I've always admired kids who participate in "bees" for spelling, Bible, or geography. In grade school, I was a decent speller, but I was not a spelling bee level speller. And Bible or geography? Not a chance! Our world is getting smaller and smaller all the time and geographic literacy is more important than ever. Unfortunately, most young Americans have very little knowledge of the world outside of their very small local area. Many do not even know the United States well.
That's why a homeschool geography curriculum like Let’s Go Geography is such a valuable tool.
I received a subscription to Year One of Let's Go Geography, created by Carol E. Henderson. It is all online, but it is easy to download the PDFs to save on your computer for use wherever and when ever you like. If you're worried about the space, you can just access the weekly curriculum right from the website by logging in and selecting Account from the navigation bar. From there, you can manage your log in information, payments, and subscriptions. A click on subscriptions takes you to a list of products available for use. In my case, that is the geography passport and the year one membership. The curriculum can be used by one teacher for an entire family or co-op classes.
This is year one of a planned three year curriculum for grades K-4th. Each year will cover two US regions and 26 foreign countries, visiting each continent. Obviously, there are more countries than that, but this curriculum will provide an excellent overview of the entire world. This year, at least, the bigger punks are joining Merrick and me. They haven't complained once in five weeks! It's a great jumping off point for the older two (grades 5 and 6).
Year one can also be purchased in a two semester option. This would work great for a semester of a co-op or year of a co-op that meets every other week. You could even use this option to study geography in the summers.
With about an hour each week, the lessons consist of the following sections:
- Are You Ready? ~ This is a sort of cover page with the capital, largest city, language spoken, population, and area in miles. The next page lists all the things you may need to complete the assignments (books to read, a craft, and a travel journal). One nice thing is that the author lists the Dewey Decimal call number for books that would be appropriate for the country or region you are studying. There are definitely books available in other sections, but these will get you off to a very good start.
- Map It! ~ There is a link to a map (or maps) to print, instructions for coloring and labeling, and especially learning to read ("Explore") the map. The punks did things like label oceans, identify neighboring countries, and marking capitals.
- The Flag ~ Several flags are on a page to print. You will be directed to color (although the flags are actually outlined in color), cut out, and attach the flags either to the included continent's flag page or to the available "passport."
- The Music ~ This lists the lyrics of the national anthem and has a link to listen to it on youtube.
- Let's Explore ~ Trivia! A few facts about the country or region, photos, and links to videos to "tour" the area. Some links are especially for kids a bit older. You'll find those on these pages, along with a reminder to check the printables section for notebooking pages.
- Create ~ Here's the craft! Some kids, especially those in early elementary, live for this section (actually, Xav loved this part, too!). There is also a coloring page of the area (also in the printables section).
- and Printables ~ Yippee! The part mom likes. *grin* The notebooking pages, the coloring pages, and the extra flags.
The 36 weeks of lessons include four break weeks: weeks 9, 18, 27, and 36 (which actually doesn't count because the program finishes up on week 35, but if you schedule your school out into 36 weeks, you might need to know that). There are three regional review weeks for North and South America (week 12), Europe and Africa (week 24), and Asia and Oceania (week 34). Week 35 is a
Final Review week which includes games and the end of year project, which is a "memory suitcase."
We were going to take a look at week 12's review lesson this week, even though we're actually only on week six, but I have some miserable sickies right now and so I'll just tell you about it from looking at the lesson. The sections are the same as the regular lesson, minus the music. First, the map is for North and South America together. A list of the countries that have been taught to that point are on the next page and students are advised to color and/or label each country as best they can from memory.
Better than that, though, they are now learning about maps. This review section has activities about the compass rose, cardinal directions, and latitude and longitude. There is a flag matching activity for each of the eight countries, some more trivia, and a match the country to a picture. The answers are included for all the questions. The printables section contains a coloring sheet of animals and a notebooking page for each *continent*.
I really appreciate the weekly email reminder which arrives in my inbox to tell me HEY! Go download your pages, print the maps, and gather your supplies. It doesn't actually say that, but it's a nice reminder, so in the every day hoopla, you don't let the geography go by the wayside.
The "color the flag" sections are outlined in color. I'd rather they were black ink only so children can compare the actual flag and figure out how to color it. Children in this age group are generally capable of doing that and I don't have a color printer, so that would be a great option. I'd love to see all the flags for the year on one or two pages with the black line only or color options. This would make it so easy to print the number of copies needed for each student. Stickers would be a great alternate option, if you have someone who wouldn't want to color more than the maps.
Merrick is so excited to be doing school more often with the bigger punks this year. He loves having his own pages to do the same things they are doing. He's almost offended when I print him a coloring page and they get a notebooking page!
Let's Go Geography has been a really fun way to study our world. I'm looking forward to continuing this curriculum with all three punks.
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