Elementary Geography and Cultures from has been a nice addition to our morning gathering time. The program includes a Parent Lesson Planner, Passport to the World, and Children's Atlas of God's World which are both written by Craig Froman. The foundation of this geography and culture curriculum are the two hardcover books.
Passport to the World includes twenty-six countries, one from each letter of the alphabet. Of course, this is not a complete atlas, but there is variation in the countries selected. There is at least one country selected from each continent excluding Antarctica. Passport to the World opens with the history of languages which introduces the reader to the Tower of Babel. Since the focus of the books is on language, the author also introduced us to twenty-six distinct languages. For instance, instead of focusing on English for the United States, he chose to highlight the Cherokee language. For each country, we found interesting facts, four key words, and a well-known proverb.
Children's Atlas of God's World differs from Passport to the World because it is an atlas although it is doesn't include information about every country. We did find that it includes information about all of the continents, and a list of all of the countries in each particular continent. There are also many beautiful pictures in this atlas that brings each country discussed and continent to life. This atlas has been a nice addition to our geography resources. It provides basic information for the countries such as primary languages, monetary currency, and capital. It also goes deeper by sharing other facts such as "Tulips originally came to the Netherlands from the city now called Instanbul, Turkey. The word tulip means turban in Turkish." The atlas also includes shares information about Christian History and Tradition, landmarks, and biomes.
How do we use this program?
We use Geography and Cultures in our morning opening work. The Parent Lesson Planner provides questions and activities that we complete. The questions can be copied as worksheets, but since I try to stay away from busy work we answer the questions organically while discussing each country. The girls each create an index card for the country we are studying. On the card, they draw the flag or I print out a flag if it is a little too difficult to draw, and they also write down facts they found interesting.
The activities included are recipes. The girls love being in the kitchen so the compiled list of recipes for each country allows us to bring our "travels" home. It's always fun to try out new foods when you're visiting a place so this aspect of the Parent Lesson Planner I really appreciate.
Final thoughts ...
Children's Atlas of God's World and Passport to the World are good resources to have since we are big on geography and the world around us. It is also nice that the books include faith and reiterates God's presence everywhere. I'm not a big fan of the worksheets in the Parent Lesson Planner, but I do appreciate the recipes and meal ideas that are presented with each country. I see the PLP as a bonus included with the atlases.
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