For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not of yourselves it is the gift of God, not of works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

Friday, May 18, 2012

5 Days of Curriculum Evaluation: A Child's Geography

Here we are at day 5 of our 5 Days of Curriculum Evaluation. I hope you all had fun reading how some of our curriculum have worked for us, and also enjoyed some of the other topics over on the crew blog.

Today, I will talk about our latest addition to our curriculum line up this year, for which I am very grateful.

For a couple of years now I had heard about A Child's Geography,written by the author of the wonderful blog A Holy Experience, but was not able to get it until earlier this year.

I was very excited when my husband brought it home from his trip to the US, back in January. I started with the boys almost right away. It has been a blessing!

A Child's Geography, Explore His Earth is more than a geography curriculum. As a matter of fact it is more of a physical science book but from a geographer 's perspective.

In A Child's Geography you learn about our planet Earth as geographer taking a tour around the planet, in the atmosphere, inside the earth, in the ocean and more.

On top of learning about what exactly our home planet Earth is made of, the author includes connections relating to reaching out to other people living on earth. In each chapter she brings the student to think outside his own side of the world to other places on the earth that are not so fortunate. She also relates the way our earth functions to how the creator had a design and a purpose to everything that exists.

What I am most grateful for about this curriculum is how it has opened my kids' eyes to the need around the world. Through the few chapters that we have done so far, the boys have be made aware of:
  • the work of Habitat for Humanity
  • the fact that they (we) need to be more careful with our environment; the ozone problem
  • the work of Trans-World Radio thanks to the wonder of the ionosphere
  • the work of Operation World
  • the work of Mercy Ships
Thanks to this textbook I have been active to have the kids pray for all the needy people in the world. If just for that I would evaluate this curriculum in our home as a 10 +. The academic content is high (I would say at least grade 3 and up; it contains a lot of technical words when it describes how how the planet works), which makes it very instructive. The topics include (to name a few):
  • The layers of the atmosphere
  • The plate tectonics
  • The oceans and their currents
  • Longitudes and Latitudes
  • Solstice and Equinox
  • Crust, mantle and core
 The boys have learned about new ways of looking at our earth, and to look at it as God's ideal place to put man on, as it fits the purpose for which he created it, and as every elements of it fulfills a God given function. In that sense it awakes an awe for God as the perfect designer and creator.

There is much more about this curriculum that could be beneficial to the boys which we have not done, lack of time, so I am thinking to go over this book again in a few years. What I am talking about are:
  • Copywork of verses
  • Activities such as creating postcards on which they would summarize what they have learned in each chapter
  • Extra readings, especially fiction but not exclusively (which we did some of)
  • Hands-on activities such as tugging tides, making models, explosive volcanoes, edible earth, water quakes, observing nature and much more

So, yes this is a keeper, somewhat above the head of my 1st grader, but that is why the plan is to redo this book again in a few years. I want him to get the wonderful benefits of it, and have my 3rd grader get more out of it the next time.

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