Homeschool Posts

Friday, March 18, 2011

Daily Geography Practice, a Timberdoodle Review

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Timberdoodle is known for their wide range of quality homeschool curricula, so I was thrilled at the opportunity to join their community of review bloggers.

For the past few weeks, Mary (1st grade) and Peter (kindergarten) have been enjoying Evan-Moor’s Daily Geography Practice Grade 1. Complete with 36 transparencies and 36 weeks worth of reproducible lessons, this resource takes a gentle, little-bit-at-a-time approach to teaching valuable map skills. With only 2 questions to answer each day, Daily Geography won’t overwhelm your kiddos or make you feel rushed to get everything done. It truly makes it easy to add in geography to an already busy day.

Some of the lessons you’ll find in Daily Geography (Grade 1):

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  • “What Is a Map?”
  • “Using a Map Key”
  • “A Street Map”
  • “A World Map”
  • “A Land and Water Map of Colorado”
  • “A Town Map”
  • “A Weather Map”
  • “Natural Resources Map of Alaska”
  • and more

What did we think?

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I love that this book is reproducible, so I can use it with all my kiddos. I also love the map transparencies. I can put one up on my whiteboard, mark it up for the kiddos with dry-erase markers…and then wipe it off and put it away for next time. Saves me a bit of paper and ink, as I imagine I’d otherwise print an extra copy of the maps for my own use.

The paper pages are perforated, making it easy to remove them to copy. The transparencies are micro-perforated. It took me a few tries to get them out at first, but once I got the hang of it, they came out easily and cleanly.

The teacher notes are minimal and to the point. It’s very easy to pick up Daily Geography Practice and just teach.

And what is it like to teach Daily Geography?

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A strong reader will be able to complete this curriculum with virtually no help from Mom. Mary has no difficulty whatsoever answering the questions. But while both Mary and Peter seem to enjoy the lessons, this book is a challenge to use with a beginner reader (Peter, age 5). To be fair, it’s not designed to be used with a kindergartener, and Mary has no difficulty with the lessons at all. But Mary is an exceptional reader for her age and from what I know of the varying reading skills in this age group, I suspect many 1st graders will have some difficulty reading the questions or even selecting the correct answer without having each read to them. So, Daily Geography could be either independent or teacher-intensive or some where in between, depending upon your child’s reading skills.

While for the most part the questions are pretty straightforward and the skills pretty self-explanatory, there is at least one instance of ambiguity in the lessons. In the very first lesson, which uses a map of a boy’s bedroom, one of the questions is “What is next to the chair?” with the choice being either the window or the door. There are no fewer than 5 chairs in the drawing. And there is one by the window and one by the door. But only one is actually labeled “chair” (it’s an easy chair by itself, the others go with some other thing, like a desk or a table). While it’s clear this is the intended answer, it was understandably a little confusing for my kiddos.

My children also found it odd to be directed to do things like “Mark an X on your favorite student desk” on a map of a classroom showing 3 rows of nearly identical desks. Mary just said, “But they’re all the same, how can I have a favorite?”

These exceptions stand out the more so because most of the lessons are quite good. Just a couple weeks later (in “Using Directions”), the kiddos will be coloring various animals on the map based on their position (north, south, east, or west) in relation to other landmarks, really pretty sophisticated stuff. So I’m willing to overlook the few blips. It’s easy to get past them with the right amount teacher instruction and perhaps a tweak here and there.

Overall, I’m pretty impressed. This is a valuable resource that’ll make it easy for me to teach the young ones basic maps skills, something that could easily be overlooked.

Daily Geography Practice is available from Timberdoodle for Grades 1-6. Each level sells for $21.75, 25% off list!

Be sure to check out the free downloadable sample pdf.

Disclosure: I received this product for free from Timberdoodle for review purposes. I received no compensation. This review reflects my personal opinions and I was not in any way obligated to post a positive review.

3 comments:

  1. I love these "Daily" practice books. We use the word of the day one and daily paragraph editing. I had no idea there was a geography one as well. I am excited to add this to our curriculum for next year.

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  2. Yes, I need to check out some of the other Daily Practice books, too.

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  3. We reviewed Beginning Geography and love it, so I am looking into the Daily series. Thanks for the great review. (:

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