Geography Curriculum Review

I know I said that I would be reviewing a few free homeschool web sites, and I will be; those posts are coming up next. BUT, since I have been preparing and planning for the new school year here in The Living Room Schoolhouse, I wanted to share with you what my kids will be using for geography: Geography Around the World by Bonnie Rose Hudson.

I lucked into this ebook several months ago through a freebie offering! Since we were in the midst of school, and I wasn’t going to be using the book immediately, I tucked it away neatly in my homeschool files until yesterday. Upon first glance, it seemed pretty good; but once I started digging through, I realized just how much information was included. This ebook is packed full, and I knew I wanted to share it with you. Here are some pros and cons of Geography Around the World:

PROS
– It is an ebook. I adore physical books — holding them, smelling them, turning the pages. But I also have a hard time getting rid of them and, no matter how much I love real books, they take up space. Having an ebook frees up my bookshelves. Using multiple devices also enables more than one child to use the same book at the same time.

– It is an introductory course. This ebook covers a little bit of everything, from using maps to memorizing capitals to identifying natural resources. It is not really in-depth on any one topic; instead, it offers an important foundation for later studies of geography.

-The author set up units that coordinate with grade level. As noted in the ebook’s introduction, unit one is suitable for first grade, unit two for second grade, unit three for third, and on and on up through unit eight for eighth grade. The activities get (appropriately) longer and increasingly difficult with each unit.

-The answer keys are included. No extra purchase for solutions is necessary. Each unit’s answers are posted at the end of the unit. **Just be careful to avoid giving those pages to your student when printing activity sheets!

– The book is inexpensive. My copy was free, because I happened to find a short-term freebie offer. See, following homeschool blogs pays off! But, at $19.99, this ebook is an amazing deal for all of the information that’s included.

CONS
-It is not a full year course. If you use each unit in its grade level, it would only take a short time to complete the activities. That would be sufficient if you plan to use another social studies curriculum, but if you need a full course in geography, it will not last.

-There is no teaching guide. Even if you only do one unit for each grade level, which is pretty easy to understand, there is no suggestion about how to break down the activities for daily learning. So I made one…you can find my freebie below.

How I Plan to Use the Book
Overall, this ebook was an amazing find. Despite its cons, it has a lot to offer. My son did a U.S. geography/history curriculum in fourth grade, but needs to cover world geography this year for seventh grade. So, I went through the textbook and broke down the readings and activities. Since it has been a while, I figured we would start with unit one and work through to the end. The beginning information will be review, but that’s a good thing. It worked out to 90 lessons, which is half a school year, or one semester. However, I plan to allot two days for each lesson, so that if we run over (which is very likely in the later units), there will be more time available. Doing it this way will make the curriculum last all year long. My daughter, who will be in fourth grade, is also going to use this book, but I don’t know if she’ll complete it. I may have her work until the end of unit four, and then continue with each grade level after that. A great benefit of not having a guide is that you are free to use the curriculum however you see fit. But, for those who like having a suggested schedule, here is mine. (You’ll notice that mine is called “All About the World.” It is the exact same book with the same content, but my freebie version had that different title.)

I hope you will give Ms. Hudson’s book a try, and don’t forget to check out her site, writebonnierose.com, to see what else she has available.

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