Learning About The World With North Star Geography
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My sons attended a Montessori preschool for three years.
They loved it and I loved it.
My boys spent hours learning about the continents, drawing and coloring their own maps, and engaging in world cultures in a way that fascinated all three of us.
When we began homeschooling, I was determined to keep the same focus.
We hung a map of the world next to our dining room table. We bought a globe. We sang the same Montessori song about the continents, “North America, South America, and Antarctica too…”
As a component of every book we read, we spent time marking the map to show the locations of the characters and plot. When we watched a TV show about survivalists, we looked at the map to understand their location.
As such, my boys know A LOT about geography. They can locate countries on their own on the map. They know all the states in America.
It is a subject that has always come easy to us.
Until this year…
Both of my boys have now outgrown this approach. They roll their eyes when I say, “Let’s go see where this is on the map.” My oldest usually responds with, “I already know where it is, Momma. Don’t make me show you again.”
Wanting to do more in an academic area that is such a natural strength for them both, I began researching options for a Geography/World Cultures curriculum. And I was soon deflated. Everything I came across was either exceptionally juvenile, or completely disconnected from real world learning (worksheets and memorization without any application do not work well with my crew).
So, when Bright Ideas Press invited me to take a look at their curriculum sections, I immediately began researching their North Star Geography program.
I was so impressed, I begged for an opportunity to work with them, and see how this new approach might benefit my boys.
I have chosen to partner with Bright Ideas Press this year because I am sincerely impressed with their products. As a partner, I have been compensated for my time spent writing this review, but please know, all thoughts and comments are my own.
Here is what we are loving about North Star Geography so far:
I love that this program has sample scheduling options. Because of some of my sons’ learning differences, I have found that small amounts of information, with no rush, work best if I want my boys to retain the information. With most curriculum, this frustrates me. But North Star already provides flexible options for covering the material in a semester, one year, or two years. We are working through the two year schedule, and it is a perfect pace for our learning needs.
World Cultures Focus
Because my sons are already map savvy, I wanted a program that would go deeper and actually expose them to cultural highlights and differences. Each lesson includes pictures and information about various regions around the world. They are well written, and truly engage my learners.
Real World Application
This is my favorite part! Every single concept includes a practical application in real life. For example, not knowing where Delaware is, or even that it is a state, is pretty embarrassing for the customer service rep trying to do his job well with a customer living in Delaware. This example and many others, have made my sons feel like they are are learning something useful, practical and applicable in daily life. This keeps them engaged more than any other aspect of this learning.
North Star Geography is working for us. And I am all about sharing anything that is working!
Shawna Wingert is a former training and development professional turned education specialist, and has homeschooled her two children for the last ten years.Shawna has written four books about homeschooling unique learners and has been featured in homeschooling discussions on Today.com, The Mighty, Simple Homeschool, My Little Poppies and Raising Lifelong Leaners.
You can find her online here at DifferentByDesignLearning.com.
Shawna, may I ask which state you and your beautiful family reside? I homeschool and am primaiiry 24/7 caretaker of our children (both with various spectrum d/x challenges on a daily basis) and we live in a state that is one of the more (very) regulated than the others. For this reason I am looking into relocation as to provide the opportunity to be able to “fully enjoy our children” all the time (without keeping them in a cookie cutter required box requirements of the school district, homeschool or not!) and so that our children, *themselves* are able to self commit to relaxing and just being deserving children!
Your blog has continued to be such a supportive GIFT to me. Thank you for having the courage and making the time to inspire (and support) so many families.
Thank you so much for your kind words. They bless me more than you know.
We live in CA. There are some states, like Idaho, that are even less restrictive. Have you heard of the HSLDA? They have a map of the states on their site and show how each of them rate in terms of requirements. It might be worth taking a look.
Thanks again for making my day!
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