A Child's Geography: Explore the Holy Land Vol. II
A Good Curriculum, But...
I have been reading through this curriculum and I have found it interesting. But... I've had this reoccurring thought that this is not the right curriculum for my family. I do believe, though, that many families will enjoy it and be encouraged by it. I will explain in the course of this review why it's a great curriculum. At the end, I'll try and explain why it's just not the right fit for my family.
Previously, I reviewed Volume I and enjoyed it. The first book was essentially an earth science curriculum. This second book explores the Middle East from both a historical and current cultural perspective. It blends history and cultural studies. The book explores the countries of Turkey, Israel, Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan. For each lesson, there is a reading lesson, a section for field notes (students are asked to speak into a recorder about their observations as they imagine traveling through the land), lists of locations to record on maps, art/cooking/music activities, and suggested prayer lists. My favorite part of the lessons were the prayer sections. I thought the authors did a wonderful job of making suggestions for how we can pray with our children for the people who live in this region of the world.
An example from the Israel lesson is "Lord, may the people who live within her borders live at peace with their neighbors. May they learn to love each other as You patiently love us. We pray for godly wisdom for the world's governments as decisions are made regarding this region of the world and may Your will be accomplished," p. 71
I enjoyed the reading lessons as well as the activities. There are pictures, both color and black and white, scattered through the lessons. If you choose to use this curriculum, I would highly suggest collecting other resources via your library or by purchasing a good Bible Atlas to help your children better picture this land. Though the authors do a good job describing the areas and helping children to use their imaginations, I know my children would want a Bible Atlas. Included in the book is a CD-Rom with reproducible maps for use with the curriculum. I think you may find you want some larger maps, though. I have seen several such resources available for purchase online.
If you are interested in acquainting your children with this area of the world, this is a great curriculum. But, let me explain why I'm not sure it's the best fit for my family. The authors talk about many people groups who live in the area, including the Kurds in Turkey. I appreciated the efforts on the part of the authors to include all people groups and their suggestions of how to pray for the people who live in this region, because God has called us to pray for all people. But, there is one people group missing from this book. In the section on Israel, the Palestinians were not mentioned. There were no pictures from the Gaza Strip or the areas where the Palestinians live. There are Palestinian Christians. If I used this curriculum, I would add to the section on Israel and explaining a bit more to my children about the land and the people who live there.
The other reason I likely will not use this curriculum is that it does not fit in a traditional scope and sequence for what children learn in school. I tend to follow the general scope and sequence of subject matter as taught by the public schools for social studies and history. As a homeschooler, I do have the flexibility to veer away from that when I want to. I could use this curriculum in a condensed form one quarter of the school year. With all curriculums we use, we take what works for our families and modify when we need to. I could expand on some of the sections and still condense the study overall.
In the book, there are 16 lessons, which would cover about a half a year if you taught one lesson a week. It is very appropriate to use with multiple ages at one time. I'd recommend it for grades 1-6. You can see a preview of the book on the website for this book. It is a pretty affordable curriculum at $35 for the book and included CD. I looked up several Bible Atlases on Amazon and they ran between $20 and $30. Other pictorial resources could easily be found at your local library.
If you are looking for a study on the Holy Land, this is a great place to start. If there are areas you would like to focus more heavily on, the curriculum would be easy to adapt. It isn't the right curriculum for my family, but I can see how it might be a good fit for many others.
Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from the publisher.
July 29, 2011
This book would benifit from better proof-reading.
My favorite part is the recipes.
I found this volume difficult to read. It has several grammar issues and does not inculde a sufficient pronunciation guide.
I had high hopes for the CD-rom part, but did not find it highly valuable. Some of the maps are too tiny to be helpful. At first my daughter (age 9) really enjoyed the mapping part, but not all the guides include sufficient descriptions about where the speicfic locations are.
The book does have a nice guide for supplemental studies if you have access to the resources suggested. It includes art projects and supplemental book ideas and links to listen to local music (local to the countries being studied.)
July 5, 2011
Knowledge Quest has done a phenomenal job creating this new study on the Middle East. Our family has thoroughly enjoyed the arm-chair-style narrative of the countries of this region, countries often heard about but often misunderstood. As a family we want to develop a love for this part of the world, and this study has provided an excellent foundation! We would highly recommend this study and others by this company (A Child's Geography- Explore His Earth is another family favorite)
July 16, 2008
This book is a gem! It is written conversationally, and is engaging without being patronizing. It is written from a distinctly Christian viewpoint, but treats the people of this non-Christian region with a great deal of respect. There are narration prompts at the end of each section and either a recipe, poem or craft at the end of each chapter. It also has a few suggestions for supplemental reading. We love this book! I hope that the authors will write other volumes (and quickly, we are almost done with this one!)
July 15, 2008