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Geography III Review by Charlotte Gochnauer

Dayna Grant & Kate Janke
Memoria Press
(877) 862-1097
10901 Shelbyville Rd
Louisville, KY 40243

Do you know where Gabon is? Or where the Ural Mountains might be? Having a general knowledge of our world and the amazing places in it is very valuable. I also feel it is especially important to learn this at the middle school level, so I was thrilled to review Geography III from Memoria Press.

I received the Student Text, the Student Workbook, a Teacher Guide, Geography Flashcards, and the accompanying Rand McNally Classroom Atlas. These are all soft cover, with the Student Workbook being consumable. The cost of this complete set at the time of this review was $76. Each of the nine units focuses on a different geographical area. But this is not a simple geography curriculum that only teaches the locations of the countries. In the Student Text your student will also study a detailed overview of each geographical region. First they will learn about each area’s physical geography: This includes the topography - mountains, rivers, and other features of the earth’s surface. The text also covers meteorology - how weather and climate affect the area. They will also learn about the human geography in each region, including the history of that area, their unique culture, politics, and the economic resources and industries.

Throughout the Student Text are appropriate illustrations and helpful maps. For example, in the unit on Western Europe there is an overview of history, and there are photos of the Colosseum and the Palace of Westminster. There are also a couple photos of art pieces, depicting important events in history. The text is written at middle school grade level, with each unit ranging from eight to thirteen pages of reading material.

As the student is reading the text and studying the material, they are also studying the Geography Flashcards. There is a card for every single country in the world. On one side of the card, you see the country’s exact location within its region and its capital, and on the other side you see the flag of the country and the country name. Flashcards are an excellent way to study and a great way to learn country locations and capitals.

When the student feels ready, they can then complete the pages in the Student Workbook. For each unit there are comprehension questions based on the text, including some deeper thought questions about culture, industry, and politics. There is a capital review for all countries in that unit, and then a map activity, where they must mark places on a provided map. They are not only marking the countries that were learned but other landmarks as well. In the unit on South America the student needs to be able to identify the Strait of Magellan, Angel Falls, Drake Passage, the Amazon River, and much more.

Another activity in each unit of the Student Workbook is the Robinson Map Project. For each unit your student will practice copying that area, freehand, on a blank map. This does sound like an impossible task, but as they continue to practice and add areas, their map drawing skills do get better, and this does help them to memorize the land shape.

When the student completes a unit there is a test, which is found in the Teacher Guide. And the tests have points assigned to each question so grading is very easy. Inside the Teacher Guide is the answer key for the entire Student Workbook and the tests, plus a few other resources. One gem in this book is the Honors Work section. For each unit, there are suggestions for further study that may be completed. There is also a helpful chart on the world’s major religions and reproducible maps for both the Robinson Map Project and for extra practice.

I had my ninth grader doing this course. We decided to spend two weeks in each unit, except for the units on Africa and Central and South America which we spent three weeks on. Throughout those two to three weeks she read the text on her own, taking notes as she moved through the material. She really appreciated that Memoria Press has important names and terms in bold; this made it easy for her to know what to note and study. I also liked the many illustrations - when you are learning about the difference between the Rockies and the Appalachian Mountains in North America, seeing a photo of each is very helpful. I loved the historical overview in each region. In the text the student is getting a crash course of that area’s entire history, in just a couple of pages. The Rand McNally Classroom Atlas was a great resource that was included. For each region she would read through that section of the Atlas and study all of the different maps.

She also studied the flashcards, which for her, proved to be the highlight of this program. My daughter loves memorizing and finds that flashcards are a great way to help learn facts. She was able to easily memorize not only the location of each country but its capital as well. This was impressive since some of the ones in Eastern Europe we actually had to look up to learn how to pronounce. The only thing I wish was that the flags on the flashcards were in color. But that would make for a very fun project - to go through and color all of the flags.

At the beginning, she did struggle with the Robinson Map Project. I found that she needed to trace the area more than the suggested one time in each unit, so I had her do the tracing twice a week. This was very easily done because the blank reproducible maps are right there in the Teacher Guide. And after getting through the first three units she is becoming more confident and her land areas are becoming recognizable.

I highly recommend this geography course! Geography is so much more than just learning the names of the different countries. Memoria Press brings it all together into one package, where your student will learn so much more about the wonderful world that we live in.

-Product review by Charlotte Gochnauer, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, November, 2018