I am so excited to tell you sweet readers about something that I've had the chance to use in our homeschool over the past several weeks--and it's available to you all now! (And if you're the lucky type, make sure to read to the end of this post to get your chance to win your own copy!)
Knowledge Quest is a homeschool-family-run company that began in 2001 in the way that so many other wonderful curriculum companies seem to have begun--because a family wanted a resource for teaching their children that didn't yet exist. So they created it--with simple black and white maps for children to label as they studied world and American History. Today, the company has expanded to many different products and formats that still help parents teach history and geography in a way that "makes sense" to kids.
The newest product that Knowledge Quest put out is A Child's Geography, Volume 3: Explore the Classical World, and that's what we had the pleasure of reviewing!
What Did We Receive?
Exploring the Classical World, written by Terri Johnson, is a 15 chapter, 224-page living storybook of Classical World History and Geography. It is geared for Grades 1-6, but can be used for middle schoolers as well. This volume covers Greece, Macedonia, Albania, Montenegro, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Slovenia, Italy, and Malta--all places that before, I had barely heard of, much less taught my children about.
Each chapter contains photographs, maps, or drawings of the area or culture studied, and stories about that geographical area over time. Various activities are located throughout the chapters, such as: field notes (notebooking), comprehension and narration questions, vocabulary words, interesting and relevant websites to visit, and important timeline events.
A CD-ROM found with the book includes map work, activities, recipes, and prayer guides specific to the areas being learned about in each chapter.
We received this product as an e-book ($24.95), which was easily downloaded and printed, and we also received the CD-ROM files. You can also download and preview the first three chapters of the book at the website.
How Did We Use This?
We chose to follow the author's guidelines for finishing the volume over the course of an entire year, covering one chapter every two weeks. There is also a guide to finishing the course in a semester, but we really enjoyed the richness of using as many activities as we could, and relishing in the stories (more about this later--I promise!)
We also used this as a family, work-together activity, with my Bug (1st grade), my Firefly (5th grade), and my Turtle (8th grade) all participating together. We worked on it about three times / week, and I would spend the first week reading the chapter aloud to them. The second week we would spend in mapping, crafting, cooking, or additional reading about areas that particularly interested one or more of us. We would spend approximately thirty minutes with this book at a time.
What Did I Think?
I think I am in love with this curriculum! Like, really! And I think I'm sorry that I've not taken advantage of the first two volumes so far (but I'm going to make up for that very quickly!)
Let me tell you why I loved this so much. First of all, as I mentioned before, teaching my kiddos about the history and geography of Greece, for example, had not crossed my mind in the five years we've been homeschooling. (Ignore Slacker Mom, please. She only comes out occasionally...) When we were blessed to receive this curriculum, I still wasn't all too sure about the whole idea, but about one-half page in, I changed my mind in a hurry!
The pictures--full color and beautiful! They convey the beauty and awe of the areas perfectly.
The maps--simple but thorough. Even my six-year old could find and identify the places we were reading about on the maps we were using, and then later transfer that knowledge to our world map upstairs.
The activities--perfect! There are enough of them offered that it was easy to select the ones that would be more "low maintenance" and "low mess" on the days that I felt less ambitious, but there are definitely some that are higher intensity for those more active Mommas!
The stories--completely captivating! Ms. Johnson is an expert storyteller, and there were many days when I had chosen the pages we would read, but when I stopped, my kiddos begged me to read more! (Begged--to learn things!) Often during our review period, we would check out books from the library to learn more about some of the stories that were told, just because the kids enjoyed them so much!
Big deal in our home! As a matter of fact, at a soccer tournament this weekend, another parent happened to mention a Mediterranean cruise she and her husband had taken over the summer. My Firefly asked her what she got to see, and both of my "littles" lit up when she started naming Mykonos and Santorini and Crete--places ALL of us would probably never have heard of before, and places that now we feel like we've visited ourselves, thanks to A Child's Geography.
What Did My Kids Think?
"I loved it! The mini Venice was cool, because we read about Venice in Italy. It was traveling, like flying, and on a ferry, and I liked the stories that it tells in the middle of it!" (Bug, age 6)
"I really liked it. I liked how it pretended that we were traveling around the world. And I really liked how we got to learn about the different places we stopped at, and I liked the pictures that it shows about the old churches and memorials about things that happened on the island." (Firefly, age 10)
"It was good. Some days it seemed long, but I liked the pictures and the stories in it." (Turtle, age 13)
Now, For the Fun Giveaways!
I am excited to be able to offer one reader of this blog their own digital edition of A Child's Geography! Please enter the giveaway for that here!
These prizes include:
A Child's Geography Volume 3 with Wonders of Old Timeline Book ($59.90)
NotebookingPages.com Treasury Membership ($99.95)
Philosophy Adventure Physical set ($89.95)
Romans, Reformers, Revolutionaries Intro Pack from Diana Waring ($64.95)
Writeshop Primary Level (winners choice of A, B, or C) ($51.85)
Raising Real Men prize package ($50)
A Journey Through Learning $50 Gift Certificate
3 Months A+ Tutorsoft ($49.95)
Lilla Rose (2 Flexi Clips) ($32.00)
See The Light (2 DVDs) ($30)
King Alfred's English and Baktar (Laurie White) ($25)
Make sure to enter both giveaways, and make sure to take a close look at A Child's Geography!