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Elementary Geography and Cultures Review by Heather AlianoMaster Books
3142 Highway 103 N
Green Forest, AR 72638
1 (800) 999-3777
Master Book’s Elementary Geography and Cultures is a curriculum written for children in grades three to six. The curriculum consists of three books: the teacher’s manual, The Passport to the World: Your A to Z Guided Language Tour, and the, Children’s Atlas of God’s World. This program is designed to be completed in one year, with lessons five days a week.
The two books which accompany the teacher’s guide are both written by Craig Froman, for Master Books. They are beautifully done, full color, with lovely pictures and clean layouts. Passport to the World includes two day spreads of each nation, with information about the language spoken, some words to learn, and interesting facts about the culture. The Atlas also includes two page spreads for each country, but it shares information about the geography, along with information about natural symbols, geologic sites, world and Christian heritage sites.
The curriculum follows a repeating pattern. For each country, there is a page of short answers for your child to complete. The questions cover everything from naming the capital of the country, to translating common words from the language spoken there, to questions about the history and geography of the nation. No outside research is needed, all the information for the questions is found in the assigned reading (about four pages for each country).
Your child will also color the nations flag, and then do a hands on activity. Almost all of the hands on activities are recipes to make dishes common to the country you are studying, so this course can easily be a cooking class in addition to a geography course.
I used this curriculum with my fifth grader and currently have my second grader tagging along. This is a fantastic program to do with more than one child, even with kids just slightly outside of the age range suggested. I have the boys sit down to look at the books together, and to discuss the information. The books are large enough and clear enough to be shared, so they have no issues reading together and discussing the information. Most of the time, we go over the question sheets together verbally, since I do have one student who is slightly younger. An older child would be able to complete the worksheet on their own, either while they do their reading, or afterword.
Then, we get together to make the recipe included. I love that the recipe is right there in the book and I am never left to have to find something to make. The whole program is easy to follow. I love that the lesson plans are included, and a schedule is already completed for me. This is a true open and go program, which is greatly appreciated in my busy family.
The only thing I would change is the coloring. The flags included are very small, a 2 x 3 inch square at most, and I have kids who love to color flags. We printed our own flags and maps to color instead of using the small flags included in the book. In a future printing, I would love to see these things (flags and maps to color and label) included in a larger format.
I really enjoy that this program also includes some science concepts along with the basic geography and map work. There is information about biomes, landforms, and the way natural formations are made. This is a very comprehensive program that is deceptively simple, and easy to use, but very complete.
Overall, this is a wonderful program that I am thrilled to use with my kids. I have never seen Master Books materials before being sent this set for a review, and I am officially hooked on the quality and ease of use. We’re looking at some of their other sets for the fall!
—Product Review by Heather Aliano, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, November, 2015