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Galloping the Globe: The Geography Unit Study for Young Learners Review by Holly Cameron

Loree' Pettit and Dari Mullins

For those homeschool moms like me who have younger students who are begging to "do school" like their older siblings, here is an easy way to accomplish that! This is a geography based unit study for children from Kindergarten through fourth grade. Included are mazes, word searches, maps, flags, and lots of suggestions for activities. The main objective of Galloping the Globe is to introduce young children to the seven continents and some of the countries within each continent. Along with studying geography, students will be introduced to various historical figures, missionaries, and animals of the world. This is not meant to fill their brains with knowledge they will learn once and use never again; it's an introduction, a stepping-stone, so that when they are presented again with the information in later years, they will be able to say, "Oh, I remember this!" and not be overwhelmed or intimidated. This is not an "on day one do this" kind of curriculum. It is generalized, giving you the freedom to cover some areas in more depth and decide for yourself what you want to cover on any given day. Galloping the Globe covers eight divisions:

1.People/History - This section covers missionaries, historical figures, authors, etc.

2. General Reference Books - This section covers general information about a country or topic.

3. Literature - This section offers children's literature originating, set in, or talking about the country being studied. There is classic literature here as well as books that are just plain fun!

4. Science - The main science topic covered throughout the book is animals that are native to the particular country being studied, although there are other topics such as trees, volcanoes, astronomy, etc. When you reach South America and Africa, science is listed under the continent rather than the individual countries.

5. Vocabulary - In the back of the book you will find a geography dictionary page, which is a blank page that you may photocopy as many times as needed for your immediate family to make their own dictionaries. The students will draw and define a picture of the geography vocabulary. You can then make this dictionary per country or continent; it's up to you.

6. Music/Art/Projects - This section includes a variety of crafts using readily available materials. There are recipes from a given country, music suggestions to enjoy, and other activities.

7. Internet Resources - There are many Internet resources listed here, with information, recipes, and activities. There is enough material to keep you studying any particular country for as long as there is interest shown.

8. Bible - The last division is a list of Scripture related to character traits found in the literature books. Some of the verses pertain to items listed in the Science section, or other areas related to that country's culture. In the middle of the program there is a chapter called Christmas around the World where you learn about Christmas traditions in other countries and cultures. There is also a map for each country for the student to label, as well as a flag for the country that may be colored. The idea is to introduce the notebook approach on a very basic level. The child builds a notebook over the length of the course and includes all of the information produced during the year: the flags, the maps, the geography dictionary, etc. At the end of the year, you will have a very impressive collection of what your child has studied and learned, and it will be a treasure to look back over during the following years.

While it may look like there is a ton of information in this book, it is not overwhelming or intimidating in the least! This course is designed to be done in one to three years. If you plan on touching every continent in one school year, you will not be able to study every country, read every book listed, or do every activity. You choose what you want to cover; usually I determine that by the level of interest my daughter has. If she is really into learning about a specific country, we carry on; if she doesn't seem too interested, we just make a short stop and continue on to the next country. Choose the activities and books that are right for your family and don't think you have to cover it all! The course is laid out in such a way that you can easily read one or two of the books and skip the others - there is no specific way that this course has to be done - just relax and enjoy yourself. I'm confident that you and your kids will love this introduction to world geography!

-- Product Review by: Holly Cameron, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine