World Geography

I’ve posted previously that I just wasn’t happy with the way history was proceeding this year for EG. Logic stage history is supposed to be about making connections, discovering the “why” behind history, and delving into cause and effect. I felt like it had instead become a checklist and the result was merely a continuation of learning and approaches like those used in grammar stage. Ouch!

I decided to make a change for next year. Instead of continuing with a chronological study of the world, using a spine, we’re going to look at history through different ‘lenses’ for the next two years (sixth and seventh grades, approximately). Next year, EG is going to study physical geography, the history of cartography, and a bit of cultural geography, all through Ellen McHenry’s Mapping the World with Art. One of things that appealed to me was the drawing component; art skills is one area that continually gets neglected in our home/school. I ordered it last weekend, received it last week, and spent the weekend printing it out and then reading through the history material, the map drawing directions, and the activity suggestions.

I’m really excited about this course of study for next year! Now, if you’re familiar with the curriculum, you know that it really doesn’t include any cultural geography, and that is an area we’ll supplement somewhat. In theory, we have 30-60 minutes set aside each week for art skills, plus 3 hours a week for history/social sciences. With this amount of time, I’m confident EG will be able to complete the reading, the map drawings, one to four activities per chapter, and still have time for a bit of supplementary reading and projects. We may use Evan-Moor geography units for each continent to enhance the physical geography, or we may not; I have to procure at least one in order to decide. One of the things I really want to do is incorporate some cooking for various countries and geographical areas. I also want EG to complete four projects over the course of the year (approximately one per quarter, or one per every seven to eight chapters). Essentially, I’m thinking of having EG do these projects each on a topic that is more related to cultural geography or the history of cartography (as opposed to physical geography), and she’ll have a choice of what format in which to present each one: a display board, a standard essay or paper, a Keynote/PowerPoint-style presentation on the computer, or a website are the formats I’ve brainstormed for now. We’ll also try to actually take advantage of the library for the cultural geography study; I’m thinking of those series of books in the children’s section that cover most of the countries in five or six well-photographed chapters per book/country.

This year of study won’t lend itself to writing as well as straight history might, so I’ll have to make sure to include outlining practice and writing practice in other subjects moreso than I might otherwise would have. It won’t give EG a chance to practice interpreting written primary sources, but it will give her experience with a different type of primary source: old maps! Since the course is projected to take only thirty weeks, we may take time halfway through to do a Jackdaw, and again at the end of the course. Even with these potential downsides, though, I feel like it’s a great choice for her for the coming academic year.


Daisy said...

It sounds like a wonderful plan.

I'm interested to see how the Ellen McHenry English language curriculum goes. Lydia and I drooled over that.

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