APR
15
2013

Homeschool Geography Curriculum Forum

geography

Hi everyone! I hope you are enjoying the curriculum discussions we’ve been doing lately. I’m hoping they will help you in choosing curriculum for your own family!

Today I want to focus on the subject of Geography. Of course our family had a great time with the Expedition Earth World Geography, then moved to Road Trip USA Geography after that. Both are full year curriculum for elementary aged students. And they’re both really fun, hands-on, visual, and did an excellent job of getting my kiddos to remember what they learned!

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Expedition Earth World Geography curriculum is is a hands on world geography curriculum that covers 31 countries across the world. It is designed primarily for K-5 students. Students will learn the continents, oceans, people, cultures, animals, climates, try new foods, crafts and more, all through hands-on activities! Get ready for an exciting voyage across the world! Come along as we walk on the Great Wall of China, wander through the Amazon Rainforest, and climb the Egyptian Pyramids! Within this curriculum you’ll discover the sights and sounds of 31 countries across the globe. You’ll get hands-on with fun activities, crafts, recipes and more! So grab your passports, and get ready to go! It’s time for Expedition Earth!

–> Click here to download a sample of our Brazil Week <–

The revised version includes Lap Books for each country, new information, internet links, and books. Here’s a peek at the Teacher’s Manual. It includes everything you need for each lesson including any additional info, internet links, reading assignments, crafts, and recipes for each country as needed. There are 32 weeks of lesson plans, plus a Christmas Around the World Unit. The Teacher’s Manual is outlined for you on a daily basis and even includes a Craft Supply Shopping List for each country just to make your life a little easier!

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Road Trip USA is a United States Geography and History curriculum. From the signing of the Declaration of Independence, to the wild west, you’ll uncover all the secrets this Nation has to offer! Within this curriculum you’ll discover the sights and sounds of all 50 states, including state symbols, U.S. Presidents, famous people, landmarks, historical events, and much more! This curriculum is geared for elementary aged students.

–>Click here to download a sample<–

For you history buffs, this is a great introduction for young learners! You will start out learning about the Constitution, Declaration of Independence and Revolutionary War. Then you’ll move south to learn more about the Civil War and Underground Railroad. From there you’ll journey with Lewis & Clark through the mid-west, live with the Hopi in the southwest, then venture out into the wild west on a covered wagon ride! So grab your Travel Logs, and pack your bags! It’s time for a Road Trip!

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Pros:

  • Hands on
  • Fun activities
  • Great memory games and visuals
  • Buy once, print multiple times for your family.

Cons:

  • Can be pricey if you have a lot of student copies to print.

What do you think?

I would love to hear what you all do for Geography, and if you used one of my curriculum, feel free to comment on how it went or if there’s anything you’d like to have added or changed to make it easier to use!

 

So, now comes the fun part!

What are your favorite Geography curriculum, resources, websites, etc? Leave a comment below discussing your choices for this year and why.

Feel free to ask questions or reply to each other too!

It’s my way of doing a forum without actually doing a forum haha!

And hopefully this will help us all as we start the process of researching curriculum, and trying to decide what will be the best fit for our homeschool.

Note: Please keep today’s conversations geared towards Geography, I will be posting one for each subject separately so we can keep our comments organized.

Click here if you missed my previous Homeschool Curriculum Forum posts!

 

Disclosure: This was not a sponsored post, I may however be affiliated with one or more products mentioned. The opinions expressed in this post were not influenced by the company. They are products I have used and felt like sharing, cuz’ it’s my blog and I can if I want to.

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Comments

  1. We do Maps, Charts, and Graphs and a program called Classically Catholic Memory which is a Catholic Classical Conversations. CCM has 5 sets of maps for the year and they are supposed to label them and finger trace around the area being studied so they can draw that map from memory by the end of the year. We really like both programs.

  2. We started our journey of the 50 states before you created Road Trip USA. I used the Discover America series a our starting point. (Those are books such as F is for First State, M is for Magnolia, Y is for Yellowhammer). Then I added books for each state based on my search of my library’s catalog and a book called Simply Stated from Kreative Simplicity. We’re currently doing something similar for world geography.

  3. Hi Erica!

    We use your curriculum and the kids and I LOVE it!! Such a great price too!

    Just wondering if you have heard of Rick and Marilyn Boyer.

    They have a website/blog called The Learning Parent (now called Character Concepts)….they have a wonderful book out called “For you they signed” about the declaration of independence and “Portraits of Integrity”, using history to show character values.

    Right now they have a promo on to receive a free kindle edition of volume 2 (there are 3 volumes in total). Here is their link http://www.characterconceptsblog.com

    Thanks Erica for all your dedicated work to this blog!!

    Blessings!

  4. Kathleen Calabrese says:

    We are using Expedition Earth this year for geography. I actually use it in a co-op class with 11 children. I have added in some extra hands on activities and I also like to show pictures of each country from library books. Overall, I am very happy with it. The best part is that at the end of the year each student will have a huge geography binder to help them remember all the countries that we visited!

  5. We did your Road trip USA this year and my kids enjoyed it. The only thing I would add would be mapping activities where the kids can label cities, landmarks, lakes, rivers, etc. but overall, it is a fun We have also used Trail Guide to World Geography. It has a lot of activities that you can do, like cooking, art, etc, but you have to piece together what you want to teach and I prefer curriculum that gives me somewhat of a plan. We stuck to mostly the daily questions, mapping activities, and studying the animals of the region. You can use it multiple times and there are questions for different grade levels. Every year I struggle with deciding what to do for this subject so I look forward to what others have tried.

  6. We loved a study of the States using Simply Stated as our guide. It is primarily a book list for each state to read your way across the USA. We notebooked each state with pages from Hold That Thought Cd on the States, traded postcards with other families from each state, and filled in a generic page I created for each state covering Who, What, Where, and Why. Sometimes we would make food related to that state and later added copywork using a book from Queen Homeschool Supplies. This took us 2 1/2 years but was very memorable.

  7. We like using puzzles, especially United States puzzles. Sometimes we time each other to see who can get done the quickest.

    We have also enjoyed the Classical Conversations geography resources. I gave my children a page of landmarks (rivers, lakes, mountains, trails, etc) and we just kept adding a new page each week.

    • Next year will be my first year homeschooling and I plan on using classical conversations for history and science. Do you think that is enough? I will have a 1st grader and k3.

      • Amy, it will be more than enough! Don’t stress out about this stuff while your kids are little. Let them learn to love learning and then in about 3rd grade things should get harder each year from there. CC will be a great base for you to use and then just read to them every day and walk outside and dig in the dirt and learn about the things you see and the places you go. Enjoy them at this stage. We started homeschooling when my youngest was starting kindergarten and it will always be one of my greatest achievements that I taught her to read and love reading. When I hear her read aloud, I think to myself, I taught her to do that. The years teaching littles are the best, when they are in middle school you will look back to these years and the memories you will be making next year will feed your soul.

  8. Kristi Winings says:

    I’ve been looking for a good US study and this one looks great. My question is this: does anyone know of a curriculum to cover the discovery of America up to the revolutionary war where Road Trip USA begins?

  9. I just recently learned about your curriculum and am very intrigued with it, possibly using it for my youngest (2nd grader). However I do have a 6th grader, and afraid it may be a little to “elementary” for him. Any suggestions out there for the older one? I am considering using Apologia “Around the World in 180 days”. Any thoughts?

    • You hit my button! Yes, I would encourage you to try Around the World in 180 Days. My 6th grader is doing that curriculum this year. Personally, I would not try 180 Days for children any younger..maybe 5th grade. My 6th grader loves it..she is learning how to do research, write and do a variety of activities all while learning about each continent. We are beyond pleased with it. My 2nd grader is doing Expedition Earth. She is enjoying that and keeping me on my toes with her daily assignments. We feel blessed to have found two curriculums that have both worked well for our family and at a great price I might add. Most of the books we use for both of these are checked out at our library or through the interlibrary loan.

      • Thank you so much! I will definitely check it out this weekend at the homeschool conference and Expedition Earth for my youngest. You want learning to be fun; and what great resources that are out there to implement that. Thank you.

  10. This year was my first year homeschooling and I have just stuck with using the Lifepac series. The only problem with it is that for a 1st grader, the history and geography doesn’t teach about the world. It teaches more about life values and how God is in our lives. I think next year I will try your curriculum. Do you teach USA and World together? Should I wait until all 3 of my kids are in elementary grades before I start it? I’m not sure what they actually learn in PS at this age.

  11. For Canadian families and those who want to teach Canadian geography/history, I would highly recommend the geography and history curriculums written by Donna Ward and sold by Northwoods Press ( https://www.donnaward.net/index.php ) For the middle school years “Geography: Province to Province” is an excellent book with a whole bunch of worksheets. They also bundle the books for complete curriculum, inc. a Canadian atlas and additional workbooks. We love their products and have been using them for a couple of years.

    As a side note, Northwoods Press also sells curriculums for Canadian History, Native Studies and African Studies. They also have an extensive series of literature, especially adventure books for boys. I had a chance to look at many of their books at the Kitchener-Waterloo Christian Homeschoolers Association annual conference and was impressed with the broad range of materials.

    • yes! We are canadian and we use Donna Ward curriculum-she’s fantastic!

      • Amanda Burt says:

        This is wonderful information. My husband and I are both from Canada but currently living in Texas. We were just saying how we want to teach them more about Canada as well as the US. I will check Donna Ward out. Thank you

  12. Our favorite resource this year is The Scrambled States of America book and game. We focused on history this year and started reading and playing the game so the kids could get familiar with the states before we dive into a full on geography lesson next year. The game is for ages 8+ but if you are creative you can modify the rules, my 3 year old really enjoys playing with me or my husband, and after reading the book 2 days in a row she went up to our wall map and pointed to and knew which state was Kansas. She now knows the names and locations of about 10 states. My boys (6 and 8) are becoming familiar with where all of the states are. I think it’s a good primer for starting a geography coarse or adding it in for something fun to do.
    We did purchase your Road Trip USA curriculum and will be starting it as soon as I feel my wiggly Kindergartner is ready for the work load so we can all do it all together.

    • I forgot to add that if you have a Tag reader, the Interactive United States Map is also one of my kids favorite activities for learning the States and capitols.

    • Check out the DVD that goes with Scramble States of America. Another great way to remember the states. Your library may have it.

  13. Becky Sellers says:

    We are using Road Trip USA this year and love it! I love the use of the If you lived in…. books. They are clear and easy to understand. I think the kids favorite part is the food. We have made some fun memories this year in the name of Road Trip USA!

  14. Thank you for all your great posts on curriculums. I am from Honduras, and in our country we lack in so many ways in education (that’s part of the reason for me to homeschool!). However, and I mean this in the best way, we look like we have doctorate degrees when it comes to geography compared to most North Americans. (I don’t mean to brag, but I went to college in the US and in my world geography class my professor told me I had the highest grade he had ever given). It is sad A LOT of Americans don’t even know where our country is and we are only a couple of countries south. As a homeschool mom from a third world country, I love Sonlight’s Geography emphasis on the entire world, not just a few countries. In my opinion children are capable of memorizing at least 75% of the world’s country. Just for moms out there to think about!

    • Ooops…75% of the world’s COUNTRIES..:)

    • Linda, Well said! Yes, children are certainly able to memorize the worlds countries, especially since most of them haven’t changed for generations. I’m certainly looking to change that lack of geographic knowledge in our family!

      We use Classical Conversations for our Geography Memory work.
      The students memorize geographic regions, and particular countries, cities or landforms. This year my children and I memorized the locations over over 100 places/landforms around the globe. The knowledge of geography has enhanced our reading and understanding of history (and current events) in ways I didn’t realize we were missing.

      Through Homeschooling, we’re indeed restoring two generations of learning!

      • Thank you Susan, I am glad you are enhancing your children’s learning experience in this way! It does enrich the experience when it comes to history and not only that, but children know what is being talked about when it comes to world news. Keep up the good work!

    • Jennifer Castaneda says:

      My husband is also from Honduras. We lived in Honduras together for the first few years of our marriage. We are currently living in Arkansas and homeschooling our children. It’s quite amazing what kind of “bubble” so many Americans live in up here. I love to hear when people are teaching their children a good solid world geography curriculum. It’s so wonderful for everyone (parents and children) to learn about other countries and cultures. There is so much variety in the way people live around the world. We are planning to teach our children geography through Expedition Earth. I am so looking forward to it. I think it’s going to be a wonderful year!

  15. I cannot wait to use these with my kiddos. We use your LOTW and love it!

  16. Evan Moor’s “Beginning Geography” (for kindergarten level) and “Daily Geography” (for grades 1-5, I think) are excellent resources for learning mapping skills. I also love the book called “The Little Man in the Map” for really learning the locations of all 50 states… for students and moms! :)

  17. We are from Canada and we’ve been studying both Canadian and world geography this year. We’ve used different puzzles and large maps (very reasonable at Costco). I just ordered GeoPuzzles for next year. They look fun! Each piece is the actual shape of the state/ province/ country.
    As far as curriculum choices, we used a book by Donna Ward, mentioned in an earlier post. It was easy to use, and the kids enjoyed it too. We also enjoyed Canada Map Book 1 by Apple Press. We really liked this book and ordered more of the series for next year.
    Our family loves to learn facts with music, so we’ve found some songs online that help teach geography to a tune. (For example the names of the continents sung to the tune Frere Jacques.)
    Maybe I can purchase a copy of Roadtrip Canada soon! Wink wink.

  18. I just downloaded your Expedition Earth. We kicked off this week with the first lesson and so far LOVING it! My kids ask everyday to do it. This is not always the case so when I find something that sparks this much interest in my kiddos I get really excited. One of my goals for my children is that they learn to follow their curiosity and interests and become life long learners. I believe that this curriculm is allowing them the opportunity to discover through reading, researching, creating, trying and discussing. Thank you for creating such a great curriculum. (I have a 1st grader and a 2nd grader and my own teeny tot ;)

  19. Visualize World Geography (http://www.visualizeworldgeography.com/) is a fun curriculum that we found at a homeschool convention. It is a great resource. It can be incorporated with any world geography program because it is teaching you how to RECOGNIZE the different countries.

  20. I plan to use y Father’s Wordl’s Exploring Countries and Cultures next year with my kids. We know a family that did that and used supplements for your Expedition Earth curriculum and they went well together, so that is my plan as well.

  21. Hi Erica,

    I was curious what you will be doing with the kids once you finish road trip USA? Any plans?
    We use your Expedition Earth modified along with many books I order from the library to expand on the literature for the countries (if they want to me to read more and learn more than I’ll do it!) we love the geo puzzles by Geo Toys, the boys (7 and 5) can now label a blank map of the area etc after we’ve completed the unit and reinforced study with the puzzles. I use Evan Moor Daily Geography and Beginning Geog (2 different books) for Grades 1 and 1-2 which is a nice value add for the price (reproducible) where you can create a landform book, learn about map grids and map legends, map each continent with their landforms etc.. They’ve been really fun and its never work when they see it’s EM time! I’m using the next levels of Evan Moor for next year but am not sure what else to pick from for USA yet. I usually have too much curriculum and try to do too much. I love how Road Trip USA looks, and want to add more to it, just not sure what yet. Taking some suggestions from above comments and looking into them. Thanks for all the great ideas!

  22. We use Sonlight which basically has us find the countries on a map that we read about in our history books and read alouds. Next year we go a little deeper into world geography through Sonlight. We also always do the Geography Fair at our co-op and really get into the countries we choose. I also purchased a large self stick world map to put on our dining room wall and that has sparked many learning moments. We also cover one continent in our co-op class each year.

  23. We are finishing up Expedition Earth and have loved everything about it. Next year we are looking forward to Road Trip (which is already printed out and ready to go). This curriculum goes along nicely with FIAR which we use for our youngest and it can also very easily be “geared” toward older students as well with just a few little additions…which we did for our 5/6th grader. We have lots of different go-along books (some which you suggest and others which follow the Oak Meadow and FIAR curriculums). I have found that my children are, just by using this, advanced beyond grade level in comparison with our local schools.

  24. We’ve been using the Trail Guide to Learning Paths of Exploration this year, and my son absolutely loves it. It’s an all-around curriculum (minus math) where everything’s based around a geography core and real books that go with the curriculum text. Lots of great activities, books, maps, and fun. We’re learning about Daniel Boone right now :) http://www.home-school-curriculum.com/learning_series/ We do nature studies, activities out of the original Boy Scout handbook, study animals, and use maps and geography to study spelling, language arts, history, etc. It’s great!! It’s also a multi-age curriculum and can be adapted up and down for each level.

  25. Sandy Grant says:

    We have used the Seterra program at http://www.seterra.net/ also Globalmania available at http://www.knowledgequestmaps.com/Globalmania.html My kids love the games.

    • Kristie S. says:

      We just discovered seterra and downloaded it. My 4th grader LOVES it and is learning a lot by using it. She is excited when she can beat my times! It is a great supplement to any geography program!

  26. I’ve been using your Expedition Earth with my three, ages: 9, 7, and 5. They all really like it. I didn’t print them all the same pages. For the youngest, we started when she was four, most of her pages are from the ‘net. Color the country and flag type of thing. We haven’t done all the activities, but we do a few here and there. They ask to do it often and we have enjoyed it. I decided to step away from history and focus more on geography and this has been great for that. I’m planning on using your Road Trip USA next year for my 7, 5, and 3 yr old and then my 10 yr old will be doing Sonlight’s American History. I feel that he needs something a bit more in depth, although I have no doubt he’ll enjoy following along with the youngers. I do have a question for you though. Where did you find your map that you have on your wall of the USA? It isn’t labeled and I would like something like that that my kids can label as they learn about each state. Thanks.

    • Tiffany- I found one almost identical to Erica’s at Target in their $1 section. It was in August for ‘Back to School’. Maybe you can look there soon.

  27. I’ll be doing Expedition Earth next year. I also plan to do your Road Trip USA in a couple of years when we do US History.

  28. We are going to use Ann Voskamp’s A Child’s Geography next year. We haven’t done any of it yet, but I love her book, One Thousand Gifts, and I am looking forward to a more “living” approach to geography. :)

  29. Bekah Begg says:

    We used one I think called Children of the World this year My son didn’t really care for it though & got bored easily. I think we will use your Road Trip USA next year. We recently moved across the country & drove through a lot of states & my son wants to learn about all that we saw along the way :)

  30. We have spent 2 years using Road Trip USA ( K and 1st grade). We love it!!! We also use SOTW activity book which includes maps. We start Classical Conversations in August which will include geography.

  31. We used Road Trip this year and my kids loved it. My only disappointment is that you don’t have any curriculum for older children =P We will be going a different direction for 5th grade next year but will be using some of your other materials for my preschooler.

    • Oh….and I love the foods/recipes for each state. I love when shopping for ingredients, cooking, and eating dinner can count towards our required school hours!

  32. I was wondering if the review maps, once printed, will fit all fit together. I would like to laminate them and use them again in the future. :)

  33. I am hoping for some help. I have a 6th grade son and I am looking for geography. We started out this year with Notgrass and we both dread doing history. It is so packed with facts and quite frankly just plain boring. I would like to switch in January with geography and another history program. I really like the look of the Road Trip USA but not sure if he is too old for it. He has not studied geography at all and doesn’t even know what states border our state. Would you recommend doing the Expedition Earth first. I figured since he is older that doing the Road Trip first would be best. I feel like I am rambling so I will stop :o)

  34. I created for each state covering Who, What, Where, and Why. Sometimes we would make food related to that state and later added copywork using a book from Queen Homeschool Supplies.
    I think to myself, I taught her to do that. The years teaching littles are the best, when they are in middle school you will look back to these years and the memories you will be making next year will feed your soul.
    —————————————————–
    http://www.ipracticemath.com/

  35. I am trying to find and independent study geography course for highschool credit. Any suggestions?

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