Geography does not top the list of great importance for most people. It is altogether one of the most neglected subjects in education at large. Frankly, that thought would usually not bother people on a day-to-day basis.
Oh, how wrong people can be.
Recently my horizons have been broadened and my eyes have been opened to the far reaching, and ever-changing subject of geography. A subject that I have paid some attention to, as a historian geography generally gets a nod from me, but most likely not enough time has been spent on this subject in our home. Now, I am beginning to think this subject deserves far more than a nod.
North Star Geography is a new curriculum from Bright Ideas Press, and more specifically written by Tyler Hogan, a homeschool graduate, father and inspired geographer.
Now wait a few seconds before you start on the, "Hey, I thought you were a Charlotte Mason 'I-spit-in-the-general-direction-of-textbooks' type educator" retort. True, I will still take a living book written by one author passionate about their subject, over that of a dry textbook any day! Sense we are on the subject, let me take this moment to say that Tyler Hogan gives a narrative "living book" flare to his writing in North Star Geography. He is apparently ecstatic about sharing his knowledge of geography, and is an expert in his field. From the beginning lesson, it is made perfectly clear this author writes because he cares, and because he has passion to share!
Let me set the record straight here and now, North Star Geography is the exception to the rule, much as its predecessor, Mystery of History.
North Star Geography is written for High School students and can be adapted to suit the needs of Middle School students. I have just those type of students on-hand in my home, so we were good to go.
We have been utilizing North Star Geography in our studies for about 2 months. The book includes a wonderful CD-ROM with printable resources including: Mapwork, Quizzes, Note-Taking, Activities, Maps, and suggested Schedules. I opted for the 2 year schedule, that will allow us ample time to cover the material. This is the best for us considering geography is a broad subject, and I want to take our time digging deeper.
Aside from watching the kids begin to understand and enjoy a typically elusive subject, there are a few points about this book I am particularly enjoying:
• Motivated storytelling by a passionate author makes for a great read aloud.
• Variety of options for hands-on learning, and project-based learning. Having these options are important to my kinesthetic learner. We will also spotlight a few of these projects during October, so you can see North Star Geography in action.
• Easy to adapt "Note-Taking" activities that I can turn into an excellent opportunity for self-lead Notebooking time for my students. I will be discussing this more in-depth next week.
• Quizzes that are provided are helpful in creating "CM-styled" exams for exam week.
• Ease in adapting activities and assignments to cater to both my High School learners and my Middle School students.
• A name that I trust for biblical worldview curriculum, and a company that shares my family's values, in Bright Ideas Press, and the Hogan family.
Geography needs more than just a nod in any home education journey. Our increasingly expanding global society grows daily leaving us reeling to make sense of our place in the world. You can be assured North Star Geography will deliver geography centered in God's purpose, and on a biblical worldview.
Geography does, in fact, rock! How do I know? Check out the top photo in this post. This is what I found on our spelling board after just a lesson, left anonymously by one of my kids. Take it from the kid's unprompted response, they enjoy learning geography, North Star Geography way!
Stay tuned each Saturday this month for more GEOGRAPHY ROCKS. We will be looking at North Star Geography, up close, and discuss notebooking, examinations and more.
Joyfully Learning with You,
The Joyful Socks Mom
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