This spring my sister in law emailed me about a curriculum I hadn't heard of before. It is called A Child's Geography. The first volume is written by Ann Voskamp. The second volume is by Ann Voskamp and Tonia Peckover.
I have been reading these two books this week. I finished the first one yesterday, so I'm going to begin by reviewing Volume 1.
This book is titled A Child's Geography. The title is a bit misleading. One typically thinks of continents, locations, topography, and maps when you think of geography--or at least I do. This is not what volume 1 is about. Instead, Volume 1 is essentially a study of earth science. Some of the topics covered are the lower and upper atmospheres, the continents and oceans, the structure of the earth, latitude and longitude, and earthquakes and volcanoes. Typically, all of these fall under the study of earth science.
What makes this curriculum different are two particular aspects of how Ms. Voskamp writes about this subject.
1) She endeavors to inspire a wonder of God's creation in students. Frequently, scripture is cited and God is given frequent credit for his creation.
2) She is not disparaging of others who do not recognize that this world we live in is God's creation. I think it is wise to speak the truth in love, but we do not need to be disparaging.
The book is made up of 11 lessons. These lessons could be done once or twice a week. They are similar to unit studies, but I wouldn't divide them up over more than 2 days. In each lesson, there is a portion to read with your children. Then, there are a few short comprehension questions. After the lesson, students are asked to write a post card to someone about what they learned. There are templates for post cards on the CD-ROM enclosed with the book. You could mail the post cards or collect them in a notebook. Then, there is a section titled Reaching Out to His World which is intended to prompt students to think about the needs of other people. A list of possible books you can read for further resources follows. For each lesson, a field trip idea or other exploration and learning craft are also included.
As I read through this book, I was very impressed. I look forward to using this curriculum with my children. It lends itself to working well with multiple elementary age children. I think this curriculum would best be suited to grades 1-6. I loved how she spoke about the Lord and creation. I have been looking for a book like this that would help me explain that God has created everything and how marvelous that is! The sections on reaching out to the world will open up great opportunities to help my children become more aware of the struggles and suffering of others. I read through each craft and thought they were all feasible, made with inexpensive ingredients, not too labor intensive, and would be genuinely fun.
The only suggestion I have is in regard to supplemental resources I'd recommend. Definitely, you'll want to have a globe. There may also be concepts in this book that are difficult for students to understand the first time around. Beakman's World is an old show that you can watch instantly on Netflix. Several of the episodes are on concepts in this book. Veritas Press publishes a book and workbook (sold separately) titled Legends and Leagues. This book and some of the workbook could be tacked onto the end of this curriculum. It is helpful that each lesson has suggested reading resources. You may find that these resources help make up for the lack of pictures in this book. The pictures in A Child's Geography are small and there aren't as many as I have typically found in science books at the library.
I love the content of this book. It is well written. I do wish there were more pictures, but that can be supplemented. My plan is to use this in our fourth grade curriculum. I will follow it up with an Evan-Moor geography book and then do a study of the state we live in.
You can see a preview of the book here on this website: http://www.achildsgeography.com/
Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from Bramley Books.