Home  »  Geography Books  »  Trail Guide to U.S. Geography, Second Edition, 2015

Trail Guide to U.S. Geography, Second Edition, 2015

by Cindy Wiggers
Your Price: $18.95


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:

Optional Companion 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.

Save money with GeoPacks - specially assembled bundles to include everything you need to embark upon an exciting adventure in geography. You’ll find GeoPacks on the Specials page of this website and at Homeschool Conventions (see Book Fairs link above for our conference schedule).

Trail Guide to U.S. Geography, Second Edition, 2015

Binding: Paperback
Page Count: 128
Publisher: Geography Matters
Grade Level: 2nd - High School
ISBN: GM-420p

Shipping Details

Add a comment & post it to your Facebook wall!


"Adding this resource to our study of the U.S., we have realized that there is so much more to know about the geography of our great country than just states and capitals!

Thankfully, author Cindy Wiggers has made it easy to incorporate the often overlooked, but important subject of geography into our already packed homeschool routine. The Trail Guide to U.S. Geography provides lots of guidance while allowing for (and encouraging) flexibility and this is just the balance most homeschool moms need!

The manual is easy to navigate and I am very impressed with how thoroughly material is covered. This resource is destined to be a favorite with homeschool families for years to come!" —Cindy Prechtel, Editor Homeschooling From the Heart

Trail Guide to U.S. Geography may be used in an individual homeschool, but it is well-suited to use in a group or co-op, with the added benefit of students tackling different activities and sharing the fruits of their studies with each other through presentations and discussion. —Jean Hall, Eclectic Homeschool Online

"This is an EXCELLENT resource for U.S. Geography. Your child will be very familiar with the United States and each state independently when they are through with this course!" —Holly Cameron at The Old Schoolhouse Magazine

"Systematically moving through the US, there's something here for everyone, whether you're looking for a few warm up drills or a thorough, in-depth geography course." —ChristianBook.com

"We have been using the Trail Guide to U.S. Geography by Cindy Wiggers for our geography studies for over a year now. This resource is wonderful! I have decided to do a series of posts in which I show how we use this resource to study the geography of our country. For years I had felt guilty because we really weren't studying geography in a systematic manner. For me, the Trail Guide to U.S. Geography is the perfect geography curriculum. Our geography studies are completed together which works really well for my children (7th, 5th, and 3rd grades)." —To Be Busy At Home Blog

"While the curriculum can be completed in a year, I decided to take a slower pace and complete our study of United States geography over a two year period. The Trail Guide to U.S. Geography is such a rich resource of ideas, even with two years in which to work through the text, I had to pick and choose which activities we would complete for our homeschool. There are just so many ideas in the text and geography is just one part of our school day. We usually spend about 20 minutes on geography studies each day, although some projects take a bit —Samantha at the Curriculum Choice

"If your homeschooled child loves maps, state trivia and geography, or it's important to you that your kids learn all 50 states, their capitals and basic history, The Trail Guide to US Geography from GeoMatters is designed just for your home school. The curriculum provides everything necessary for a thorough overview of each of the fifty states in an engaging, multi-level, multidisciplinary method." —Andrea Rose at Associated Content


How can I learn more from people who are using this curriculum?

Join our Yahoo users group at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/geographytrailguides

If I buy the Trail Guide with these additional resources can I get a discount?

From time to time, we offer discounts when you buy a bundle of resources that compliment the Trail Guide to U. S. Geography. See the Specials section of our Website.

Do I really need the World Almanac?

In the Trail Guide to U.S. Geography students 8th grade and up will gain daily practice using the almanac. Too many students (and adults) are intimidated by the thickness and fine print of almanacs and therefore do not use them. Students will find out from personal usage just how handy knowing how to use an almanac can be.

Questions are graduated by ease of finding the answers. The first few weeks students are using the same section of the almanac. Questions stay in the same section long enough for students to feel comfortable using the almanac. Helpful hints are provided in parenthesis after many questions to assist students in thinking where to look in the index.

Students will also use pieces of information to calculate answers. This improves critical thinking skills. All answers and formulas are included in the back of the Trail Guide.

What other resources do I need to use this book?

Highly Recommended:

  • Outline Maps—for mapping assignments (We recommend Illustrated Atlas of the United States—for mapping assignments and daily geography drills. The U.S. map in a world atlas is not sufficient. You need maps for each state. [Note: We originally recommended the Millennium Atlas of the United States which has gone out of print. The Illustrated Atlas of the United States, published in 2005, appears to be the exact same atlas.]
  • World Almanac for daily Geography Trails drills for the secondary student (grades 8-high school)

    Additional helpful resources:
  • The Captain's Dog by Roland Smith used during the last 6 weeks of the year for literature unit. Students will read about the Lewis and Clark Expedition through the eyes of a dog, map the trail and choose from a variety of additional assignments. You may be able to obtain this book from the library.
  • Geography Through Art by Sharon and Jamie Aramini used for all art projects. Categorized by continent and listed in the Trail Guide, which project to do when appropriate to each state study.
  • Geography Terms Chart—great visual aid for understanding geography's physical terms. Used as a resource for weekly Illustrated Geography Dictionary assignments.
  • USA/World Double-Sided Map—recommended for 2nd or third graders doing the primary level.

Can I teach more than one student at a time?

Yes, this book was designed to allow teachers and parents to teach a variety of student levels all at once. All students are studying the same topic, but doing assignments at their own academic level. Assignment choices range from research to art to making crossword puzzles, salt dough maps and keeping a geography notebook and much more. Choose assignments for each student that meets their learning style and interest and you'll have a great time learning together. Set aside one day each month to let each student share what he/she is learning with the others.

How many years can I use the Trail Guide to U.S. Geography?

You can use this book for at least 3 years. The daily drills (Geography Trails) are written for 3 levels. You can use any of the remaining trails or levels for subsequent years as a simple geography moment each day to keep atlas usage state facts, and geoTerms fresh.

View all books by Cindy Wiggers