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North America Review by Lisa Kjeldgaard

Evan-Moor Educational Publishers
(800) 777-4332
18 Lower Ragsdale Drive
Monterey, CA 93940-5746

I believe studying geography should be a vital part of every homeschooling curriculum. In order for my children to understand the political and economic discussions that happen around our table each evening, they need to have a solid understand of where countries are located in our world and even how topography affects those countries. Evan Moor's book North America, and the entire seven book series, is a simple way to teach these important facts to your children.

North America is part of a series, one for each continent, based on National Geography Standards. The series is centered on the five themes of geography developed by the Association of American Geographers together with the National Council for Geographic Education. Those themes are 1) Location: Position on the Earth's Surface, 2) Place: Physical and Human Characteristics, 3) Relationships within Places: Humans and the Environment, 4) Movement: Human Interactions on the Earth, 5) Regions: How They Form and Change. These themes are clearly identified on all student worksheets throughout the units.

The North America book is divided into seven sections: Introducing North America, Water and Landforms, Geographic Regions, Political Divisions, North America's Resources, North American Animals, and The People. Each one of these seven sections includes teacher resource pages that explain the activities in the section and give teaching tips, information pages for teachers and students and reproducible resources that include maps, note takers, and activity pages such as crossword puzzles, word searches, and quiz cards. The book also comes with a helpful 17" x 22", color topographic map of North America. The book costs $12.99 for either a paperback book or an e-book available for immediate downloading. I love the e-book format as it allows me to easily print quality copies of the reproducible pages. The Evan Moor website also has a great feature that allows you to look inside the book's pages before purchasing so you can make sure the books content will be helpful to you.

There are many features of the activity pages that I really appreciate. Basic geography skills such as latitude and longitude are covered but easily skipped if your student is already familiar with this information. The student pages in each section have a lot of variety. The use of tables, bar graphs, lists to fill in, questions to answer, check off lists, and worksheets with interesting graphics keep the student's attention. Several of the pages are cleverly designed. I especially like the import/export pages that have a large arrow graphic to write the imports into the country, a place to draw the country outline, and then a large arrow away from the country to write the exports from that county. Using well designed graphics like these help solidify information in my children's minds. The three pages of search cards are also a great feature. Each page has nine cards with questions about information covered in the book. Playing review games utilizing these cards would be a fantastic way to go over previously learned material.

In my home, we'll be using this book, as well as the rest of the series, to compile a current events notebook divided by continent. The Evan Moor pages will introduce each continent and the maps we'll complete will give us a basis for current world events we'll be discussing. Current events will be written about or copied as we discuss them and added to each binder section. I'll also be reading modern day missionary biographies from each continent and the Evan Moor topographical information will be immensely helpful as we seek to understand the environments in which the missionaries we're reading about are working.

As with all Evan-Moor products, this series is written for a classroom setting so some of the suggestions will need to be adapted but none of these will distract from the wealth of information waiting for your children to learn. North America can be a simple tool to help ensure that your children are learning important geography facts that will enable them to clearly understand the setting in which today's world events are happening.

Product review by Lisa Kjeldgaard, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, April 2009