Friday, December 26, 2008

HOAC- International Geography Review

I recently had the opportunity to review Hands Of A Child (HOAC) International Geography Pack. I like lapbooking, and notebooking in general as a homeschooling tool and HOAC packs specifically because the activities and booklets are ready to use.

The International Geography pack's Table of Contents includes the Science of Geography, the Five Themes of Geography, Studying the Earth, Branches of Geography, Globes, Time Zones, Maps, Types of Geography, The Physical World, Wildlife, Density & Distribution, Careers in Geography, Making a Living, a Vocabulary List and an Activity List. There are sixty-four vocabulary words listed along with twenty-one different activities. The Bibliography includes seven books and two web-site references. There are an additional twenty-one activities to do for the "Lapbook a Country" section, which covers the five themes of geography for any country you choose to study.

As far as geography goes, the HOAC pack does a great job of introducing the student to the basics of geography. I think that this pack, like other lapbooks, vary in effectiveness depending on the goals of the class. If you are using them simply as a general overview of a subject, they are stand-alone. If, however, you want to delve into a subject and use them as a both guide and reinforcement than you'll need to do some additional planning. For instance, for the vocabulary, I would set up a schedule of words to be learned (i.e. memorized) each week and make flashcards. Secondly, I would dedicate an area with old magazines to be cut up, maps, globes and atlas' to be referenced. I would also have some additional Geography texts around to beef up the activities along with some puzzels. I am totally sold on the country puzzels that Timberdoodle sells- worth every penny! Lastly, we would have spent more time reading biographies of ancient geographers and it would have been handy for HOAC to recommend some.

I used the on-line version of the pack this time (in the past, I've had the comb bound copy) and while it is good to be able to pick and choose which pages you might want to print, I found it (as a visual person myself) difficult to keep track of where I was at and found myself frequently running back upstairs to print off another page (we used it for 3 kids at once). We also found one of the booklets difficult to make and never could figure it out. We improvised, which is easy to do, and no one knows the difference.

My boys, especially, loved having permission to spend lots of time delving into Old National Geographics to find pictures for the various activities and it reinforced their love for maps, directions and all things geographic. This is definitely a class for upper elementary students (3rd -6th grade) and even Jr. and Sr. Highers with some additional planning. and a great way to introduce your students to the wonders of the geography. What would be really fun would be to use the study pack in a group and have a Geography Fair at the end of the year with displays, food, and costumes!

You can find more great lapbooking resources at the Hands of A Child website here. Don't forget to check out the quarterly freebie- a great reason to check HOAC web-site regularly!

No comments: