US Geography Illinois FeaturePin
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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.

US Geography Illinois FeaturePin

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.

1. L is for Lincoln by Kathy-jo Wargin

PinThe 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.

Illinois – Visit the 50 States


2.The Great Fire of 1871

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.



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.

US Geography Illinois Deep Dish PizzaPin

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.



Also take some time to look at the large Native American mounds in Illinois. Monks mound is the largest in North America!Pin



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.

US Geography Illinois Frank Lloyd WrightPin

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!

6. Lincoln


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.

Lincoln’s home in Springfield is most certainly on our list of places to see. For now, enjoy a virtual tour and visit the National Park Service website for the Lincoln home.

 L Is for Lincoln: An Illinois Alphabet (Discover America State by State)Pin The Great FirePin The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 (Disasters in History)Pin The U.S. History Cookbook: Delicious Recipes and Exciting Events from the PastPin Black Hawk: A Boy and his VisionPin We Are Mesquakie, We Are OnePin Journey to Cahokia: A Boy’s Visit to the Great Mound CityPin Abraham Lincoln, 75th Anniversary EditionPin Lincoln and His BoysPin If You’re Not From The PrairiePin A Walk in the Prairie (Biomes of North America)Pin Butterfly Eyes and Other Secrets of the MeadowPin Popcorn at the PalacePin Hog MusicPin Abe Lincoln’s Hat (Step into Reading)Pin

7. Prairie Life

Illinois’ nickname is the Prairie State. What a great opportunity to talk about Prairies!



8. Living Books for Illinois

PinWe 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!



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.


Download your FREE State Scrapbooking Pages