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The Ultimate Geography and Timeline Guide

by Maggie Hogan and Cindy Wiggers

Reviewed by Martha Robinson

Purchase details: The Ultimate Geography and Timeline Guide by Maggie Hogan and Cindy Wiggers. Large paperback, 356 pages, $34.95. Please support HomeschoolChristian.com by buying this program from our Christian Book Distributors link.

Billing itself as "a complete geography resource for grades K-12," The Ultimate Geography and Timeline Guide is a huge compendium of information designed as a parents or teachers guide to make geography interesting and fun. While both authors are homeschooling parents, this resource guide frequently addresses classroom situations but almost all of the activities can be easily adapted for home use.

The authors begin with a friendly introduction of tips and commonly asked questions followed by a "yearly guide for the less than confident," recommended pages to complete based upon the childs age. Six units follow.

"Just the Basics, Please!" is the first unit. "Planning Your Destination," chapter one, includes some information about how to go about unit studies, learning styles, and some of the supplies needed (maps, globes, atlases, etc.) for geography studies. The authors discuss in detail the importance of a student-created notebook and the impact this technique can have on the learning process. In chapter 2, "Packing Your Bags: A Refresher Course," the authors provide a concise, yet detailed, overview of terms and concepts of not only physical geography but also the less frequently considered "human geography" that concerns itself with races, languages, religion, culture, and the like. This chapter ends with a discussion of the five themes of geography (location, place, relationships, movement, regions) and how they make geography much more than simply where places are located. In the final chapter of this unit, "Finding Your Way with Maps," facts about maps and different types of maps are explained.

The next unit is called "Taking in the Sights: Fun and Games." Creative ways to get started or to add interest to geography studies are introduced. Foreign stamps and money, foreign exchange students, and pen pals are some of the ideas. Numerous home-made games are suggested along with cooking activities and an archaeological dig in the form of cookies with nuts and raisins.

Unit three, "Across the Great Divide, Geography Through the Curriculum," includes suggestions for integrating geography with the other subjects of science, math, history, computer (via the internet), and literature. A complete unit study for learning about Holland using Hans Brinker or The Silver Skates by Mary Mapes Dodge illustrates how to bring geography into literature study.

"Just Geography," unit four, contains material for students to "conquer the continents." One chapter offers a survey of all the continents with mapping exercises and questions for late elementary and middle school aged children, while the following chapter has a somewhat more rigorous survey of the continents for high schoolers.

Reproducibles are available in unit five. Eighteen maps of continents, the world, ancient civilizations, and more are included along with fifteen activity sheets and several planning sheets for the teacher. Flash cards with geography terms and small blocks of "stuff to know by heart" such as longest rivers, largest islands, and most populous countries, are also in this section.

Unit six, "Tour Through Time: Timelines," begins with an explanation of how helpful timelines can be in gaining an understanding of when events occurred. Many different activities and methods for making timelines are suggested. A reproducible notebook page for the timeline and over 300 timeline figures are provided. "Who Am I?" game cards may also be reproduced to create an interesting quiz on events, people, and landmarks in history. About 150 cards are included, and several blanks are provided so that the family may make more.

The appendix has a glossary, the answer key, a chronological listing of timeline figures, an index of the timeline figures and "Who Am I?" cards, and an index for the book.

Recommendation: The Ultimate Geography and Timeline Guide is an incredible resource of materials for teaching geography. While it does not provide day by day guidance for the teacher, it is full of ideas to make geography interesting and FUN. (See the review of Trail Guide to World Geography if you are seeking a more structured program.) A creative homeschooling parent who enjoys planning her own activities will find this book to be invaluable.

HomeschoolChristian.com resources related to this review:

HomeschoolChristian.com's Geography Section for interesting ideas and resources!
Review of Geography Songs
Review of Geography Through Art
Review of Trail Guide to World Geography
Review of Hands-On Geography
Review of Eat Your Way Geography Cookbook Series
Review of Uncle Josh's Outline Maps
Review of A Child's Geography
Review of Hold That Thought Note booking and timeline products

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