Memoria Press Review by Tammy: Geography I

I received a copy of Memoria Press’ Geography I to review for Sandbox to Socrates. I’ve never used any Memoria Press materials but knew their curriculum to be of excellent quality, so I was excited to see what they offered for beginning geography. Geography I is part of their fourth grade curriculum and includes a review booklet for United States geography which is covered in their third grade program. Geography I retails for $48 and includes a student text, student workbook, and teacher’s manual (as well as the US review books).

 

My son (6th grade) and I have always studied geography in conjunction with history, and I was loathe to change that just for a review. So instead of starting at the front of the book and working our way though, we picked out countries that we had already studied and moved into new countries as they came up in our history. Each region in the student text begins with an overview and is then broken down into individual countries. We covered Ancient History last year, so we did a read-through of the Middle East: The Cradle of Civilization and discussed the map. Then we read the North Africa overview and did the workbook pages on Egypt. We moved on to Europe and read about Greece and Italy, completing those workbook pages. Each country is given a two-page spread and includes History’s Headlines (very distant past) and Tour of Today (more recent past), as well as a Fast Facts section and a map of the country in relation to its region (surrounding countries and geographical features). We moved on to Spain, France, Great Britain, and Germany as we discussed them in our history studies. We were able to connect each country with our history lessons via History’s Headlines and discuss more current events with Tour of Today. This piecemeal approach might not work for every family, but it was a fun change for us.

 

Conclusion: Geography I is a quick and easy way to cover a bit of history and learn a few facts. I like that can be as independent as your learner allows. My son was able to complete the pages himself, allowing me to come back for discussion when convenient. Geography I makes a great jumping-off point for students to delve further into a country of particular interest. It isn’t flashy or colorful, but the content is solid and useful.

Be sure to read what our other reviewers had to say about this and other Memoria Press products.

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.

Tammy lives in the desert southwest where antelope play in her front yard, grazing among the rattlers and scorpions. She enjoys reading, scrapbooking, and crochet. She currently  homeschools one son.

Memoria Press Review by Emma: Geography I

I have always loved Geography and so was excited when the time came to start teaching Geography to my kids. Life has been rather hectic this last year, so I really needed something independent and easy to use. I was happy to get a chance to review Memoria Press‘s Geography I.

photo by Ove Topfer

My eight year old used Geography I mostly independently.  I received the Teacher’s Guide, the Student Text, and the Student Workbook.  He would read through the Student Text and then answer the questions in the Workbook. After finishing the page, I would check his answers, and we’d discuss anything I had questions about. We would also Google some of the countries he was most curious about, and look them up on our world map.

▪Pros:  The fact that this was an independent lesson was great. It gave me the break I needed to take care of other matters but didn’t feel like busy work. I knew that the information would be presented well, and he would learn some facts about each country. I also used it as writing practice, since he had to fill out information about each country.

▪Cons:  The lack of color and visual appeal were the biggest downfalls, in my opinion. This curriculum gives a basic overview of each country and presents everything in a neat little package, but I would have liked for the pages to be more visually appealing with more images and color.

Conclusion:  I plan to continue using Geography I as a supplement to our Geography studies and will likely purchase the next levels. I enjoy the independent aspect and the straightforward approach.

Be sure to read what our other reviewers had to say about this and other Memoria Press products.

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.

emma

Emma–Emma has been married for seven years, and is mom of two, plus one once-crazy dog. She’s been homeschooling for three years now in NC. In addition to being a wife, mom and educator, she is also a Graphic Designer.

Memoria Press Review by Kristen: Geography I

 

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.

Be sure to read what our other reviewers had to say about this and other Memoria Press products.

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.

13021867383_2cf4e968cb_q

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

Memoria Press Review by Lynne: Geography I

Our family had the opportunity to review the Geography I curriculum from Memoria Press. Memoria Press includes this program in their fourth grade curriculum.  You can purchase the Geography portion for $48.  I used it with my fourth- and fifth-grade sons.

Geography I covers the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe.  It also includes a review booklet for the United States.  We’ve always done geography in conjunction with history, and not as a separate subject, so I was interested to see how this would work for us.

The Student Text begins each section with a brief overview and map of the region.  The regional information is followed by a two-page spread for each country in the region.  You can see a sample of this layout on MP’s website.  The first page is broken down into three sections:  History’s Headlines, where we get highlights of the country’s past; Tour of Today, where we learn of events from the not-so-distant past; and Fast Facts, where we get the stats about the country and learn about its flag.  There are also black-and-white pictures to accompany each country. The second page is a basic map showing the country in relation to its surrounding countries and bodies of water. In the back of the book, there are several colorful pages of flags.  My kids were very interested in the flags, so I actually found them some flag stickers that they could put on each page.

The Geography I Student Workbook has a page for each country for the students to label a few of the major geographical locations and to record some basic information about the country.  You can see a sample page here.  The answers are provided in the Teacher Guide.

The United States Student Workbook breaks the country into eight regions.  For each region, there are worksheet pages to identify the name of the state and its capital.  We had never done a formal study of United States geography, so I was surprised when my kids just whipped through the United States booklet.  They informed me that they learned the states and capitals through various educational video games.

I normally choose secular materials for my kids, but I have used other MP items and have not found them to be overbearing in their religious viewpoint.  If you want no mention of God or Christianity at all in your curriculum. though, this is not the program for you.

As a preliminary foray into Geography, I don’t think you’ll find a more simple and easy product to use.  It provides a good overview of the various regions and what countries make up those regions.  The text is brief and simple, but you could easily do more independent research on a country that strikes your fancy.  The maps are clear and simple and provide a good sense of the main points of interest.  My kids enjoyed using these books, so we have decided to continue on with Geography II next year.  Once again, though, I will cut off the binding and have the workbooks spiral bound.  My kids do not like trying to hold a book flat while writing in it.  I just photocopied the workbook pages so they could lay them flat until I was able to spiral bind the book.

Be sure to read what our other reviewers had to say about this and other Memoria Press products.

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.

  lynneby Lynne –Lynne has enjoyed homeschooling her two sons for the past three years, after their brief stint in the local public school.  Her older son is a humorous fellow with high functioning autism who thrives in a home education environment.  Her younger son is a sensitive soul with a great deal of patience. The boys, Mom, and Dad, along with the two guinea pigs, live in Northeast Ohio.  Lynne holds a Master’s Degree in French Language and Literature.  She is also a Harry Potter fanatic, enjoys line dancing and Zumba, spends hours scrapbooking, and loves organic vegetables.  You can visit her soon-to-be revitalized blog at www.daysofwonderhomeschool.blogspot.com.

Memoria Press Review by Nakia: Geography I

I reviewed Geography 1 from Memoria Press. This three-book set (student text, student workbook, and teacher guide) covers The Middle East, North Africa, and Europe. The entire course covers 53 countries. I used this product with a 5th grader and an 8th grader.

Photo by Flavio Takemoto

After an introduction, the student text begins with a brief survey of each region and then focuses on individual countries. For each country, there is a one-page summary and a fully-labeled black and white map on the facing page. The summary for each country includes a historical reference section called “History’s Headlines” and some “Fast Facts” (such as capital city, population, and flag description). The facts listed are interesting, if a bit brief. I would have preferred more historical background information to provide context, as one of the goals listed on the Memoria Press website for this course is “deepening his understanding of both the past and the present.” Each summary page also includes one or two black-and-white photographs. In the back of the student text are full-color illustrations of each country’s flag.

The student workbook features a black-and-white map for the student to label along with a fill-in-the-blank worksheet for the student to complete.  Answers to the worksheet can be found in the student text. A word bank for use with the map is provided for the student. There is a review page after each region where students are asked to fill in the country and capital and label a blank map. Students are encouraged to “pay close attention to correct spelling” which is always a great reminder and much appreciated by homeschool parents!

After a brief introduction with recommendations for scheduling the course, the teacher guide includes all answers to the student workbook along with completed maps. This is definitely welcome and helpful to the parent/teacher.

This geography course is a good tool for learning and memorizing countries and capitals and their locations. I appreciate the opportunity to review this product.

Be sure to read what our other reviewers had to say about this and other Memoria Press products.

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.

nakia

Nakia–Nakia is a Southern girl, born and raised in North Carolina. She is married to her high school sweetheart and is in her 9th year of homeschooling her three wonderful daughters. She works part time as a nurse and loves photography, thrift shopping, baking, and autumn in the mountains.

Memoria Press Review by Emma: United States Geography

We are currently studying American History, and so I wanted to introduce a study of the states to our lesson time. Memoria PressThe United States curriculum has been a great supplement to our studies.

Once a week, my eight-year-old son would sit down to do a lesson in the workbook. After completing the lesson, he’d bring it to me, and I would check the answers in the Teacher’s Manual. This curriculum is basic and to-the-point, but effective.

▪Pros:  The curriculum can be done independently, which has been hugely helpful lately. It also has a bit of hands-on in the form of coloring, which my son enjoys.

▪Cons:  Other than the fact that I wish there was more color and visual appeal, there aren’t many negatives. This curriculum is strictly meant to teach about the states, capitals, etc., and it accomplishes that very well.

Conclusion:  I plan to continue using The United States and will follow it up with States and Capitals once finished.

Be sure to read what our other reviewers had to say about this and other Memoria Press products.

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.

emma

Emma–Emma has been married for seven years, and is mom of two, plus one once-crazy dog. She’s been homeschooling for three years now in NC. In addition to being a wife, mom and educator, she is also a Graphic Designer.

Memoria Press Review by Darla: Geography I

I received in my package a teacher’s manual for Geography I, a student text, a student workbook, tests and quizzes, and a review of 50 states. The goal of this program is to familiarize your young learner with countries and their capitals. It is not meant to be an in-depth study of world cultures, so if you’re looking for something to take the place of history for a year and give you some deep learning to spend several hours a week on, this is not it. It would make a good jumping-off point in my opinion, however, and more could easily be added per your student’s interest level.

This is a Christian publisher, so secular users will want to know that when covering areas of the Holy Land Biblical accounts are treated as fact. This is a given with any Christian publisher as far as I know. This led us to some discussion on what archaeologists are able to discover vs. various historical accounts and how they don’t always agree.

Onward to how the program works! Each country has a two-page spread in the text, and a correlating one-page exercise in the student workbook. The exercises are mostly map work. On a good day, geography can be done in about fifteen minutes if you cover one country at a time. The student is asked to read the text, label the map, copy the name of the country and its capital three times and add in some facts that he found interesting. Covering two or three countries a week will be a good pace for most families.

We had never really done the 50 states, so the review package sort of wasn’t review for my student. Somehow, he knows the states better than I expected and is moving along nicely on learning the capitals. He is ten years old, and we do keep maps up which have always interested him. It’s been enough.

The only improvement I would not mind seeing would be a separate pamphlet (or download) for quizzes and tests. They are included in the teacher manual which makes them a bit difficult to use.

We are looking forward to Geography II next!

Be sure to read what our other reviewers had to say about this and other Memoria Press products.

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 Darla

Memoria Press Review by Cheryl: Geography I

After having much success with Memoria Press‘ Prima Latina and Latina Christiana, I was excited to dig into Geography I! The full Geography I set includes the Student Text, Student Workbook, Teacher Guide, The United States Student Workbook and Teacher Key. The full set is only $48. With 53 countries to study and 20 review lessons on the states, this course will easily fill a year.

The United States workbooks and tests are meant to be a review of the States and Capitals curriculum. As we had recently finished our own study of the states and capitals, the sequence in the book worked very well as a review for my eight year old. Section 1 breaks the country up into regions, and students label the states in each region. We did two regions a day. Section 2 keeps the regions established in the first section and asks students to match the state to the capital. Section 3 lists the capitals and requires the student to list the state from memory. Section 4 requires the student to both identify the state and list the capital  from memory. The progression and repetition is perfect for developing long-term memory.

The Geography I products cover the areas of the Middle East, Europe and North Africa that were once part of the Ancient Roman Empire. Each section gives an introduction to the region followed by a two-page spread on each country. Historical context and more current events are listed as well as fun facts.

I used the Geography I text with both my eight year old and my six year old. We spent time studying the map in the textbook and finding the country on our globe. The reading was quick and easy. After reading and discussing the country, I found that my son was retaining the information very well. For my six year old, I was more interested in her learning the continents and regions, but she can also identify a few of the countries. We will revisit the curriculum when she is a little older.

We are following a four-year history cycle and studied ancient history two years ago. My son already had some familiarity with the regions we were studying. The quick “History’s Headlines” helped him recall what we had previously studied. His familiarity with the subjects made the study more interesting for him.

Overall we found the curriculum worked well with our style of schooling and with our other studies. I look forward to finishing Geography I next year and following it up with Geography II.

Be sure to read what our other reviewers had to say about this and other Memoria Press products.

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.

cheryl

Cheryl–Cheryl is a singing, dancing, baking, homeschooling mom of three. She has danced her whole life and taught ballet and theatre for most of her adult life. Her favorite pastime has always been cooking and baking, and as a Pampered Chef Independent Consultant she gets to share that love with others. Home educating her three children has been and continues to be one of her greatest learning experiences! It is an adventure she is ready to continue.

Map Skills, by Cheryl

 

In middle school and high school I had an amazing science teacher. She is one of a few teachers who have had a lifelong impact on my life and the way I teach my children. (The others being my high school drama teacher, a math teacher, an English teacher, and my dance teacher.) This science teacher led a summer class in which she took us to the Wichita Mountains several times during the week. We hiked, we camped, we cooked out, we learned about the plants and wildlife, and had a blast! The skills that I took away from her summer class (and the orienteering course she taught us as a part of 8th grade science) were the ability to read maps of all kinds, and the use of a compass!

I want my kids to have these skills. Instead of teaching at home, I put together a ten-week course for the 7-9 year olds at our co-op. The following is an outline of the course as I taught it. For six weeks we put together a lapbook to help the kids remember what they had learned. Click the links to see the pieces.

Week 1: Types of Maps

Supplies: Box of maps, globe, history or economics book (for informational maps), scissors, tape/glue, folders, lapbook pieces.

Plan: Look at different maps. What are they for? How are they used? When would you use them? Look at the globe, find the North and South Poles and the Equator, and point out lines of latitude and longitude. Learn to use map coordinates. Look at an atlas. Find cities on a map. Give directions from a map. Make lapbook pieces.

Lapbook Pieces: Cover and Types of Maps

Week 2: Using Keys and Legends

Supplies: Box of maps, globe, history book (for informational maps), scissors, tape/glue, folders, lapbook pieces.

Plan: What does a legend tell you? Identify points of interest from the legend. Learn how to use a map scale.

dscf7727

Week 3: Compass

Supplies: Cork, magnet, paperclips, pans for water, red sharpie, real compass(es), maps, lap books and pieces.

Plan: What is a compass? Find compass points on map. Use a compass to find north. Make a compass.

Lapbook Pieces: Compass, Pocket, and Activity Sheet

dscf7732

Week 4: Early Navigation and Explorers

Supplies: Books on Marco Polo, Magellan, Balboa, Livingston; lap books and pieces; straws, plastic cups, thumb tacks, pencils, construction paper

Plan: Study early navigation tools (land and sea), hints in nature ( sun, stars, etc.), famous explorers.

Lapbook Pieces: Constellations, Early Navigation, and Famous Explorers

dscf7731

Week 5: Latitude and Longitude

Supplies: Globe, lapbook pieces and books, protractors, straws, string, paperclips

Plan: What are latitude and longitude? Find important lines on a map and a globe. Make an astrolabe.

Lapbook Pieces: Astrolabe, Lat and Long, World Map

dscf7735

Week 6: Sundials

Supplies: stick, paper, pencils

Plan: How can a sundial help navigators? Make a sundial outside and check it at least twice.

Lapbook Pieces: Sundial, Finding North

Week 7: What is Scale?

Supplies: yard stick, ruler, measuring tape, graph paper

Plan: Measure student paces (steps). Pace off the length of the room. Calculate actual size based on steps. Use a yard stick, ruler, or measuring tape to measure and map the entire room to scale.

Activity: Map the room and all furniture in it.

Week 8: Map the Building

Supplies: measuring tape, graph paper

Plan: Break into groups and measure the interior of the building, work together to create a full map of the building.

Activity: Create a map of the building to use for treasure hunts later. (We were doing this section of the class in November. Had it been spring and warm, we would have mapped the outside of the building for the treasure hunt.)

Week 9: Following Maps

Supplies: coffee, white paper, bowls, cookie sheets, hair dryers

Plan: Talk about using the compass and landmarks to orient yourself with a map and make pirate maps.

Activity: Make a Pirate Map! Tear the edges of the paper and crumple it up to look old. Soak the paper in coffee. Carefully remove paper and lay it flat on the cookie sheet. Use the hair dryers to dry the paper more quickly. Draw a pirate map. Include all elements of a good map – legend/key, compass points, and scale. (With younger students, you can soak and dry the paper before class, then let them draw their maps.)

Week 10: Treasure Hunt

Supplies: 2 maps, 2 treasure chests, 2 sets of clues

Plan: Follow the map, collect the clues, and find the treasure!

I over planned a little bit for our group. Cutting and pasting did not go as quickly as I had planned, and the couple of things that needed to be handwritten really slowed us down. We ended up cutting out some of the explorers section to make up for time. Once I finished making the lapbook, this class was easy to teach! Most of what we did came from my memory of what I learned in middle school and my hands on experience with maps in high school at various summer camps. Here are a couple of books that would be helpful for someone not as experienced with maps and navigation:

Tools of Navigation by Rachel Dickinson- This is a great introduction for kids. I found some fun activities in it. It also prompted me to add a day of history into our study (the day on Navigators). I just wish we had had more time that day!

Be Expert with Map and Compass by  Bjorn Kjellstrom – This looks like another good resource for brushing up on some skills. I do not have this book, but it was on my short list as I was making purchases.

Orienteering Made Simple And Instructional Handbook by Nancy Kelly – I picked this up to help brush up on my orienteering skills. I did not do as much orienteering as I had originally wanted, but we did the basics. This gave me a good reminder of what all orienteering entailed.

Teaching Orienteering, Second Edition by Carol McNeill – This helped me decide what skills would be best to teach the group I had. The book breaks the skills up into age levels.

With the availability of GPS navigators in cars and on phones, kids don’t see the need to learn to read an actual map. I do believe it is still a valuable skill. I hope this plan makes it a less daunting task for some who have not had the training I was given.

 

Cheryl–Cheryl is a singing, dancing, baking, homeschooling mom of three. She has danced her whole life and taughtcheryl ballet and theatre for most of her adult life. Her favorite pastime has always been cooking and baking, and as a Pampered Chef Independent Consultant she gets to share that love with others. Home educating her three children has been and continues to be one of her greatest learning experiences! It is an adventure she is ready to continue.

Teaching World Geography to Younger Students

by Jane-Emily

When my oldest daughter was in kindergarten, I wanted to do something fun that would get her ready for world history in first grade.  I had already planned to use Susan Wise Bauer’s Story of the World series in 1st-4th grade, and I love travel and learning about other countries!  So I planned out a year of world geography for a five-year-old.  I did not use any packaged curriculum; the ones I had seen had a strong emphasis on Protestant missionary work and that was not my focus.

I bought two books:

I also put a world map and a map of the USA in the hall.  Everything else I checked out from the library.  It hardly cost a thing.

I planned for thirty weeks by choosing thirty countries or regions of the world with the atlas as a help: Scandinavia, West Africa, Japan/Korea, and so on.  I also made a little passport, just a little booklet with heavy blue paper for a cover and a bunch of plain white pages, sewn together with heavy thread.  I put a fancy gold seal on the front (it said “Home Made Candies” but who cares?). On the inside cover I put a picture of my daughter and her basic information, just like in a real passport.  I ruled lines on the pages, dividing each one in half, and labeled the sections with country names.

With my master list in hand, I visited the library each week and checked out a few books about the upcoming topic.  This is very easy to do: Just go to the non-fiction section of the children’s room, look for the early 900s, and you will see shelves of books about other countries arranged geographically.  Many of these are part of “countries of the world”-type series for older children doing country reports, and can be handy for you to look through for recipes or other information. You’ll also find books to actually read to your young child, often “kids in other lands”-type books or maybe some neat history.  Those are fun.

The other books I looked for were folk and fairy tale collections for each region of the world.  Libraries usually collect lots of folk tales, and these are found in the 398 section of the non-fiction collection.  They are not arranged geographically, so you must search in the catalog for specific topics: Just type “folk tales Caribbean” or whatever you’re looking for, and something will probably come up.  You could also find books about world religions in the 290s; there are many good books for young children with the “I am a Hindu” sort of theme.  World holiday books are good resources too (early 390s).

Each week, we wodkchildrenuld start with the atlas and the Children Just Like Me book.  We would read about one or more children, find their homeland in the atlas and talk about what it would be like to live there–not for a very long time, we are talking about 10-15 minutes here.  Later in the week, we would read a story or a folktale (or three or four).  And later again, we would cook something yummy, play dress-up or a game, or otherwise try something fun and new.  I am still cooking the spinach and egg recipe we made for Greece!  We did this three days per week, and most of that time was spent on folktales, play, or cooking.

At the end of each week, we would fill out our passport to show that we had ‘visited’ the country.  I collected stamps when I was younger and I have my collection stashed away in my closet, so we would raid it for good postage stamps and stick them in.  You could also draw something, print pictures, or just find a cool rubber stamp to use.

This plan worked very well for my older daughter’s kindergarten year.  We had a lot of fun and she got plenty of ideas for imaginative play.  In particular, one girl who lived in the Amazon jungle attracted her, and for months she would play that she lived in the Amazon.  Even now, she remembers many of the activities we did.

When my younger daughter’s turn came, I actually did this plan for first grade while her older sister did modern history in our four-year cycle, so that they could start ancient history together the next year.  She insisted on a purple passport, and again we had a very good year learning about the world.

Jajane-emilyne-Emily homeschools two daughters in California.  She is a librarian who loves to quilt and embroider, and she’s a Bollywood addict.  Her favorite author is Diana Wynne Jones. She blogs about reading at Howling Frog Books.