By Ann Jansen
19808 Homestead Road
Clearwater, MN 55320
Looking for a unit study on Africa? You've found it in GeoDeo's Journey into Africa. This study is full, and I mean FULL, of fun learning! It contains materials and supplies to cover writing, art, history, poetry, geography, animals, vocabulary, music, science - the list goes on - from a Christian perspective.
When we opened this box, we could not believe the number of products included. Another great perk of this study is that the whole family can truly get in on this one - it has multi-age range and really can include everyone!
The Resource Book, over 300 pages long, beautifully colorful, spiral bound, soft cover, is very nice, full of information, an index, answer key, glossary, and amazing book list! Accompanying this book is a huge three-ring binder notebook full of guidelines, scheduling, lesson plans, and suggestions. This book alone weighs over SIX POUNDS! The "meat" of this book (worksheet-style pages) is divided into sections (with tabbed dividers) to make finding things simple!
The whole first section is dedicated to maps, history, and geography. Included are black line maps, geography and cultural facts, and history teaching.
The next section contains poetry, poems to read, poems to write, and poetry helps for children to create their own poems. The Old Testament facts are presented in rhyme (for easy retention). Also included are examples of narrative poetry, Egyptian poetry, the Rosetta Stone, free verse poetry, acrostic poems, and more!
On to music, and included in this section are some neat music/rhythm CDs to enhance this portion of the study: Journey into African Songs, Journey into Rhythms, and African Playground! The study here is based on improvisation. Do you have rhythm? Can you pick up the beat of a tune and "connect" with the tempo? Some people can, some just can't. This portion of the study is fun and brings lots of laughs! The lessons here are teaching us to improvise, much as the African people do in their celebrations and ceremonies with their music. The students see how improvising can be beautiful music and a lot of fun!
The next subject covered is science. This kit contains tons of hands-on projects and supplies the items needed to complete the projects (they even include rocks!). The Blowing Sands Experiment is fun, but best done outdoors. The idea here is to produce the different surfaces of the Sahara Desert. There is great variety in the information and topics covered in these science lessons - everything from snakes to meal planning to oil-and petroleum-based products, including many studies of animals native to Africa.
The art studies in this program are very engaging and interesting! Lots of hands-on projects are presented here, along with supplies, of course! You will make a mosaic, fashion an African mask from papier-mâché (all supplies right down to the salt are included!), weave a basket, and more! This portion of the study includes creative design and encouragement. Even the youngest in the family can participate with the GeoDeo Coloring and Fun Pages books, full (almost 50 pages!) of great coloring pages, word puzzles, word finds, and more (even a nice fresh box of Crayolas is included in the kit!). GeoDeo also makes a neat book of drawing and color that is a big hit with my children! This is an almost 100-page softcover book with instruction and illustration on how to draw some of God's amazing creatures that are native to Africa. Information on each of these creatures is included as well in this fun book!
Games for entertaining learning are also included with this unit study. A card game called "Amazing Africa" focuses on geography and the cultures of Africa. There are also more games to enjoy with 240 review cards included, you can play games like Jeopardy, Baseball, or make up your own!
GeoDeo also includes books - great books! They include a GORGEOUS hardcover book from DK Publishing containing over 60 pages of amazing photos and information (DK Publishing puts out amazing books!); an Africa activity book from Edupress that is chock full of crafts, art, and historical information; four Little Dover Activity Books - an African sticker activity book, Fun with African Animals stencil book, Invisible Desert Animals Magic Picture Book, and Aseye from Africa, a sticker paper doll book; a literature-based activity book on Nigeria from Evan Moor; a paperback book on Samuel Morris from Barbour Publishing; and from Dover, Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling and African Folk Tales by Hugh Vernon-Jackson!
GeoDeo has the study of Africa covered! This is a great study! If you use a strictly textbook approach, this may not be your cup of tea. If you love unit studies and your children enjoy hands-on activities (and what child doesn't, really?), this is for you! You'd be hard pressed to find a more thorough, engaging study on the continent of Africa. Thumbs UP!
Product review by Lisa Barthuly & family, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, LLC, June 2006