A Child's Geography: Explore His Earth has a touch of the poetic style that characterized Ann Voskamp's well-known One Thousand Gifts, but it's actually inspired by and written in the style of Virgil Hillyer's Child's Geography. Hillyer is famous for his conversational tone and engaging way of presenting facts. Voskamp wanted an up-to-date version of Hillyer's geography while still preserving his style and approach, and being explicitly God-centric. Explore His Earth covers basic physical geography, from atmospheres and oceans, climate and continents, and latitude and longitude.
How Does This Work?
This is not a textbook so much as a history book for parents and children to read together. Voskamp suggests gathering the children on a comfy couch and reading the text out loud. Throughout each chapter children are asked to verbally narrate the information learned back to the teacher in a "tell the folks at home" section. At the end of the chapter children write a postcard telling about their "adventures." This is followed by a "reaching out" section in which the lesson is tied into some practical need faced by people around the world, and some positive action steps that children can take and areas for which they can pray.
Optional sections at the end of each chapter are a bibliography for further reading and one or two activities (titled "too fun to resist excursions.") The CD-Rom contains some other optional resources such as copywork, quizzes, maps, and templates for postcards.
It's recommended that the eleven chapters be read in two sittings, on two separate days a week, one day a week, or whatever works best around individual school schedules. The text, narration, and postcard writing is to be done on one day, and the "reaching out" section and activities on another. But this book can really be as flexible as you'd like to make it.
Though suggested for grades 1-6, the book's writing style and activities skew a bit young. They would probably be a lot of fun done in a mixed age group, such as a large family. But older children may need something more challenging if they're going to be doing geography alone.
Our Honest Opinion:
This a fun, friendly, engaging introduction to physical geography that's geared toward the parent wanting to teach multiple grades at once. It's more laid-back than a lot of other geography curriculum you'll find, and for this age range that's not a bad thing. It still manages to cover some solid science, concepts, and terms, and we think it'd be a great jumping-off point for more in-depth study later on.
Review by Lauren Shearer
Lauren Shearer writes words for fun and profit. She also makes films, but everyone knows you can't make a profit doing that. Her other hobby is consistently volunteering way too much of her time. You can read more of her reviews here.
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