Friday, June 5, 2015

World Geography

Disclosure: Please note that while this post is full of links only the  book links that take you to Book Depository have affiliate links. As always, I share what works for my family & provide direct links feel free to use what works for you & ignore the rest. 

A few years ago we spent a year studying countries around the world. We had a wonderful year, & it’s still one of the many studies we’ve done that gets spoken of quite often. When we did the study we combined Winter Promise’s Children Around The World {CAW} theme with Sonlight’s Core F. Due to this, I often get asked quite a bit about how we meshed the two together to come up with a curriculum that fitted our needs. Keep in mind that what we did fitted, exactly, our needs. 

Why did we choose to combine two beautifully, well written, geographical curriculums? I chose to combine because one curriculum had a lot of lovely books we wanted to read, while the other curriculum used the hands on aspect & research portion that we preferred far more. Together they fitted our needs perfectly!

For starters, we used CAW as our spine.  I chose CAW because it covered more of the world then the 10/40 window that SL covers. While I love the idea behind the 10/40 window, I wanted to cover as much of the world as we could in the time we had as it had been 4 years since we had done a big “Around The World” study. Our youngest had no recollection of the previous study, & while our eldest remembered it he’d been much younger so it had been a much more basic study.

What Resources Did you use? 

From SL I used the majority of the literature which I’ll give further detail on later, & the lovely Timeline Stickers.

I did purchase the WP maps, but I’m going to be 100% honest here & say that they were too small for us. Our children were squabbling over who was going to do what on them when so I printed out gigantic free ones from here. A friend & her husband saw our maps pieced together on A4 paper & offered to print them on huge pieces of paper which was REALLY cool.  Unfortunately, if you don't purchase the maps you can't get the awesome figures that we used on our maps which is not in the picture above.

Putting it All Together:
Once I knew what I was using it was just a matter of getting it all lined up in the order I wanted. With WP being my spine that meant that I wanted to follow the scheduled order of countries in their lovely Guide. I opted not to use the Christmas Around The World portion as we live in the Southern Hemisphere & Christmas falls a the end of our school year not the middle. It was not an issue, in anyway, to simply move on. In fact WP offers bonus weeks in the back of your guide so you can spend longer on some countries with a little extra guidance if you want!

I took all my literature & lined it up on the table then sorted it out by country. Once I was done I had a lovely little spread sheet of what I wanted to read when! It was my reference sheet for the literature we used during the entire year. The only book I left off the chart {not sure why} was the lovely missionary story scheduled in by WP: George Muller. I think it may be our very favourites Missionary Story of all time, & is really well worth the read.

Here’s my PDF of the lineup of how I scheduled the books. While I did try to stick to my schedule if we fell behind or gained ground I didn’t fuss about it. It was not my objective to panic & rush. In fact, during the year that we did this amazing study we nursed the children’s Nana through a broken hip, made a few visits to our eldest's specialist {one of which was 6 hours round trip},  & bought a house. We ended up obtaining a lot of our books in audio format & packed the home up while we listened. It gave us much to discuss & chatter about while we were out hunting down more boxes or enjoying a breather at the park.

I did not schedule the spines, I simply used the WP Guide for that. In order to find a schedule for Material World, Hungry Planet, & Usborne World Religions you’d need to obtain the Older Study Guide. I own it, but honestly I didn’t end up using it. I found it pretty easy to open up 2 of those 3 books & find the country we were learning about & run with it. 

DK’s How People Live is no longer scheduled in any WP Guide simply because the book is out of print. It’s an absolute shame that the book is no longer being printed as it’s a beautiful book. It was a well fought over book that we generally had laying around & would pick up & read about people from the areas we were studying. Several cultures caused us to do more research & look more in depth because the way they lived was just so fascinating to us!

Hands On Aspects
Again, nearly all the hands on aspects is covered in the Guide as well. It tells you when to use up the Travel Diary pages, which are absolutely awesome! They also gave you ideas on when to start planning your cultural gathering.

Here’s the thing, I was up to my eyeballs in getting Nana to PT appointments, giving her daily injection, packing a house, & helping with the planning committee of a homeschool group. If anything hands on happened outside of the notebooking pages it was left totally up to my children.

At the start of the week I pulled out the planning page & asked them what they wanted to do. They took the activity book {Traditions Of Many Lands} & found the pages for the country. Sometimes they went all out, such as our English Tea when we studied the UK. On that occasion the eldest made fancy little invites, pulled out the tea set, had some YouTube videos ready to give us a “tour” of England. Mr S told “Old War Stories” while we sipped our OJ “tea” & had little chocolate tarts. Everyone put on fancy dress, & I shocked them all by wearing my Burt’s Bees lip tint. It was a lovely afternoon & we all enjoyed ourselves heaps!

A less formal occasion would be when we studied studied Peru. That evening the kids decided a simple meal & watching The Emperor’s New Groove would suffice. For China we ended up watching KungFu Panda & eating with chopsticks as the youngest was sick. For Japan we had a lovely surprised when we showed up at the library & our town’s sister city {located in Japan} had sent things over & we had the most beautiful display to ooh & ah over. The librarians were delighted that the boys spent so much time inspecting everything on display.

Other times we had grand plans, but fell short. We’d intended a great & lovely Fiesta for Mexico, but it didn’t happen. There was some sadness about the lack of a piñata {grand plans}, but we did enjoy a lovely Mexican dinner.  We learned to go with the flow & simply enjoy what we COULD do & make the most of that.

I get asked a lot about the cost of combining both of these ideas together as each programme is suppose to be so full on it’s own, & each comes with it’s own price tag. I think it’s really going to depend on which one you want to use as the spine. That’s the Guide I’d purchase & not bother with the other. I purchased the WP Guide because that was the way I wanted to go. Now, I did have a Core F guide, but truthfully I didn’t use it. 


I didn’t use everything listed in my “extras” section of my PDF chart, for instance I didn't end up using all the Expedition items from as I'd intended. We had a lot going on that year, & we found that what we did do made our studies rich & full.

For the weeks marked "Christmas Around The World" we simply moved forward. That may sound confusing & seem like we had a shorter year, but we didn't as we spent a good 3 weeks in China, we did our "optional" week of Korea {I have a child fascinated by this country} when we were in Asia, & we spent extra time in both Japan & Russia.

Finally, I opted to use Red Sand, Blue Sky because it was included with the SL literature, but personally we found it a poor representation of Australia. I've equally been asked about this book many times over & what I would replace it with. I find that a very difficult question to answer as there are so many wonderful books written by Australians about Australia. We'd never read RSBS before & gave it a go. It's not a horrible book by any means, but it's most certainly not the best representation either.

Yes, you can purchase single CAW units at Spirited Autumn Hope. They include, to my knowledge, everything you'd need in order to complete the unit. It's a great way to try it out, or you can find the entire UK unit or free over on the Winter Promise Blog.

Yes, I purchase my items from WP in digital format to reduce the need for shipping fees. I have no issues printing them {two sided unless otherwise noted} at home & binding it all up myself. However, if you live in the USA WP has an arrangement with Staples for their customers, it allows you a discounted print price within the Staples shop. If you run into issues with that feel free to contact WP for help.

While it is not noted, we did use the book 100 GateWay Cities with our studies. We simply looked up the country we were studying, read about the needs of the country & prayed in accordance. We also used the various 30 days of prayer calendar sheets from WP.

When we did our weekly mapping with our NBing pages, we found that there was a LOT to write on our maps. All of it was so fun to find & important to the cultures we were studying, so we came up with a simpler idea for marking our maps that kept them neat, clean, & helped us quickly identify locations. You can find that information here.

You can read a Full Review of our year with CAW over on The Curriculum Choice Blog, or check out what we did each week with our year of World Geography by checking out our 2013 Weekly Wrap Up posts. You can find the End Of Year Certificates I made up to coordinate with this year here if you are interested. 

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