Geography has always been a tricky subject for our family. I want to make sure that our kids are familiar with the basic locations of countries and land formations, and I want them to be able to follow any political discussions that deal with countries that aren’t their own. Beyond that, I hope they leave our home knowing every country and people group bring something special and unique to the world and that no area is the sum of its generalizations. These desires have always led me to geography curricula that is very hands-on, involved, and requires a lot of my teaching time. We enjoyed it, yes, but as the kids get older I have found myself wishing for something that was less hands-on and more fact-based. I was very pleased, therefore, to be offered an opportunity to review Memoria Press’s Geography I this spring.
- Method: I use Geography I with my daughter, nine, as an independent subject. We have the Teacher’s Guide, the Student Text, and the Student Workbook. Twice a week she sits down and reads through one chapter of the Student Text and then answers the questions and fills out the map in the Student Workbook. When she finishes, I come and check her work and then I have her tell me a little bit about the country, show it to me on our own large world map, and then tell me something interesting that she has learned. Often, we follow up our discussion with Googling anything we want to learn more about, and we’ve spent a little time looking in our own library for more information on places that we found particularly interesting.
- Pros: I really enjoyed this being an independent subject. It was wonderful to hand her the workbooks and know that the content was solid and that she would be able to understand and answer any questions that followed. The maps are detailed and easy to read, and my daughter had no trouble finding the locations or names of the required fields. More than anything, I appreciated the straightforward approach. This is NOT a hands-on curriculum, which is a plus in my book. I have many hands-on things, and I needed Geography to be something that my daughter could reasonably do herself without sacrificing content. This curriculum is exactly what I’d hoped for.
- Cons: If you want something with crafts, that delves more into culture and color, this is NOT the curriculum for you. Memoria Press has put together a program that gives the student the basic facts of each country and a handful of interesting facts for a brief picture of their history and culture. I believe that it is an excellent jumping-off point for any child to do more of their own research, but if you want depth and interaction, you will probably do best to look elsewhere.
Conclusion: We will most certainly continue to use Geography I, and I plan to purchase the following levels as the kids get older. I appreciate the “no frills” approach to the subject, and I think that it lends itself to familiarity of the subject without encroaching on the time needed to do the rest of our schoolwork.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this product in exchange for my honest review on the Sandbox to Socrates blog. Opinions expressed in this review are the opinions of myself or my family and do not necessarily reflect those of the Sandbox to Socrates blog. I received no compensation for this review, nor was I required to write a positive review. This disclosure is in accordance with the FTC Regulations.
by Kristen – Kristen is a homeschooling mom of four, living deep in the heart of Texas. She loves history, running, and camping, and drinks more coffee than is prudent. Kristen blogs about her daily adventures trying to classically homeschool kids who would always rather be up a tree than writing anything, ever, at www.unsinkablekristen.blogspot.com