We have started using a new history and geography curriculum this year. Anna (age 10) and I are enjoying A Child’s Geography Explore the Classical World ($34.95, softcover, $24.95, ebook) by Terri Johnson of Knowledge Quest. The book covers early classical history of the middle ages starting with Crete and the Minoans and working all the way through Rome and the Roman Empire.
This particular book focuses on the Mediterranean. It is organized geographically and not by timeline, and is a fun way to combine the study of geography and history into one! Written for grades 1-6, it would also make a fine starting point for family study if additional supplements were added for the older grades.
When the book arrived for Anna and I to review, Anna flipped through the first few chapters and actually hugged the book. I think this was a direct response to the beautiful pictures and illustrations! She is also so excited to be able to read her own schoolwork finally, so I am sure that did play into it. I am not having her read the book entirely on her own though, I read through a section of each chapter out loud to get her started.
Then we look at the map and pictures together and talk about whatever we read. Then she reads to the end of the chapter on her own and works on the notebook journal she is keeping. At the end of each day, I talk to her about whatever she read and I also read what she has written if a journal assignment was included. Today, she got so excited about the picture in one chapter she came running to me to show me how amazing it was!
Each chapter is written in an engaging living books style, with bold words for vocabulary study, questions for journaling in your own notebook and maps, charts and pictures to compliment the reading. The vocabulary words are defined in the back of the book in a glossary. Each chapter also includes a menu for the region. The book has 14 chapters and can be easily completed in one semester.One of the things we both like is one of the extra components of the book — the activity guide.
Found in the back of the print edition, a cd houses several pdfs including maps, recipes, timelines, a travel log, and some ideas for extra reading AND the activity guide. In the activity guide, we find suggestions for one to two crafts per chapter with internet links to illustrate the project. These crafts compliment the area of the world we just learned about and include things like making a paper mosaic, creating a Grecian costume without sewing or making your own easy Grecian pottery. Anna loves these crafts!
My Bottom Line: This book has provided for us a wonderful change of pace with chapters Anna enjoys reading, activities we enjoy completing, and enough mapwork, narration and journaling to make sure we seal in the information. I recommend this book and the entire series.