I like the layout of the books, each book focuses on a section of the United states instead of learning in alphabetical order. I love that. This also gives opportunity for expanding the lesson as well. Not too much and not too little.
However, the maps are too small and the information is too crowded. We used actually wall maps more than the book maps. I also had to print out map regions because the ones in the book are to confusing with all the info crammed into a small map. The font on some of the maps is too small for anyone to read (my sons eyes were, just checked so its not his vision!)
I would have loved to give this more stars but the maps and illustrations are not what they should be. I would recommend this to someone who has more resources to use but not to someone who can only use whats in this book.
I switched my daughter to LifePacs History/Geography in 3rd grade because I was disappointed in the other social studies curriculum we were using. It was too shallow, and she was not retaining any details. I was having to do so much extra work in supplementing her curriculum just so that she would learn the important facts. I love how the AO LifePacs are set up. They put the states into regions and then teach them as regions... putting the geographical, economical, and historical information from that region all into a specific unit. We are currently on Unit 2: New England States, and my daughter has learned more in this one unit than she did all year in our previous curriculum. The information is presented very clearly, and there are extra projects included in the text to help her dig deeper into the historical significance of the region. She is loving social studies for the first time, and I am enjoying teaching her!
At the beginning I was disappointed but after really teaching the book to my 3rd grader, I discovered the book to be much more in-depth. For each lesson, the teacher's book expands what is being taught. In my opinion You have to have access to a library, internet, and basic art supplies in order to fulfill the extra assignments. It would be nice if they had videos to accompany some of the subjects.