Mapping the World by Heart Ring-bound – July 16, 2010
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I used this curriculum with a homeschool co-op. I taught twelve children ranging from grades 4-12. Our before world maps from memory hardly contained any information and very unusual continent shapes and locations, even the one done by grades 9-12. As we mapped and labeled each continent, we also did a study of the history and culture of the countries in each continent. Every week, each student researched a different area of each culture and gave oral presentations in class.(these ideas/activities are given in the curriculum.) Our end of year maps from memory are the best endorsement I could give. I wish you could see them. The continents were accurately drawn and 70 to 80 percent of the details like landforms, political divisions and capital cities were included. Our best map was completed by a 6th grader who was able to list every single item on the mapping the world by heart list given in the curriculum. There is some teacher preparation in doing extra activities recommended in the curriculum. My only complaint was that the map sheets were not available in smaller quantities so we had to come up with our own outline maps to label. I highly recommend that every student be required to complete this curriculum before reaching highschool. My history class no longer has to ask -Where is that? --Joan Brancaleone's review on Amazon
I am a 7th grade teacher from Madison Wisconsin. I have used this program for 12 years. I teach about 150 kids each school year and all of them, from the very brightest to the very lowest ability children, learn it in their own right. We practice one continent at a time and learn mnemonic devices to reinforce newly acquired knowledge. For example, the phrase -Cute James Hates Doing Puzzles represents the Caribbean Islands of Cuba, Jamaica, Haiti, Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico in order from west to east. The word BASMOQN represents the lower Canadian provinces in order from west to east: British Colombia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, Newfoundland. I show the students how to draw each region and we practice, practice, practice. When I feel they're ready, I test them on each region by asking them to draw it by heart on their posters with nothing more available to them than a list of the correct spellings of the names of countries, provinces, and water bodies. The finished product-a big map of the world drawn by each student from memory, is truly breathtaking and every year parents and students who've had older siblings come through my class tell me that they still have their map. I highly recommend this program. --Colleen Reilly's review on Amazon
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I felt bad because the homeschool co-op families donated $5 each for the curriculum and $15 each for the maps, of which we used 2. I generally needed multiple maps of each country (like the U.S.A.) and there were 1 or 2 copies of each area. This meant that I had to print out copies off of my free online sources every week, even though maps had been purchased. Also, the purchased maps are too large for most personal copiers, so website hunting is the answer. Basically, everything that I had tried to avoid: Making up my own lesson plans and games (there were 2 usable games in the binder), finding crafts, printing out dozens of maps, etc., I ended up doing.
I think if you are someone that has more than a once a week time period and WANT to dig through all of the 'tips' in the binder to help the students memorize the locations of all geographic regions (maybe a 5 day a week classroom teacher) then this curriculum is for you. I was trying to avoid digging and ended up digging (on the internet) anyway.
However, when I started to use the program, it was not complete. It assumes you already have some idea of what you want to teach, and it gives you enrichment ideas to teach in creative ways. I am only starting the program, so I will get back to you when I have used it more. However, I did feel I had to purchase additional materials to teach concepts that were involved in certain introductory exercises in the book.
I think the program might be ideal for school teachers; for home educating parents, they may need supplemental materials to help them out.