Somehow I have not succumbed to the ‘buy curriculum because I just love it’. I’ve made a 4-year plan of where the boys need to go for their high school career and have bought curriculum accordingly. It saves a ton of money and wastes not. The requirements for state of Georgia students to graduate are three history-related courses, with even more specific requirements. They will need a world history, an U.S. history, plus one other. In co-op this coming year, for their 9th grade year, they will be taking a World/Bible history class which will fulfill their world history requirement. Beginning in 10th grade we will purchase Core 100 from Sonlight for their US history requirement.
Because of the immensity of these curriculums we will most likely take two years to complete Core 100. I have no problem with this whatsoever. Because they have four years of high school to complete three history requirements it actually gives us some wiggle room.
This brings us to the third requirement for history. I have selected geography. One of the things I realized while I was in the military, studying meteorology, and then forecasting, many people (even me at times) didn’t know their geography. Thus, selecting geography for the Georgia Boys was out of foreknowledge that if kids back then didn’t know geography why I should assume kids today will know it. In fact, in my meteorology class at co-op I noticed exactly that when we were analyzing charts in the U.S. And I don’t want that for the boys. The curriculum is actually a world geography and culture history course. The curriculum is a notebook-based curriculum. The Georgia Boys will be filling a notebook-full, each, on Africa, Australia, Antarctica (yes! Antarctica. It is included in our studies too.), Asia, South America, Europe, and North America. About each continent, students will learn geography, history, religion, culture, key people, and current events/issues. They will employ timelines, maps, research, and hands-on "doing" for this curriculum from a Christian perspective. This curriculum is not textbook-oriented but is based on researching, reasoning, relating, and recording. Around the World in 180 Days, published by Apologia, is the same publishers we use for the boys’ science classes in co-op that are Christian-based, Creation-based textbooks.
As the boys began winding down with their homeschool I began preparing for the coming years work in geography. This curriculum only consists of a teacher’s book and sets of student pages for each continent for a notebook, and no textbooks. This meant I had to prepare lesson plans. And, I had to find accompanying textbooks and other reading materials. The teacher’s book lists suggested textbooks which I set out finding. I have borrowed and purchased mostly via Amazon, used books. I have also been on our local libraries website to see which books I can check out rather than have to borrow or buy. This may seem like an expensive endeavor but this Geography class will be completed over a two-year course, and anything I have to buy will be spread out over those two years, as needed. In addition, I’m buying used, not new and hunting for bargains.
After reading many reviews on this curriculum I realized for the Georgia Boys to be successful with this course I would need to set them up for success. I noticed that many parents who reviewed the curriculum seemed to let their kids ‘have at it’ without any preparation and the kids got frustrated. Or the parents weren’t willing to prepare or put the time necessary into creating guidelines for their children. I don’t fault the parents because many curriculums today come ready, set, go. The parent doesn’t have to do anything.
But that meant I would need to prepare lesson plans, a syllabus if you will, of their daily assignments and have the necessary materials available for their research if they were going to succeed and like the course. Again, because of reviews I created the syllabus to break up any possible monotony from just answering questions. For instance, one day the boys will map the continent. Another day they might develop a brochure for a location of interest, or research an animal of the country, or visit a missionary, or an explorer. They might record the five W’s about an important person, etc.
I have also prepared a notebook with tabs for them. The tabs serve to keep them organized: maps, activities, geography questions, terms, missionaries, and current events. All of their work, whether it is a summary, defining terms, writing a paper, or coloring maps will be put into their notebooks under the correct tab. The syllabus I’ve created identifies which tab each assignment goes. I have also created a separate syllabus for each continent.
This took time. I went through the entire teacher’s manual, page by page, question by question, term by term and began breaking them up into daily assignments and incorporating suggested reading, added in weekly current event assignments, and studying of missionaries. Because my original plan was to break the course up into two-years I didn’t worry if a daily assignment was only one question researched, reasoned, related and recorded, and in fact some days are only one question and some involve mapping an entire continent of countries.
The syllabus looks like this:
which week they are in for each continent and the day of the week.
The assignment might be specified on the syllabus, or a page number and question number from their student manual that specifies the assignment. I am not under any illusions that I won’t have to make changes as we go. And that is ok.
I should be able to gauge after only a month or two if this syllabus is working or if it needs refining. All in all I'm very excited. I think the boys are looking forward to the interaction we'll have because of it.
Note: I would like to offer my lesson plans for this curriculum for FREE if anyone would like them. Just leave a contact in the comments section and I'll email the documents to you.