Thursday, November 5, 2009

Hands On Geography by Bright Ideas Press -- A Review

Thanks to being part of the Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew, I was blessed with the opportunity to use and review Hands on Geography by Bright Ideas Press.

I know that my review is supposed to be about the product that I received, but I really have to point out a delightful page located on the publishers website for my current review: Hands on Geography. Reading about this particular author made me smile and laugh. Just like I enjoy and appreciate knowing the farmer who produces our daily food, I enjoy knowing some of the history of the person who is creating and publishing the things that are feeding our brains. Knowing a little bit about the authors who write our materials, makes me feel even better about the product we are using. So, you just have to check out the Hogan family, the people behind the physical book currently in my home.

What is Hands on Geography? According to author Maggie Hogan,
it has "enough ideas and projects in this source book to last a family several years! Written from a Christian perspective, Hands-On Geography will get you excited about teaching an oft-forgotten subject. Includes specific instructions for many activities, games, and projects designed to be appealing to kids and easy for parents. An easy, yet thorough, introduction to a very important subject." This curriculum is geared towards grades K – 5 and can be purchased for $14.95
I appreciated looking through this workbook, but felt that it is presently a stretch for us to use in our schoolroom. Though Mr. Smackdown is in "kindergarten" at home, if he were in public school he wouldn't be in public school due to the date of his birthday. So, next year I suppose that I will be able to weave parts of this useful book into our study of the world. I especially see it complementing our FIAR curriculum, as we try to locate each story on a world map after reading it.

I'm in favor of Hands-On Geography because:
  • showcases great printables that you can photocopy and use multiple times
  • has a fantastic collection of "tools" to teach an awareness of a world larger than our neighborhood
  • suggestions for creating homemade games, rules, and necessary supplies
  • an older child could be given this book and complete the lessons independently
  • fabulous missions section that ties in geography to the Word of God
  • provides training in becoming familiar with and using a map
  • develops an awareness of where countries and states are located

My issues with Hands-On Geography (and these will dissipate as my children grow older):
  • while my children are younger or lack necessary reading skills, completing the unit studies would require a lot of work for me
  • because I am lacking in skills to capture the big picture, a lack of a unified theme (each unit study focuses on a new geography topic), it would be hard for my brain to organize and put the book into action
  • requires some assembly of paper materials and I struggle with the follow through of this administrative task (which accounts for why I have several unused and unfinished lapbooks around)
So . . . while I like this curriculum for the future of our homeschooling, it currently doesn't fit our needs. While looking at their website, I found myself coveting desiring a few other Bright Ideas Press products: Over Our Heads in Wonder, Rand McNally Children's Illistrated Atlas of the World, and History and Holidays--Tips, Tricks, and Projects to name a few.

Click on the Homeschool Crew banner to read other reviews on this product

As a member of the Homeschool Crew, I was given this product to review, and I do not have to return the product to the vendor. I was not paid for this post. All opinions expressed in this post are delightfully mine .