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Choosing a geography focus


MamaAkins
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I think I've decided to focus on geography for next year before moving forward in our history rotation. I have chosen this because my 9th grader will be doing a year of geography. I would like to keep the kids on the same topics, even if they are using different curriculum. It makes dinner time discussions easier!

I'm trying to decide between a "cultural geography" such as MFW's Exploring Countries and Cultures or choosing a more "physical geography" program like Trail Guide to World History or Mapping the World with Art? This would be for my 2nd grader and my 5th grader. Any suggestions, comments, input? Please help me think this through!

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Looking through geography currciculms I realize I could spend all day on geography. I'm going to focus on learning to identify and apply the 5 themes of geography to what comes up in the news and in my SOW unit studies. If you google "5 themes of geography" lots will come up.

 

And I'd like to do some some tracing or drawing of maps. And play around with the free download from sheppardsoftware.com And take the time to cover the topics that overlap with earth and environmental science in more depth as we cover those sciences.

 

So after I introduce the 5 themes, except for the software, it looks like all my geography will be incorporated into the other subjects, and not a true stand alone geography course.

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If it were me, I would get Mapping the World With Art for the DVDs (the history portion is challenging for a 5th grader and would likely go completely over the 2nd grader's head), and do a cultural geography program as my "main" thing, pulling in the DVD map lessons for each region as you study it. (Or you could go in MWA order, and pull in cultural books as you go...) When mine were in those grades, we enjoyed "Children of Many Lands" from Winter Promise, despite the many typos. (We didn't use the whole program.)

 

I think MWA wouldn't work well for your 2nd grader at all -- but I absolutely think it's worth buying *just* for the mapping element, even if you set the rest aside for a few years. (Some of the activities will work well with 2nd/5th as well -- but the history is a bit dry for that age, and requires some grasp of math and science that likely won't be there.)

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Last year we started with "Three Cups of Tea" which was very engaging and this led to a study of maps, physical features (the challenges faced) and the social issues in a different culture. My daughter was 9 and, at that age it proved a great way to bring geography alive. It actually led us to look at other challenges faced by different 3rd world cultures and how their physical location, climate etc contributes to the problems.

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We use Blackline Maps of World History and just integrate them into our History studies as they are applicable. During our Colonial America studies we focused on making sure they memorized all 50 states by the time we started the Revolutionary War so they were ready for American History.

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