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Thursday, September 21, 2017

Elementary Homeschool Geography, a review of Let’s Go Geography

Studying far away places is a great way to expand your child’s world. For the past several weeks, I’ve been using a fun homeschool geography program from Let’s Go Geography with my 8-year-old daughter, Emma. As we visit these different locales virtually, she’s been compiling a list of places she really wants to visit for real some day, including Hawaii, Niagara Falls, and the volcanoes in Nicaragua. 

Let's Go Geography homeschool program for kids

Let’s Go Geography is a 3-year long program for grades K-4 that will traverse the globe, one country (or area) at a time.

Currently, only year 1 is available. Here is the schedule for all three years.

Lets Go Geography Countries

As you can see, each year you will travel to 6 of the continents, visiting 28 different countries, regions, or territories, with periodic breaks and review weeks. Since the break weeks do not have any material, you can condense the year’s schedule to fit into a 32-week school year easily (great for those of us following a less traditional schedule), or even complete it in a semester or over a summer if you average two lessons a week.

Let’s Go Geography is delivered online in pdf format.

Each week, you’ll receive an email reminder of the week’s study with a link to access the materials, but you can access all the year’s lessons from your online account at any time. This is handy, in case you want to change the order of the lessons.  No matter when you start your subscription, the emails begin with lesson 1---you can begin at any point in the year.

While the program is sold as a “subscription” (with semester and full year options), you have permanent access to the content you have purchased.

There are no worries about not quite finishing before your subscription runs out, and you can reuse the materials with your younger children. Because the content for each week is in pdf form, you can also download it to your computer to save for later.

When you log into your account and access your subscription, you can see all of the available units in the left sidebar. Clicking on one of those will take you to a page where you can download that unit’s pdf.

let's go lesson page

While I like that I can download each unit to have offline access, I found the pdf format and the website were a bit cumbersome to use.

It’s necessary to download them and open them on my computer, because opening them in my browser (Chrome) is iffy. Sometimes it works, and sometimes I get an error or the printable pages won’t print correctly.

The pdfs have embedded links for viewing videos and accessing additional materials (like maps). I tried putting the pdfs on my Kindle Fire, thinking it would be more convenient to read and watch the videos with my daughter in that more portable format, but none of the links would work on the Fire.

Each unit is a mix of pages you will want to print and pages that you will probably just want to read off of your computer, because they are primarily pictures or embedded links. These units would be much easier to use if the printables were separated from the viewables, so you don’t have to scroll through each 30 page file to select which pages to print.

 Let's Go Geography printable pages

I would love it if Let’s Go Geography made better use of it’s digital format.

I envision a membership site that has a page for each country/region with information, embedded pictures, and videos. This would be viewable on mobile devices. Or you could even look at the pictures and stream the videos on your TV (if you have a set up for accessing webpages on your TV).

A link for a pdf of printable pages could be included for ease of printing from your computer.  As video links often need to be updated and printables do not, this might also simplify updating the program when a video is no longer available or information needs to be updated.

We love the content of Let’s Go Geography!

Each week, we visit a new country or region, map it, color its flag and add it to a map of that continent, learn about the land and people, watch interesting videos, hear the country’s national anthem, and maybe color a coloring page or do a craft. There are also call numbers to check at your library in case you want to add books (optional). For each visit, there are multiple videos that are fairly short (usually only a few minutes) and you can choose whether or not to view them all.

Emma is putting together a nice little geography portfolio. Each unit has a sheet with some basic info about the country or area, so we include that, her mapping exercise (there are usually mapping activities for younger and older students), coloring page, etc.

Let's Go Geography coloring pages

Let's Go Geography maps

Let's Go Geography craft

We changed the craft project for Canada. The original has you use clear contact paper as a “resist” for the paint.

Emma used crayons to do a wax resist. She also got creative with the placement. I love it when a craft idea leaves plenty of room for creativity.

I would love to see the flag printables changed a bit. For each country or region, there is a page that has a full-color version of that area’s flag and a couple of mini flags to be colored, cut out, and pasted to the continent map (there is a full sheet of flags to print at the end of the unit for co-ops or the classroom).  I’ve wasted a lot of paper and ink printing that page for each unit. I would love it if all the flags for coloring for the year were on one page or a few pages (depending upon how many you can fit on a page) so that I could just print however many copies of those pages I need for the number of children I am using the study with. The full color flags could be embedded in the country’s webpage and viewed online.

Let's Go Geography maps 2

Three times a year there is a “review” week. We haven’t gotten to a review unit, yet, but I like the looks of the first one. Your student will locate all the various countries they’ve been learning about on a map, match up the flags with the countries, learn geography terms (the first review has them learning about the compass rose, longitude, and latitude), color coloring pages, etc.  Reviewing can be dull but this looks pretty fun.

I love that Let’s Go Geography is Do-Able!

For the most part, we’ve been able to complete a lesson in an afternoon. Sometimes we do the craft and sometimes we do the coloring page. Emma always wants to watch all of the videos, because they are interesting. She announced to me during our study of Hawaii that she definitely wants to visit Hawaii some day. Same for Niagara Falls when were studying Canada.

If you are already doing a history program and want to add a geography program, Let’s Go is flexible enough that it’s easy to add.  Emma is also studying medieval history through our classical co-op, so I wasn’t looking for something that would take all week to do.  But if we weren’t doing another program, it would also be easy to do ALL the optional things in Let’s Go and add some books from the library to  flesh it out more.

Overall, I think Let’s Go Geography is a great homeschool geography curriculum at an affordable price.

At the time of this review, it was only $21.99 for a year of geography!  There’s no need to purchase any books, just provide some paper, ink, and a few craft supplies (most of which you may already have).

Let’s Go Geography {Reviews}
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  1. That looks like something my girls would enjoy! And I like the fact that it's online and I wouldn't have to find a place to store a bunch of books. Thank you for sharing


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