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 The summary for each country includes a historical reference section called “History’s Headlines” and some “Fast Facts” (such as capital city, population, and flag description).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.

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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.

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I Don't Do Dissections…But My Kids Do! by Nakia

Dissection Day

 

I am a nurse.

And I don’t dissect.

I made it through advanced biology classes in high school and nursing school without participating in dissections. I will admit that I am squeamish about it and don’t plan to let homeschooling change that.

My girls, on the other hand, were so excited to dissect last year! My oldest daughter spent a year studying Life Science with my younger two tagging along for the hands-on parts. We ordered a dissection kit that included an earthworm, a starfish, a grasshopper, a clam, a fish, and a frog along with a tray and the tools needed for dissection. The kit also included detailed instructions for dissecting each specimen.

Since I didn’t plan to actually dissect with them, I found YouTube videos that the girls could watch prior to dissecting each specimen. We also watched some virtual dissections online. Our next step was to talk about dissecting tool safety. When we first started, only Anna was allowed to do any cutting, but by the time we got to the frog, Emma and Cora were comfortable and skillful with all of the tools. It was also very important to me that the girls showed respect for the animals that they were dissecting, and they really did a great job with that.

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Anna’s science book included a list of things to look for in each specimen. Armed with that list and the dissection instructions, they were able to start small (with the cricket) and work all the way up to the frog. Most of the dissecting was done right at our kitchen table. They actually ended up dissecting the starfish on the back porch. That shows you can dissect anywhere! For the frog, we got together with two other homeschool families. We had all ages that day – from my seven-year-old up to a 17-year-old, along with the moms. I stayed back and took pictures.

I’m pretty sure they will always remember dissecting at home! And I think they’re ready for more as we plan to study biology in the fall.

Naknakiaia–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.

Life With a Preteen Daughter, by Nakia

 

My oldest daughter was a joy from the time she was born. She was always strong-willed, yet rational and easy to parent.

Until she turned 11 and suddenly wasn’t.

Almost overnight she turned from the child I just described into a sobbing, raging, hormonal preteen. Some days I didn’t recognize her; days I could not believe the child who yelling and throwing things was my sweet first-born. That strong will had turned from a blessing to something I dreaded to greet every morning. There were days I threatened to send her to school. There were days I threatened to run away from home.

Over the course of 18 months, we struggled and we cried, but we survived. And in the midst of it all, we thrived and learned so much about each other.

I’ve found over the last couple of years that many moms struggle more with the preteen years – or as a dear friend calls it, the “ten-age” years- than they ever do with teens. If you have a preteen, perhaps you are struggling with some questions of your own. “Who is this child and where did my sweet baby go?”  “Can I do this?” “Will we survive this?”

I suggest asking yourself these things:

  • What are your goals?

  • What are your expectations?

  • Are you expecting enough? Too much?

  • Is your child getting enough sleep, exercise, and healthy food?

  • Are you building up or tearing down?

One of the most important things, I think, is to find people who have been where you are. I strongly suggest finding other parents who share similar beliefs and have made it through the same struggles. There will be times when you simply cannot handle what is going on with your child and your family, and having someone to turn to who has been through the fire will be invaluable. You must recognize when to seek professional counseling. Enlist the help of your church, your child’s pediatrician, or a local counseling center. This is not a failure. This is helping your family be the best it can be.

Realize that the problems you are facing are not a product of homeschooling. They are a product, most often, of hormones. On the other hand, do not expect homeschooling to cure bad attitudes in your children—or you. Being a parent is hard. Adding homeschooling to that will not automatically make everything easier. Home education will present its own unique set of challenges. It is hard to separate your parenting role from your role as teacher. Be sure to set aside time each day to focus on your tween as your child and not as your student. Take school out of the equation as much as possible so that you can face the root cause.

Do not fight with your child. I’m a fighter by nature and grew up in a “yelling” household. I never wanted that for my family. Unfortunately, we ended up there. Some of the best advice I ever received was “Do not engage!” When she realized I would no longer engage in warfare, my daughter de-escalated much faster.

Let your child talk. What they are going through right now is a BIG deal to them. It might seem silly to you. You might be able, as a 40 year old mother, to look back on your preteen/teen years and see that your attitudes and actions “back then” were silly, but your child is living it now. Let them live it. Talk them through it. It’s okay to tell them “This too shall pass,” but do let them know you are listening and that their feelings are important.

Have clear boundaries/rules. Good parents know that children thrive with healthy boundaries, and preteens are no different. They will sometimes hate every limit you give them. It’s okay stick to them. It’s also okay to sit down with the child and look at those boundaries (rules) and sometimes recognize that one is too tight or rigid. The beauty of homeschooling is that you can discuss and adjust and watch what happens when you do.

Know when to apologize. That might be the hardest part of this whole parenting gig. I’ve yet to meet anyone who liked to admit being wrong, especially to someone under their authority. But we must show our children that we are human. Let them see you recognize your errors and apologize when necessary. A heartfelt apology will earn respect, and it teaches your child how to do the same.

Let your child make some decisions about school. I found that when I gave some of the control to my daughter, things went so much better. For instance, I printed off blank lesson planning sheets and let her fill them in. She knew what she needed to do each week, but with a little help from me, she was able to schedule it in daily plans. I let her pick whether she would start her day with math or science. This gave her a sense of responsibility and made her feel like I wasn’t treating her “like a child” anymore.  Another example might be letting your child pick a topic of study. My daughter loves horses, so I let her do a unit study from Beautiful Feet on the history of the horse. She loved it, and it gave her a sense of ownership since she had picked herself. Developing autonomy was not an overnight process, and we are still working on it.

As a Christian, I believe my greatest help is my faith. I never before spent so much time in prayer as I have as a mother. The thing I prayed over and over as we worked our way through my daughter’s preteen years (and still now that she’s a teen) was, “God, I know her personality is not a mistake. She will do great things in Your name.” I believe that with all of my heart. I encourage you to lean on the Lord and pray blessings over your child! Speak encouragement to them and about them!

Now my second daughter is a “ten-ager,” and I have one more right behind her. I’ll be printing off this post and hanging it on my fridge to remind myself that we made it through once and we can do it again.

Nakia–Nnakiaakia 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.