I purchased A Child’s Geography by Ann Voskamp last summer with the intent of using it during the school year. I knew we were going to be covering geography with our local co-op and thought this would fit right in. As often happens, plans change and I just didn’t have time to do both. Now that our local co-op has ended for the year, I recently pulled Ann’s book from our shelf and started reading it with all my children (ages 2-12).
How can one book fit such a large age-span?
Ann Voskamp has a special way with words. A Child’s Geography is written as a story. This is not a textbook filled with dry facts. Instead it begs to be read aloud. As children listen, they are encouraged to use their imagination as they view the world God made. This book is written in a Charlotte Mason-style with narration prompts plus notebooking activities included. In addition there are fun hands-on activities and a special “Reaching Out to His World” portion that shares practical ideas to be the hands of Christ to a hurting world.
First I read aloud the chapter to all the kids (or my 12yr. old reads if I have to take care of a fussy baby). Then the older kids (12yr. 11yr. and 9yr. old) are in charge of doing the project. Even the 2yr. old and 4yr. old join in when they can. One of the first crafts in the book had the kids making paper mache globes. Ours took 3 days to dry.
When we finally got around to painting them, only 2 out of 5 globes survived. The others were MIA or used as balls around the house. Do these kind of things only happen in my family? LOL! My 12yr. old did the globe in the picture. It turned out great.
Another activity they did was to create a visual example of the layers of the atmosphere. We had to improvise as we did not have the exact materials that were needed (aka Mom did not plan ahead).
Once again, my older kids were able to do this activity without my help. That is one of the nice things about the projects in this book—they are very doable.
I think our jar was a little too wide, but it still worked and got the point across.
Our visual example of the layers of the earth!
A Child’s Geography has been a refreshing change in our school routine. I planned it for earlier in the year, but God knew we’d need it now. If you are looking for a living- book style geography curriculum written from a Christian perspective, then add this book to your “must check-out” list.
Linking up to:
I just happened to get on to Network Blogs and there was this post. As a homeschooler I had to check it out. This sounds like a wonderful geography program, what age/grade would you say it is geared towards?
Rachel E. says
Thanks for your review. It sounds like one worth trying.
I would say that the target age is 1st grade through 5th/6th. The nice thing is that since it is written to the reader, younger children can listen in and still glean a few things. My 12 yr. old doesn't mind listening at all either.
Thank you for your response, I had a feeling it was geared out of my boys ages range. It would be nice if someone could come up with programs similar for Jr High and High Schoolers. It seems you get to this age and everything is boring, well to them anyway. Have a blessed day.
The girl who painted trees says
Thanks for your review. I wonder if it would be too above Bear's head for PK4/K? It sounds wonderful though. Guess, I could always get it and if it isn't right for right now, just wait a bit:)
Erin @ Closing Time says
I'm so glad you wrote this post! I have been wondering if this would be "over the head" of my little one. My girls will be 7.5 and 5.5 when we start school in August. It sounds like this might work well for us! (Or do you think it would be better to wait a year?)
The book does have a lot of the technical vocabulary (ie. all those layers of the atmosphere). I would say that 1st grade would be a good starting point–with 3rd on up being really able to grasp all the info. It's a great book to use for multiple ages though. My younger ones sit in and listen w/ us (they are 4 and 2). They get a few things here and there, but it is introducing them to geography. We'll cycle around later when they are older.
What a great post. Thanks for sharing about Ann's book. It's been on my wish list and I didn't know it reads as a story. Very cool!!
I felt like you were in my house. Sigh. We do school the same! Thanks for linkin gup!
Really it is more a conversation than a "story".
The activities look like lots of fun! And no, you're not the only one whose activities always turn out like that. Hi, my name is Cindy, and I am a really bad homeschool mom. I can't do anything right. ;0)
I'm tempted to try the book, but honestly, Ann Voskamp's overwrought style nearly ruined my Advent devotions last year. I just can't get past the purple prose.
Stef Layton says
thanks for sharing – I always wondered about her curriculum !!
Love the hands on projects! Those little globes are so cute! Took me a minute to realize the white patches were clouds ~ very nice effect. Great improvising too. =)