Down to Earth Geography, Grade 1 Paperback – 1 Feb 2008
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
I don't give it 5 stars because there is more reading than I would prefer on each page. I would like to see more "to do" work than reading. Quite a few pages have 3-4 paragraphs of information for students to read followed by a simple task like coloring a single country and tracing a word at the bottom. Would have liked fill in the blank instead of multiple choice questions. Would have loved to see more of Standard 1: The world in Spatial Terms as this is more hands-on raw geography like map making, keys, compass roses, etc.. I understand they can only cram in so much for each standard and I hope this is expanded upon in subsequent grade levels.
A few actual complaints. Some pages have entire paragraphs about one place, but the graphic and questions are about a different place with a similar topic. For example, one page's two paragraphs of reading is dedicated to people in Nepal growing rice in valleys while they grow potatoes in the mountains. Well, the final two sentences say, "Far away, other people live in high mountains. The mountains are called the Andes." Then the questions, coloring, and tracing (all the activities) are all about the Andes. Why bother with all the Nepal info if the activities are about the Andes. It was just odd, and I was concerned that a student would be reading about Nepal but get a visual mental picture of the South American map from the page and connect the two. There are a few other pages with the same issue. There are a couple misspellings, as well. Moldova is labeled Moldava on the Europe map. There are vocabulary pages at the end of the book for each chapter; would have liked them at the end of the chapter instead.
There are also some country-labeled continent maps at the end of the book. They are quite shaded, though, and tough to color so I'm not sure the vision with these. I still supplement by having my student color each country differently, but it would've been easier with a white map. Including unlabeled copies of these would also have been nice so we could do some additional map work.
Overall, however, its a good option. As with anything you cannot expect perfection. I absolutely love love love that it includes topics from around the world. I cannot say enough praise for that, and how hard it is to find. I also really appreciate the whole-geography approach. Finally, the CD is indispensable as you can print off as many pages as you may need.
We will continue using this and subsequent books as our geography core in our homeschool. Note that we also do a lot of mapping in our history lessons and daily life during camping/hiking.
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