Monday, February 8, 2010

World Geography

How do we develop an appreciation for other cultures, establish a solid understanding of where countries are in our world, and encourage our children to distinguish worldviews from other regions of the globe? We teach world geography, of course! Around the World in 180 Days is the resource we have been using this year for social studies. It’s a combination of geography, history, culture, and religion for each of the continents (yes, even including Antarctica).

The course is designed for all ages of student, providing daily questions to answer in each of the four subject areas listed above. In addition, Mrs. Payne has listed extra research project ideas, supplemental reading suggestions, biography lists, and mapping activities for each continent. Separate student manuals may be purchased, or you are allowed to copy the manual for family use. There is a teacher’s answer key supplied for all the daily questions, as well.

We have used Uncle Josh’s Outline Maps for the mapping exercises, various biography suggestions for read-alouds while we’re in a particular region of the world, and the 10 Days in Africa (or other continents) Board Game to fill out our study of an area. The children have been learning better Internet research methods, the countries and their capitals (or at least have been introduced to them), and current event topics related to particular countries.

The course is intended as a full-year study of the seven continents. Some regions require more time than others because of their sheer size or the number of countries being studied. But the program is very user-friendly, can be self-directed, and is a family-friendly approach to learning world geography. We’ve been blessed by the study this year! I can’t promise that I’ll remember where Muscat, the capital of Oman, is located on a map. But thanks to Around the World in 180 Days, I can pretty much guarantee that I’ll remember what portion of the world contained Oman (and, I hope, be able to identify the country correctly on a map), and what its cultural and religious characteristics are.

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