Geography

Ideas

Geography is a subject that "leaks into" almost every other subject. Every family should have a world map and/or a globe and refer to it frequently. Every time you read a story, learn about a new Saint, etc., have your children find where these people lived or these events took place. Similar to memorizing history dates, being familiar with where things happened helps to understand any given lesson much more fully.

Catholic Geography Bee

Book cover: 'Catholic Geography Bee'
Author(s): 
Kerry and Nancy MacArthur
Copyright: 
2001
Publisher: 
Catholic Heritage Curricula
Binding: 
Softcover
Subject(s): 
Setting: 
Review: 

This new two-book set on United States Geography provides everything you need for a homeschool Geography Bee or an interesting U.S. Geography supplement for a wide age range.

The Participant/Student Book (softcover - stapled), is a study book for learning facts and figures in preparation for a Geography Bee. Three summary charts provide a quick reference on Name Derivations, Famous Natives, Mottos , Landmarks, Catholic Facts, Historical Facts, Industry, Admission Dates, Capitals, Flowers, Birds, Nicknames and Trees for each state. The bulk of the text consists of Study Sheets on: Capitals, State Flowers, State Birds, Nicknames, State Trees, Famous Natives, Landmarks, Catholic Facts, Historical Facts, Name Derivations, Mottos and Industry. In addition to a simple chart for each category, the Study Sheets provide a "To Learn More" segment which provides detailed information about each item. For example, the State Flower section includes a description of each type of flower and the Famous Natives section provides a brief biography of a famous native from each state as well as an extensive list of other famous natives. Of special interest is the "State Catholic Fact" section which provides Catholic connections for each State and which should provide a starting point for studying more about Catholic influences in the United States. The last half of the book offers various worksheets and other masters to photocopy - State Profile (can be used to record or test information for each state), State Flowers to color and learn, State Birds to color and learn, simple outline maps of each state, and a full outline map of the whole United States. Also are included are a partial listing of Catholic-named Cities of the U.S., a Bibliography, Sources for Further Study and Internet Sites for Further Study.

The Coordinator/Parent Book offers master category cards and a certificate of honor to copy and color for an official-looking Geography Bee, a spreadsheet of basic facts, and extensive sets of questions on three different difficulty levels for each category of study in the Participant Book (State Capital, State Flower, State Bird, State Nickname, State Tree, State Landmark, Famous Natives, and State Catholic Fact). The third difficulty level also offers questions regarding State Historical Facts. Because questions for each category are listed separately (rather than being intermixed), families could choose to focus on just a few category or difficulty levels at a time if they wish. Each question in this book provides the answer directly after the question in boldface type for ease of use.

I'm very, very impressed with the scope and quality of this Geography program. In the past, Catholic Homeschoolers have had limited resources available for State History and Geography (particularly from a Catholic perspective). These materials provide a welcome solution to this need as well as a wonderful project to be undertaken by a Catholic homeschool group or just a few families getting together. Highly recommended.

Perspective: 
Catholic
Additional notes: 

Two book set - Coordinator/Parent Book - 103 pages
Participant/Student Book - 105 pages

Review Date: 
11-30-01
Reviewed by: 

Close to the Wind

The Beaufort Scale
Author(s): 
Peter Malone
ISBN: 
399 243 992
Copyright: 
2007
Publisher: 
Putnam Juvenile
Binding: 
Sewn Hardcover
Number of pages: 
32 pages
Grade / Age level: 
Resource Type: 
Review: 

Sometimes your casual pick-up-what-looks-good from the library hits jackpot--last week it was one of those instances for us. Close to the Wind by Peter Malone gets very close to being the picture book par excellence. In every aspect, this gem brings the very best of the world of picture books: beautiful, detail-rich illustrations, a captivating story, plenty of educational content, and great use of visual diagrams, side notes and explanatory illustrations.

Good picture books, I am always exclaiming, are so helpful in the homeschool. What did we know about the Beaufort Scale before this find? Next to nil. Now, not only we learned about the useful scale that measures wind based on detailed observations, we also learned information on ship-building, sails, the life of sailors, curious entries in sailor's glossary, how many trees are cut down to build a ship, and the sad destiny of many ships after their many years of service.

Review Date: 
2-21-2008
Reviewed by: 

Counting Your Way Through ...

Book cover: 'Counting Your Way Through Germany'
Subject(s): 
Grade / Age level: 
Review: 
  • Count Your Way Through Japan
  • Count Your Way Through Mexico, etc.

When I was little I had a fascinationg with learning how to count to ten in various languages (over the course of time I learned to count to ten in about six different languages). It's a small task, manageable by a young child, that provides great satisfaction, and serves as an introduction to other languages and cultures. As a mother, I was naturally drawn to these interesting and unusual set of books that teach you how to count to ten in each language while illustrating and explaining different aspects of that country's culture and traditions.

Review Date: 
4-26-01
Reviewed by: 

Everybody Cooks Rice

Book cover: 'Everybody Cooks Rice'
Author(s): 
Norah Dooley
Copyright: 
1991
Publisher: 
Scholastic Books
Binding: 
Stapled Softcover
Number of pages: 
32 pages
Subject(s): 
Grade / Age level: 
Review: 

A small illustrated children's book about two children who visit a number of their neighbors of different ethnic backgrounds and discover that each of their cultures uses rice in their cooking. Includes recipes in the back. A good way to introduce children to our country's ethnic diversity without getting "politically correct." (Warning: We get hungry every time we read this book.)

Review Date: 
1999
Reviewed by: 

Geography Songs

Subject(s): 
Grade / Age level: 
Resource Type: 
Review: 

We love Geography Songs! My girls have been able to memorize quite a bit by these songs and they can easily apply these to maps at a very young age. They love to sing so they are very interested in doing geography.

Reviewed by: 

Heritage Memo Game

Book cover: 'Heritage Memo Game'
Copyright: 
1992
Publisher: 
Piatnik
Number of pages: 
72 pages
Subject(s): 
Grade / Age level: 
Review: 

A memory game showing 36 pictures of outstanding sites worldwide.

While looking for something fun to add to this year's curriculum purchases, I discovered this memory game in the Montessori Services catalog. I can't tell you how much fun we've had with it. The whole family down to the 2 1/2 year old have enjoyed rowsing games of memory while learning about important historical, cultural and religious sites from around the world.

The cards are approximately 2 inches square with full color pictures of famous sites. There are a high percentage of Catholic sites:

Cathedral of Aachen, Germany
Palace of the Pope, Avignon France
Chartres Cathedral, France
Cathedral of Cordoba, Spain
Cathedral and Monastery "Victorious Holy Maria" in Portugal
Cathedral of Cefalu in Sicily
Church of Sagrada Familia, Spain
Reims Cathedral, France
Santiago de Compostela Cathedral, Spain

Other sites are:

Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem
Stonehenge, Great Britain
St. Basil's Cathedral, Moscow
Cathedral of Canterbury, Great Britain
Nemrut dagi, Turkey
Easter Island, South America
Temple of Katmandu, Nepal
Schwe-Dagon-Pagode, Birma
Stupa of Borobudur, Indonesia
Todaidshi-Temple, Japan
Amun-Temple, Karnak Egypt
Uxmal, Mexico
Madrese Schir-Dar, Russia
Tula, Mexico
Taj Mahal, India
Temple of Abu Simbel, Egypt
Hagia-Sofia, Turkey
Maccu Picchu, Peru
Acropolis, Athens
Sphinx and Great Pyramid
Wailing Wall, Jerusalem
Menhirs of Carnac, France
Temple of Hera, Italy
Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy
Athos-Monasteries, Greece
Malawiya Minaret, Iraq
Schah-Mosque, Iran

Included with the game is a fold-out sheet with black and white images of each of the sites along with a brief description and location.

Additional notes: 

72 cards, Made in Austria

Review Date: 
9-20-02
Reviewed by: 

How We Learned the Earth is Round

Book cover: 'How We Learned the Earth is Round'
Author(s): 
Patricia Lauber
Copyright: 
1990
Publisher: 
Harper Collins
Binding: 
Softcover
Number of pages: 
32 pages
Grade / Age level: 
Review: 

A history and science picture book that covers the development of man's understanding of the shape of the earth focusing on the discoveries of the Greeks and on the voyages of Christopher Columbus and Magellan.
Currently out-of-print

Review Date: 
4-5-01
Reviewed by: 

La Boda: A Mexican Wedding Celebration

Author(s): 
Nancy Van Laan
Illustrator(s): 
Andrea Arroyo
Copyright: 
1995
Publisher: 
Little, Brown and Co.
Number of pages: 
32 pages
Grade / Age level: 
Resource Type: 
Review: 

I love picture books, especially ones with warm, colorful, sweet illustrations. I love rhythmic, poetic language, made simple and accessible to children, and I love truly multicultural books!

This book brings all of these elements together, added to the universal theme of the sacrament of Matrimony. I couldn't help but love it at first sight--or at first reading.

How could one not love the bilingual first person dialogue lines, as little Maria attends all of the many celebrations revolving around the wedding of her Alfonso and Luisa? The large families gathered, the music, dances, parades, fireworks, gifts--one, of course, a painting of Our Lady of Guadalupe--they all tell the story that culminate in the vows exchanged at church para siempre--for ever.

Alas, as in the case of many good books, this colorful, very Catholic book no longer in print, but try getting it from a used books source or your library!

Perspective: 
Catholic
Review Date: 
1-2-2008
Reviewed by: 

Map Puzzles

Book cover: 'Map Puzzles'
Subject(s): 
Grade / Age level: 
Resource Type: 
Review: 

We found an old wooden U.S. map puzzle at a garage sale but they're also readily available at Teacher Supply stores and even warehouse stores. I prefer ones that have each state as one puzzle piece, but usually they'll at least group Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut together. When my son was 2 1/2 he really enjoyed playing with it, so we left it out on the coffee table. He'll bring me a few pieces at a time and ask me the name. (My daughter is pictured working on the map puzzle at approximately the same age.) One day I decided to keep track of how many he knew by asking him to bring me particular states and was amazed to discover that he knew the names and shapes of 37 of the states. We bought a handmade World Map Puzzle from Michael Olaf about a year and a half ago. It was rather expensive, but I think it was worth every penny. You'd be amazed at how much geography an adult can learn from trying to put the world map puzzle back together after the kids have taken it all apart! We use the map puzzles in conjunction with laminated maps (purchased from Sam's Club) and flag stickers of the states and countries (available from Michael Olaf). My kids love geography and I've learned a lot more of it myself.

Review Date: 
1999
Reviewed by: 

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