a friend loose on the drive way with a glue gun, boxes, and craft sticks. They gathered other natural materials to add to their creations. The results were some very interesting takes on a Frank Lloyd Wright house.
I focused on process here. Ruth latched on to Wright’s organic architecture by using many natural elements in her home. She also remembered and tried to apply triangular roofs. Her interpretations right or wrong reinforced what she learned. We also had a ton of FUN!
Lincoln is a must for Illinois. There are so many resources and projects to do as you take a look at this great American president. I have highlighted a few of our favorites.
- Abraham Lincoln by Ingri and Edgar Parin D’Aulaire – I called all the children round as I read this lovely picture book aloud. The drawings are lively and colorful and the story exceptional.
- Lincoln and His Boys by Rosemary Wells – For the older reader, a peek into the family life of Lincoln.
- President’s Day Log Cabin from Martha Stewart – A fun building project and snack all in one!
- Disney The American Presidents: Abraham Lincoln YouTube video
L Is for Lincoln: An Illinois Alphabet (Discover America State by State)The Great FireThe Great Chicago Fire of 1871 (Disasters in History)The U.S. History Cookbook: Delicious Recipes and Exciting Events from the PastBlack Hawk: A Boy and his VisionWe Are Mesquakie, We Are OneJourney to Cahokia: A Boy’s Visit to the Great Mound CityAbraham Lincoln, 75th Anniversary EditionLincoln and His BoysIf You’re Not From The PrairieA Walk in the Prairie (Biomes of North America)Butterfly Eyes and Other Secrets of the MeadowPopcorn at the PalaceHog MusicAbe Lincoln’s Hat (Step into Reading)
7. Prairie Life
Illinois’ nickname is the Prairie State. What a great opportunity to talk about Prairies!
- If Your’re Not From the Prairie by David Bouchard – I’m not from the prairie, but I love this beautiful book that talks about what it is like to live there.
- A Walk in the Prairie by Rebecca L. Johnson – Photos and maps tell about the prairie biome.
- Butterfly Eyes and Other Secrets of the Meadow by Joyce Sidman – We love the rhymes and information in this book. Perfect for your little ones.
- Build a Prairie interactive online game
8. Living Books for Illinois
We love reading books aloud as a family and Ruth always likes to have a few books to chew on during the week as well. Here is a list of living books for Illinois. Enjoy!
- Popcorn at the Palace by Emily Arnold McCully
- Hog Music by M. C. Helldorfer
- Abe Lincoln’s Hat by Martha Brenner
- Coming on Home Soon by Jacqueline Woodson
As always we have a fun scrapbooking page for you to record your state study journey. You can see more about how we use our scrapbooking pages in this post.
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