We have been learning quite a bit about the Middle East this spring, thanks to Memoria Press and their Geography I bundle.
Memoria Press assumes that you just finished the Modern American States and Capitals, so it bundles a Workbook, Teacher Key, Quizzes and Tests for the States and Capitals. We are going to save this for later next year to practice with some of our States games.
We focused on the Geography I Text and Workbook and started in the Middle East. This worked well with our timeline this year since we have been studying the Ancients. We are moving into the Renaissance through the Age of Discovery (1910ish) so I am looking forward to continuing this through the summer to go through North Africa and Europe which is the territory that comprised the Ancient Roman Empire.
We started, or rather I started, by looking over the Geography I booklets. They are fairly thin, Black and White, and simple. I started reading the Teacher Guide and honestly, didn’t feel very inspired. Read some text, look over a map, fill out a worksheet. Blah. (Just being honest.)
We have approached geography through crafts, flags, lapbooks, games, puzzles, art and history lessons, throwing the globe around – and now I’m sitting at the table staring at a worksheet. How am I going to pass this off on my 6th grade son – in the Late Spring session of learning during Majors Youth Baseball and the beginning of a new Surf Team Year? I must confess, I was a little doubtful.
The first lesson, all three of us sat down I with the teacher’s guide, Jon with his Text and Workbook, and Nate (9th grade) with his paper and pencil. I thought we’d read through it, then work on the worksheet together. This part of the 5th grade package for Memoria Press, the text, once we got into it, was fairly simple to read, though filled with fun details. The lesson went quickly, 10-15 minutes, and we were done.
Nate is working, and finishing a pretty intense school year with Algebra 1 left to finish, and the the Workbook is meant to be consumed, non reproducible, and for one student to use, so we let him skip out of this part of our day rather than order a second workbook.
Jon (6th grade) took off with it. He really liked the map work. He liked that the lessons were simple and clear and quick.
He liked that the text went back and forth from Ancient to Current. He enjoyed learning what biblical characters were doing in these countries in years long ago. I heard him puzzle over how the countries were divided and changed throughout the years since. He delighted in the detail of the map making. I can’t tell you, based on our past above, how shocked I was that after one lesson, he was hooked.
The worksheet asks them to find the Ancient and Current name of the country, Capital, and look for a few fun facts. I, personally, found a fun fact that was new to me every day. I think Pakistan was my favorite – I had NO knowledge of the history of this crazy country. My only vision of Pakistan is war, and the images from a movie where someone gets stuck when hiking and they have to carry explosives up the mountain to blast a whole through the snow, and they have to stop to pray so often it drives people bonkers? Anyone remember that? Anyways. . . . I learned a bit more about Pakistan.
Jon starts his Geography when he wakes up, and then proudly passes me his work. He’s now been trying to label the map in some artsy detailed lettering. It’s getting pretty fancy. He hasn’t honestly written the fun fact part down each day – sometimes our mornings are short. I take time to read the passage myself, and I’ll ask him what was his favorite parts, orally/verbal/narration.
The only part we didn’t understand, is that it looks like it wants you to write down the country name and capital 3 times in one section. If Jon misspelled the words in the top of the form, we’d have him practice in this section. I’m thinking it would be more of a spelling memory of how to handle these crazy names.
And so – More Homeschool Parenting Advice than you’re probably asking for –
Don’t judge what your child can or wants to do for them. Living a relaxed Charlotte Mason Lapbooking/Notebooking – can and should move into more excellence and diligence as they get older. Their work should challenge and inspire them. Yes, I do believe that the years of geography made this easier than I thought it would be, and the year of learning about these countries gave him points to refer to in our History studies. He really enjoys the challenge of these workbooks.
That said – I wouldn’t recommend them used alone, for a 5th grader, outside of any historical or fun reference, to fill them out for the sake of learning geography. This is part of a 5th grade total Classical Education style set – please keep that in mind. Wonderful living books are included that will create a visual picture of what people are doing in these places. “A narration should have the child’s unique stamp on it as evidence that the material has been assimilated and gone through some processing in his mind. Narrations that are nothing more than rote memorizations are of no value to the child.” Ambleside Online – I would recommend this geography course as a wonderful addition to your literature and history studies as intended by Memoria Press.
We will use this product to meet one of our current goals for the summer: To have Jon be successful at independent study. To be able to have the discipline to start his studies, read the directions and complete the requirements on his own, with little help from mom. So far – this has been a perfect resource to meet that goal.
I am excited to see how quickly the map work has become as he no longer needs to ponder so often of what/where the points of interest should go – rivers, seas, countries, towns, etc. Each day of learning – builds on what he learned yesterday – and the familiar – quickly goes down on paper!
Oh – And we have not quite used the Teacher’s Guide as much as I thought we would. We have used to read side by side. I have used it to reference and see if we were on track in the beginning. It is basically the Workbook filed out – although the Fun Facts will be up to the student. Since the Workbook is intended to be consumable, I would recommend the Teacher book and an extra workbook for any other student in your family.
Geography I, for grades 4-8, Bundle $48.00
or Individually Sold For:
- Geography I: Middle East, North Africa, and Europe – $14.95
- Geography I: Middle East, North Africa, and Europe Student Workbook – 11.95
- Geography I: Middle East, North Africa, and Europe Teacher Guide – $12.95
- United States Student Workbook – $5.00
- United States Teacher Key, Quizzes, and Tests – $7.95
Samples of the Text, Workbook and Table of Contents, their Geography I bundle Page.
I loved your review. I especially love how you showed how this curriculum fits into the BIGGER picture. Thank you!