Friday, June 13, 2008

A Child's Geography

I just received one of the neatest books in the mail that I’ve seen for awhile – A Child’s Geography by Ann Voskamp.  Why am I so impressed with this book? Well, it’s because I have looked high and low for a geography book that I can actually work with, one that will fit our schooling schedule, and one that is interesting and fun.  This book meets all of those criteria and more. 
A Child’s Geography is written in a Charlotte Mason-style.  Though I never actually set out to find Charlotte Mason-style books, I always find myself extremely attracted to them when I do find them!  Here are some of the things that impress me about A Child’s Geography:
·         It is set up to be used two days per week (you could do it in one but it would either take a lot of time or you would have to just pick and choose what you want to do)
·         It is written in a personal style – when reading it, you feel as though the author is talking to you personally
·         Each reading selection contains “Tell the folks at home all about it!” sections (which are prompts for the children to share what they have learned so far) and “Postcard Home” sections (which are “Notebooking” activities that your children do on oversized postcards)
·         After each reading selection, there is another section called “Reaching Out to His World” – these sections talk about ways that we, as Christians, can be praying for and helping those in the world who are less fortunate than we are
·         Book lists for extra reading are included in each lesson
·         Each lesson also contains two “Too-Fun-to-Resist Excursions”, which are easy-to-do activities that relate to the lesson and require very little preparation or materials, but are fun and effective learning tools
In addition to all of that, the book also comes with an accompanying cd-rom.  It includes 27 pages of copywork activities that directly relate to the lessons in the book, 4 styles of copywork templates (for older and younger students, with or without sections for drawing), 5 different postcard templates (to be used with the Notebooking activities), 2 review tests, and more!
If you are in search of a geography book that is easy to work with, can be used with multiple age groups, and approaches geography from a Christian perspective, then I’m sure you’ll be impressed and pleased with A Child’s Geography. 

Much like its predecessor, Explore His Earth - Volume 1 of A Child’s Geography, Volume 2 – Explore the Holy Land is an excellent geography resource and one that I would highly recommend.  This book is divided into 16 chapters, covering 6 Middle Eastern countries (Turkey, Israel, Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan).  Various scheduling options are recommended to spread this course out over an entire school year.
Each chapter of A Child’s Geography, Volume 2 is divided into several sections:
·         The readings – these may be read all at once, or divided into two sections, they may be read aloud to younger students and older students can easily read them on their own.  They are written in a personal style, making you feel as if the author is speaking to you personally.  To enhance the readings, having an atlas and/or globe handy is a good idea.
·         Field Notes – these are narration prompts and are just suggestions to get your child talking about what they have learned
·         Travel Logs – these are the Notebooking activities and are suggested to be placed in a 3-ring binder, in plastic sheet protectors.  For each country, your child will be encouraged to draw a map of the country (outline maps are included on the accompanying cd-rom) and label cities, landmarks, etc. that have been discussed in the chapter.  On the back of each map, they will be recording special things that stood out to them during the lessons.
·         Bring it Home – these are great ideas for bringing each country’s culture into your home; they include things such as music, art, reading, poetry, and recipes (some web addresses are given for further ideas, etc.)
·         Prayer Walk – these are included at the end of each section of study on a particular country, they are written as a prayer and include specific requests pertaining to that particular country.
Also included with A Child’s Geography, Volume 2 is an accompanying cd-rom.  On the cd, you will find more resources to help make Explore the Holy Land even more memorable.  These include copywork passages that directly relate to the studies, 4 different copywork templates, 4 travel log templates and a travel log cover sheet, maps of the Middle Eastern countries (both labeled and unlabeled versions), recipes from the Holy Land, and review tests (or quizzes) for each of the 16 chapters of the book.
I am every bit as impressed with Volume 2 as I am with Volume 1.  I hope there are several more installments in the series!  These books are great for working with multiple ages, and they will easily fit into any homeschooling schedule.
*Both of these great resources can be purchased from the publisher or at the Schoolhouse Store (where they are available in e-book format).

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