For Social Studies this year, my oldest daughter (who's in 4th grade), studied one quarter of geography, one quarter on the states and capitals, one quarter on the Regions of the United States, one quarter for a state report.
For Geography, I used a Daily Geography book from Evan Moor that I bought at a garage sale for $2. If I hadn't had this book, I would have looked for resources online. I tried this today and found it difficult.
So, here's what I'd make sure to cover:
1) Parts of a Map Get a map that shows where you went on vacation last summer or on a day trip in the past year. Trace the route you took and explain all the different parts of the map along the way. Brainstorm other routes that you could have taken. Make sure to point out the compass rose and map scale.
There's a few map skills worksheets on this page: http://www.tlsbooks.com/geographyworksheets.htm
2) Look at a map of the world and point out the globe lines. Identify the Equator and Prime Meridian. Explain longitude and latitude. Identify the Northern/Southern hemispheres and the Eastern/Western Hemispheres. If they don't already know all of the continents and oceans, print off a world map like this one. Have your child label and memorize the oceans and continents. Here's a worksheet you could use with this section: http://www.superteacherworksheets.com/maps/usa-latitude-longitude-map_WNBRT.pdf
3) Find a map of North America and identify the countries of North America. Here is a site with notebooking pages you could do for Mexico, Canada, and a basic page for the United States
4) Put together a travel plan. Let your child pick 4 countries around the world that he or she would like to visit. Make a cover. Then, print off a country page and map for each country from this site. Go to the library and find book(s) for each country they'd like to visit. You can also use the internet, but I've found that it's often simpler to use books because you don't know what ads are going to be on the websites your kids are going to be looking at. Research one country a week.
This plan for Geography should take about 8 weeks, studying geography once a week. It's also a chance to give your student due dates. Choose to begin the Geography assignment early in the week and assign a Friday due date.
For the second quarter, we memorized the states and abbreviations using free resources from 5J's. I also ordered a book from Amazon for $4 (including shipping) titled Yo, Sacramento! (And All Those Other State Capitals You Don't Know) to help my daughter learn the capitals of the states. One thing I found that helped memorizing the abbreviations was to look at the address where food products came from or were packaged when we took them out of the cupboard at home.
Third quarter, we did a Regions Report. I used the first few lessons of Harcourt's States and Regions 4th grade textbook. I wrote questions for it, so if you ever want a copy, please email me via the contact information. I'm not going to post these because it's such a specialized book. Then we did a regions report.
Here are the resources I used:
1. Map of US. Use this site for region maps and country map: http://www.eduplace.com/ss/maps/usa.html
2. Information about the United States http://homeschoolcreations.com/files/Mapping_US.pdf I like this map of the US as a specific map activity.
3. Information about Washington DC. Here is a great site with a lot of information: http://kids.dc.gov/kids_main_content.html You can also use this worksheet to help students learn about Washington DC. You can print the worksheets on this page. Have your child read them and answer the questions at the end.
3. To explain the idea of regions, print this explanation.
3. Census Worksheet http://www.census.gov/dmd/www/pdf/k4ch2.pdf
3. Region Maps I printed a map from eduplace (above) for each region.
4. Region Activities: Pick 1-2 for each region http://volweb.utk.edu/Schools/bedford/thomas/actv.html Click on the links for each region. I copied the information into a Word document and printed a page to let my daughter choose an activity. Or, you could just choose 1 or 2 activities yourself for your child to do.
5. Choose 1 state from each region. Copy sheet from US Map Book, research, and complete.
This is a great site to help your student find information on the web that they need: http://www.usconsulate.org.hk/pas/kids/explore1.htm
Fourth quarter, my daughter did a state report. I had found a state report book from Abeka at a garage sale last year for a $1, so I used that. But, since I won't have one for my other two children, I looked around the web for a good report I could use in the future and found these:
3. Third Option
So, that's our free (or almost free) 4th grade social studies curriculum. :)