Book reviews, Free Books, History-Geography


We will soon begin our third year of homeschooling, with my oldest in year 3, my youngest in year 1. We follow the Ambleside recommendations for principles and for books, thus we used the Hollings books for geography these past two years.


In year one we read Paddle to the Sea. It was not bad, but it was not as wonderful as I had expected. A couple of times we used maps, and once we made a paddle out of cardboard. We have good memories. I have kept the book too.

Children from Other Lands
In year two, we read and oldest girl narrated from, Tree in the Trail and Seabird. Though Seabird was a bit better than Tree in the Trail, she did not like any of the books. We do not leave out any book she does not like at first, or that is hard, but these two books did not inspire any of us to print maps, or find out and learn geography in any fashion. The pictures in the margins are wonderful, yes, but since the readings were always dreaded, and the narrations not so great, my daughter never delved or got lost in looking at the details of those illustrations.
For my youngest, who is a strong narrator, and though I know she could use these books as her sister did, I wanted something different. Geography, such an exciting discipline, has been dry and pitiful at home. I think they learned more from reading the trail maps whenever we went camping last year than from these two books.
I looked for an alternative, and I found it. In the preschool years, we read a bit of Children of Other Lands, by Watty Piper, and I consider it a good first approach to other cultures and their geography. We also read a bit of Higroads to Geography, this book:
In it, a traveling father sends letters to his family telling them about places he is visiting, their customs, buildings, etc. It makes reference to the illustrations, and since this kindle version does not have illustrations, I wanted to buy the physical book, but I ended up by a fortunate mistake, buying this book instead:
Highroads of Geography, Book I, Sunshine and Shower, The Royal School Series. We have not started our year yet, but I know we are going to love geography. My year 3 girl is already reading a Marco Polo book, and since there are a few where to choose from, I let her do so. For year 1 girl, these two books will be just right, and her sister, when I showed them these books, declared she wanted to participate too, if we are ever doing some of the suggested activities at the end of the book. They are low key, easy, but appropriate (make a map of a garden, draw three pictures of the same tree at sunrise, noon, and sunset). The text is not complicated, it could even be a book she will read from herself, or that we will alternate and read together.


Another page from Higroads of Geography
 There is another Year 0 recommended book we never finished, which is free as well, and I do not consider it too kiddish at all, but that could be suitable for year 1 too. We will let you know how this new plan unfolds, but I can tell you I am excited about geography, ready to bring maps to the table, and to follow our curiosity and learn much about other places and our own surroundings.


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