Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Tapestry on a Tuesday {Spotlight on Geography}

I thought it may be worthwhile to do a mini-series, of sorts, about the different elements involved in Tapestry of Grace. Don't be put off if you don't use TOG (Tapestry of Grace), there will be lots of helpful information in there which would be useful to any home educating parent.

The main areas covered in the curriculum are





Arts & Activities

It would be logical to begin with History, but I had my geography books out yesterday, when I was putting together my Unit 3 Workbooks, so I took a few pictures of those to begin with that.

Where to start? Lets start at the very beginning, a very good place to start...

 (Singing a line from The Sound of Music in my head, now...and so are you, now - SORRY!)

At the beginning of every new year of TOG, there is always a general overview of world geography.  It suggests that you make sure the student knows the major continents, oceans and  landforms.  It also covers the major geographical terms, and suggests that your children learn or review these.

When we are covering these more general topics, we use some readily available atlases.

Our favourites are these....

My general point of view is that you cannot beat a good Usborne title! They are extremely thorough, and very child-captivating in structure and style.

We also, recently, added this to our collection, suggested by a fellow TOGster (TOG "sister").  It covers the major definitions of geographical terms, and bar a few odd ones, all the ones suggested in the TOG "terms to learn" list.

They are accompanied by fun illustrations, which would suit young and older alike!

The wonderful thing about TOG, is that they have maps provided for you to use. The programme is called MapAids.  Obviously, you have to pay for them, but they are well worth the cost! It's a one off cost - once you buy them, you have them forever. You can purchase them per Unit, or per Year, with the usual benefit of it being cheaper to purchase a full year at once. You can also purchase them already printed, ready punched (for 3-ring binders).  Although more convenient, these are less helpful for larger families, where it's perhaps more cost-effective to print your own for each child, as, and when, you need them. It's also not so handy as the digital edition, for those like me, who would have enormous shipping costs for anything that is a "hard" copy.  You don't even need to be a TOG user to use these maps!  You can purchase them through the Tapestry of Grace website, or direct from KnowledgeQuest, but they don't have all the updated ones available there. You could certainly get a taste for them, and see if it wets your appetite to look into TOG further!  Obviously, it's best if you have the WHOLE curriculum, in order to experience the maps in the way they were intended....

Having a map provided, for nearly every week - sometimes more than one -  is just amazingly convenient. They are high quality, and produced by Knowledge Quest, who are industry experts in educational maps. They are mostly black and white, with a very little pale colouring (not heavy on the ink!), on the way through.  I print nearly everything on "fast draft" and it still looks super.

The maps cleverly take you on a journey around the globe, throughout the four year cycle, alongside the curriculum, to explore the geographical areas covered within each week of the curriculum.  Every continent is traversed, as your children label major cities, highways, rivers, oceans, and other points of interest along the way.  Shading and labelling are the two main ways that this is done.  It truly brings history to life, as you begin to understand the man made and natural boundaries, obstacles and expansions, as cultures advance, grow or decline.

There is also the option to do a Transparency Overlay project, where the child uses transparencies and permanent pens to fill in information on a continuing theme, showing changes over time.  I think this sounds like a great thing to do, but it's not an area we have ventured into yet, despite my enthusiasm at the start of the year. I need a willing student, first!

If you want to see more about overlays, visit THIS blog post, by my friend, Pam.

(You can see that more detail has been added in the second image, with another transparency layer added on top of the previous one/s.  This one is based on the subject of the states which were involved in the American War of Independence - or, as they call it, the Revolutionary War!)

 TOG suggests various different resources for your child to refer to, when filling out their maps.  They vary throughout the years, depending on the period of history covered.  Sometimes the information may be in the books listed as general references books, or they may be books specifically relating to geography and maps.

These are a few we having been using, so far, in Year 1, specific to mapwork.

This first one is a top little reference book, for any Bible scholar.  Not only is it available as a pocket edition, but it's packed to the gunwales with Biblical references and factual information relating to the maps. This information helps you to grasp a better understanding of Bible events, and where they took place in relation to each other.  

This book is suitable for younger, grammar level students, or for any age group.  These next two are recommended for older students, and my Dialectic aged child is currently using them.

The Kregel Bible Atlas sits somewhere between the more simple Bible Atlas and Companion, and the Holman Bible Atlas.  It has factual information, accompanied by maps, drawings and photographs. Whilst the Bible Atlas and Companion deals with Bible references, the Holman and the Kregel delve into other events happening at the same time as Bible events, giving you a bigger picture of what was happening in the world. 

Next, we currently use Journey Through the Bible.  The emphasis of this is more of a "fill in the gaps" from a cultural and historical standing, as you travel through Bible events.  For each Bible event it provides you with scriptural references, a narrative of information relating to those passages, and pictures and maps to go along with it. 

 For example,  in the page shown below, the story of the sun standing still at Aijalon is covered.  There is Biblical reference of Joshua 10:1-28, information about the battle and who and what was involved, illustrations of possible weapons that would have been used, and a map outlining the battle strategy which was implemented, as well as a photo of what the valley looks like today.  It's all very useful information, and very easy to follow.

This final book is also an invaluable title for any Christian home, but is specifically suggested for Rhetoric level students.  It's a larger, "meatier" book, with far more written information than the one above.  The maps are more detailed, and varied, and it also includes charts with timelines, as well as 3D maps and photos of current day locations connected to the historical information.  These allow you to grasp the majesty and beauty of many Bible land locations, not fully grasped when reading the scriptures.  Although this final one is suggested for Rhetoric students, it is a useful reference tool for any child and level.

Above and below are examples of  a 3D map, and a timeline list.

Another tremendously helpful tool in MapAids, are.. the TEACHER maps! Yes, there are reference maps, to allow you to see what the student should have filled in on their maps.  For the first four years, I would end up printing this map off if we struggled to find all the details we were supposed to be filling in.  It took me four years, but I came up with a nifty solution.  Given my love for binding, I printed off the entire year of teacher maps, and bound them together as our "Teacher Maps" reference book! When things get really tricky - and only if we REALLLLLY can't find the information elsewhere - it becomes our reference for filling in final details. In essence, it's simply using another "atlas", in a slightly cheating way, but as it's like "copywork" for maps, it's still a valuable tool in our homeschool setting.  It's better to have the maps filled in fully by simply "copying", than to not fill in the detail at all.  FINDING the answer for yourself is ALWAYS a great way to learn, but needs must, at times!

It looks just like our Student Workbooks, but is labelled according to which Year the maps are for, and that it is the Teacher's book.  It lives with my  TOG files, rather than on the shelf with the other atlases, and is only given when a child requests it, upon exhausting all other means of finding the answers.

Meanie teacher...

I was about to wind this thing up, when I remembered something else, which we haven't done in a LONNNNNNG time, but is immensely fun (though rather messy.... hence explanation of the length of time since we last did it. *aherm*)  It's making a SALT DOUGH MAP! You mix up a batch of salt dough, and recreate a geographical feature, or region, relating to your studies.  It helps the child grasp the topography of the area, as it's in 3D, as well as the flora and fauna, as your paint it according to the ground cover, and geographical features, of the region. I particularly remember doing on of Italy, and I can still remember where the mountainous regions are in that region!  If your child is very hands-on, then this method of learning geography will be RIGHT up their street.

This is one of Italy, which we did at the start of Year 2, first time around.

This is the children doing one of an imaginary island, containing major geographical features. I must have not taken a photo of the finished product, though! Sorry!

Alternatively, if you have a sweet tooth, a COOKIE DOUGH map may be your ticket.

Geography + a sweet treat = why, yes please!

(Image kindly donated by my TOGster, Pam. Find more about making these yummy maps in her blog post here.)

(This one is from another TOGster, Tricia. Read more about it on her log post here.)

Another clever one which Trica did, was PIZZA DOUGH maps! Yes, the food theme carries on with great aplomb!

I think I have covered all the bases for Geography, but if I think of anything else, or one of my TOGsters lets me know I missed anything, I will come back and amend the post.

I hope this has been useful to you, whether you already use TOG, are thinking about it, or just if you need a few ideas for geography in your own setting.

I'm linking up with Lisa, over at Tales of a Homeschool Family, if you want to see other posts from TOG users.


No comments :

Post a Comment