You Could End Up in Timbuktu!
The obvious answer to why we study geography? We might end up in Timbuktu! Part of the Living History of Our World series, this course provides a creation-based, investigative approach to world geography that explores both geographical regions and specific countries; encouraging a worldview perspective.
Geared, perhaps, to middle school, the course is adaptable for slightly younger as well as for older students. In fact, there are separate assignments for younger (3rd - 6th grade) and older (7th - 12th grade) students at many points in the study. The course book is a roadmap, providing 36 weeks (5 days per week) and 8 units. Units cover an earth overview plus units focused on each of the continents (Australia/New Zealand/Oceania, Asia, Europe, Africa, South America, North America, and Antarctica) and a final week of review plus "show and tell" presentations (optional).
The first unit starts with creation and spends three weeks exploring the physical make-up of the earth. The author suggests this part of the study could be augmented by science courses from Master Books. [General Science 1 (Earth & Sky); General 2 (Survey of Geology & Archeology). Younger students could augment with the Big Book of Earth & Sky from Master Books.] Part of this introductory three-week study is instructions for setting up a world geography notebook. This notebook is the major focus of the student's year. As the course takes the student through continent and country studies, the notebook develops into a major presentation piece. Mapwork, reports of all types, and weekly projects all find their way into the notebook.
The continent units vary from 1 week (Antarctica) to 6 weeks (North America - which includes a week on the different state regions of the US). There is a pattern to each study: physical and political mapwork, specific country studies, then a look at animals and plants. There is likewise a pattern to the country studies: mapwork plus completion of a project (slideshow/travel brochure/great country report) based on the student's research from a list of topics. Ethnic food and art projects are saved for the last day of each week's study. Only a sampling of each continent's countries is covered by the country studies. For instance, in the Europe unit, Week 1 is spent on mapping the physical and political maps of Europe and then an overview of the physical landscape. The focus of Week 2 is Scandaninavia with a day each on Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Greenland/Iceland. Week 3 covers the UK and Ireland. Week 4 covers Italy. Week 5 is plants and animals.
Packed with graphics and illustrations, the Course Book is a template/example for the notebook/binder the student will create. In addition to the maps there are suggestions for projects, lots of photos from studied countries, and blank space for writing. There are two versions of the Course Book - one in full-color and one that is black and white. The Course Book is consumable and the author considers one per student a requirement.
The Appendix is extensive; in fact, the author suggests you consider it a suitcase full of resources and ideas for your journey around the world.
Included in the Appendix:
Teacher Notes for each Unit
Supplemental resources for each Unit (literature and DVD suggestions)
Extra Hands-on Projects per Unit
Websites, Resources, and Videos
Project and Game Instructions
Reproducible Research Forms (also available as a downloadable file from the author)
A careful perusal of the Table of Contents (available on our website) will show there are some geographical areas and countries that seem to be missing. For instance, the middle part of Europe (Spain, Portugal, France, Germany) as well as Eastern Europe is covered only in the general mapwork and continent studies. The reproducible forms are general enough that the country studies could easily be extended to any countries you wanted to add. Additionally, there are four units available for families with older students (free download): Southeast Asia/Polynesia, Middle East, Caribbean, and Alaska/Hawaii.
If you're looking for a world geography study that is a blend of instructional material (minimal) and research that could be done as a family with an option for extra challenge for older students, then You Could End Up in Timbuktu! may provide just the right amount of structure. 282 pgs, pb.
Required Resources and Supplies:
038459 Children's Atlas of God's World (3rd - 6th grades)
034120 National Geographic Student World Atlas (7th - 12th grades)
038930 Eat Your Way Around the World
010601 Geography Through Art
You will also want to have high quality tracing paper, white cardstock, high quality colored pencils, thin-line markers, three-ring binders (1/2" for 3rd - 6th grades; 1" for 7th - 12th grades), kneadable eraser and file folders (20 at least).