Thursday, October 22, 2015

Drawing Around the World Review

Geography has never been my thing. Oh, don't get me wrong, I still got an A in the class in high school, but I didn't enjoy learning it and I certainly didn't retain the knowledge for very long after I received my tests back with the approving grade. Over the last few years though, I've gotten a desire to freshen up my geography knowledge--and maybe truly learn it the second time around. 

My oldest 2 kids (ages 9 and 7) have an interest in geography, specifically pertaining to the Unites States of America. They play games about the states, try to recognize them by their shapes, and put together puzzles of the map. I thought that Drawing Around the World: USA from Brookdale House would interest them.   

The Drawing Around the World series (includes the USA book and the Europe book) was designed to teach children to draw large sections of geography from memory. With the USA book, students study one or more states a week by tracing, locating on a map, and labeling. The day the state is introduced, the student also fills in a chart with various facts about it.

  • Capital
  • Abbreviation
  • Statehood
  • Bird
  • Flower
  • Industry
  • Interesting Fact   
To find the state facts for the chart, students research the information by checking one of several free online resources. Once they have completed this course, they will have a familiarity with the states, recognize them, be able to draw them, and understand their positions relative to one another.  

The suggested weekly schedule is as follows:

Day 1    
  • Study the New State.
  • Complete the State Fact Table.
  • Locate and label each new state onto the dashed, black and white map.
  • Draw all states studied thus far.
Day 2    
  • Locate and label each new state onto the dashed, black and white map.
  • Draw all states studied thus far.
Day 3  
  • Locate and label each new state onto the dashed, black and white map.
  • Draw all states studied thus far.
Day 4   
  • List, from memory, the states studied thus far.
  • Using the blank textbox, draw, also from memory, all of the states you have learned.

We school 4 days a week (Monday-Thursday), so this schedule works perfectly for us. I had intended to use this curriculum with only my oldest child, but his younger sister was so excited about it and asked to join in. How could I say no? Every Monday, we sit at the table together. The kids trace the state and draw it. Then, we fill out the facts sheet together. I look up the information and write it on a white board so it's easier to copy. It's much easier to write 96,810 sq. mi. and 9,895,622 people (those are Michigan's stats, by the way) when you can see it. I also find pictures of the state birds and flowers so the kids can visualize those, too. The interest fact is the favorite for each state. We learned that the first free public library was opened in New Hampshire, that Ben & Jerry's leftover ice cream is fed to hogs in Vermont, that it's illegal to cross the street while walking on your hands in Connecticut, and more fun stuff.

This is what my kids think about using this curriculum:

"I like that you get to trace the state and draw it yourself. And I like learning the capitals!"

"I like that the lessons are short and I like learning the capitals."

I like that my children are learning geography in a fun simple way. I do have mixed feelings about it though. The book itself is really just the same few simple pages over and over: a blank chart, a map of the US with the states drawn with dashed lines, a blank map with Canada and Mexico shown but the US left out, and a blank page to draw the states. I just feel like it needs something more. I also think it would be good to have a spot for the states' nicknames. The 282 pages is a lot to print out. For just a few dollars more, it would be worth it to purchase the printed book, instead of the e-book. Although, then you'd have to buy one for each child. See, mixed feelings.

My kids are enjoying this book, and we will continue to learn the geography of the USA. If you think this might be good for your faily, too, you can view sample pages of the products on the site.

You can connect with Brookdale House on the following social media sites:

If you'd like to see how other homeschool families used this curriculum or one of the others offered by Brookdale House, please read the reviews on the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog.

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