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Geography II Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, Oceania & the Americas Complete Set Review by Laura Delgado

(Student Text, Workbook, and Teacher Guide)
Geography I Review (The Middle East, North Africa, and Europe)
(Student Text, Workbook, and Teacher Guide)
Dayna Grant & Michael Simpson
Memoria Press
1 (877) 862-1097
4603 Poplar Level Rd.
Louisville, KY 40213
http://www.memoriapress.com

Memoria Press is one of those companies that consistently puts out good products. Their approach to each subject is very basic, by which I mean they present the material, they drill the material, they test the material, they move on. The fact is that this approach works. It has worked for hundreds of years. This is very much a case of “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” Now, does every kid like this approach? I’m sure there are some that don’t. The four in my house sure do, though. Geography is one of those subjects that I believe it is essential that kids learn. As with all subjects, you can take it in many different directions, but then you’re usually talking about geopolitics or something similar. Basic geography simply refers to the location of Earth’s places (of course, that definition is open to debate but isn’t everything?), and no one teaches basic geography better than Memoria Press.

The Geography II Complete Set comes not only with everything your kids need to learn the geography of Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, Oceania & the Americas, but it also comes with everything they need to remember what they learned in Geography I (The Middle East, North Africa, and Europe). For Geography II, you get a Student Text, Workbook, and Teacher Guide, along with the Geography I Review Student Book and Teacher Key, Quizzes, and Tests. The cost for all this is $48.00. You can purchase optional lesson plans on the Memoria Press website.

Each lesson of Geography II precedes in the same way. Students are given a map to fill in on one page of the workbook. On the opposite page, they are to list the country(ies), the capital(s), and some fun facts. That same page tells them what should be labeled on the map (major cities, rivers, oceans, geographical features, etc.). Terms they will be required to know are noted by an asterisk. The Student Book is the reading associated with that lesson. It also has the filled-in version of the map for reference. It is where the students will find the fun facts they need for the workbook, too. There is only about one page of reading per lesson, keeping each lesson short and to the point while still packing in quite a bit of geography. For example, in Lesson 1, students learn the Horn of Africa, with the countries of Ethiopia and Somalia. Lesson 2 covers the African Great Lakes with Kenya, Tanzania, and Rwanda.

At the same time that students are learning the new geography of Sub-Saharan Africa, they are reviewing what they learned in Geography I through the Geography I Review portion of the program. If this is your first foray into Memoria Press Geography, no worries! It’s actually a great way to get a taste for this part of the world. The Geography I Review Student Book is divided into four sections. Section I asks students to identify the countries in each region (Middle East, North Africa, Mediterranean Europe, Central Europe, The British Isles & The Low Countries, Scandinavia, Eastern Europe I, and Eastern Europe II) on a blank map. Section II has students match capitals to their countries. Section III has students name each country based on the given capital, with a focus on correct spelling, and then identify the countries on a blank map. Finally, Section IV has students identify each country and its capital using the numbers on a map with everything being spelled correctly. The plan, as enumerated in the introduction to the book, is for students to review one region per week and take the corresponding quiz at the end of the week. Following this guideline will result in it taking eight weeks to complete each of the four sections, resulting in students covering each region four different times during the school year. It’s a perfect system for review!

My children did not do Memoria Press’s Geography I (well, my eldest did, but she is not the one who used Geography II), but they have done these areas of the world with another geography program. The review system in place in the Geography I Review portion of Geography II is excellent. It is just the right amount of review. Students recall what they have learned, but don’t end up wasting any time on extras. The review portion of the geography lesson takes just minutes each day.

The Teacher Key, Quizzes & Tests is merely a replica of the Student Book with the answers filled in, as is the Teacher Guide for the Geography II portion of the curriculum. The blank quizzes and tests are found in the back of the book, and permission is given to copy them for multiple use.

The Student Workbooks are meant to be consumed by one child, so if, like me, you have more than one student using the curriculum, you will need to buy additional student books.

If your goal in teaching geography is for your student to learn the relationships various countries have with each other, how those relationships evolved, and even how the countries themselves evolved, then Memoria Press’s program is probably not the right one for you (although they do cover some interesting facts about the countries in the concise Student Book). If, however, your main goal for your students is for them to learn place names and locations on the world map, plus one or two interesting things about each country, then Memoria Press is exactly the right program for you. There is no way you will come away from it disappointed. Even if your child is not homeschooled (perhaps your child’s school is one of the many that simply doesn’t teach geography anymore and it is a subject in which you want to “afterschool” your child), Memoria Press geography is well-suited to your needs. Nothing about it requires a homeschooling setting or approach. It would work well for all kinds of schoolers.

Once again, Memoria Press has produced a product that does exactly what it promises—it teaches geography, and it does so in a way that is neither boring nor excessive. In other words, it only teaches geography. It doesn’t teach politics along with geography. It doesn’t teach history and geography. It just teaches geography. Because sometimes you just want a program that does what the title says it does.

-Product review by Laura Delgado, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, July 2017

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