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Has anybody used Spectrum Geography?


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I was thinking about Trail Guides to US Geography for studying the US but now am thinking maybe it's going to be *too* much for us right now.


So....after re-reading a lot of posts here and looking around online - I found Spectrum Geography gr 3 at christianbook.com.



Grade 3 is "communities"

Grade 4 is "regions of the US"

Grade 5 is "United States of America"


Have you used this? Did you like it? Is it mostly workbook? Include activities? Does it cover topics well? At CBD is says it's supposed to "complement" a concurrent geography program - can it stand alone if necessary? I'm at least looking to use it for the next year so dd's would be in 3rd, 1st, & K.





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I, too, was looking for a more formal geography program this year - ds9 was going to take state standard tests.... The Spectrum Series looked liked I could just have him read and do the workbook pages independently. We started with Gr 3 even though he is in 4th (I have a thing about not missing something within a "series"). There are 18 Lessons which include a reading selection, map skills pages, and activity pages. We did this for the spring semester this year. What surprised me was the amount of work and time we ended up putting into the activity pages. Many of the activities have you compare the selected topic community to your own community. There are also many assignments that include making posters, charts, graphs, reports, etc. Mind you - you can do as much or as little as you want within any curriculum, but I found this to be well-rounded and comparable to any "regular" social studies class. We will continue with Gr. 4 and Gr. 5 next year; one per semester. FYI - we continue to work on SOTW for history and literature along with the AG maps/color pages/activities... but I treat the Spectrum Geography as "Social Studies."


As for age/grade level: IMHO It may be a little too advanced for K and 1st, unless you really take the time to compensate for reading/writing abilities. The Answers could be completed orally, but all of the map skills activities require reading maps/charts/graphs/etc.



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I agree that I would not try to do it with a 1st or kinder. They really do not need it yet anyway. If you want to do something..make up your own things. My kinder has LOVED MCP's Maps, Charts, and Graphs book (I may have the name a little off). We have maps and he likes looking at them. Try doing Flat Stanley this year or maybe just pick something about each state. You could pick a state a week. Have the children trace with their fingers how they would drive there on the map. (mention what states they are driving through each time, no need to require memorization of course, make it fun). Talk with excitement about different things about the state....Colorado has mountains. These states in the north get snow. These states in the south are so warm. I would also do weather charts, at least with the younger ones, so they get an idea as to what it means when it is hot or cold. Just hang a calendar and during calendar time, talk about what the weather is (temp, hot/cold/ cloudy/sunny/rainy/etc). You can hang a thermometer outside for them to check. Or pull up weather reports. If you want to expand outside of the US..I would start with continents and then Oceans and so on. Just make it fun and you will be fine. You will be surprised at how much more they retain when they look forward to it and have fun with it than when they are forcing their way through things that they might or might not understand or enjoy, especially at this age.


Have fun and good luck!

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