Preparing for the Golden Horseshoe Test

~the 2nd in a series of articles~

Click here to read the 1st article in the series.

Learning about West Virginia in the 8th grade is both a valuable academic opportunity and essential preparation for the Golden Horseshoe exam, a prestigious statewide competition.  Even if your student does not plan to take the Golden Horseshoe test, the study is traditional for Mountaineers and a perfect complement to the middle school years.  Recommended resources are listed below:

  • West Virginia: 150 Years of Statehood is the textbook used in public and private schools.  A new edition of this book will be used in classrooms starting this year, but this edition has not yet been released.  CHEWV is working with the publisher to help parents buy copies of the new book and teacher materials. Stay tuned, CHEWV will add a link for this when it becomes available.

State law says that county BOEs may issue a homeschool student a book if they are available, but schools are not required to loan textbooks if they do not have enough. The older edition of the textbook is more than adequate to teach WV studies to your students. It is believed the new edition will mainly feature changes in statistical information and perhaps how the book is set up, but the basic content will remain. Since there are many counties using the online book, there should be less of a shortage for those counties and they may be more likely to issue a homeschool student access to the materials.  Contact your county’s BOE or your local middle school’s WV History instructor to find out what is available.  While teacher editions and answer keys are not likely to be offered, CHEWV is working on resources to fill that gap.

The older edition is currently available from Amazon.  Additionally, teacher materials are available from The James and Law Company in Clarksburg at this link.

Editor’s Note:  CHEWV now has a limited supply of these textbooks available to members.  Click here for more information.

  • The Golden Horseshoe  by Frances B. Gunter is a fictionalized mystery that sends a group of youth on a mysterious quest. As a result, the reader learns about important historical events. Your student may not realize this is a history book as they get caught up in the story!
  • West Virginia Encyclopedia, by Ken Sullivan, is also available online. They have a great guide for teachers with a list of relevant articles.

West Virginia History Tip #2: Not only does the Golden Horseshoe test cover state history, it includes questions about economics, cultural studies, civics, geography, and popular culture. Students should strive for mastery of these areas to provide a comprehensive picture of the great state of West Virginia.

West Virginia History Tip #3: Educational field trips include Blennerhassett Island and Prickett’s Fort, both of which close for the winter season in October or November. These state parks are wonderful living history opportunities for your students to experience history outside of the world of a textbook. Plan your trip today!


Read the next article in the Golden Horseshoe series here.