I LOVE geography. I have memories of playing with map board games and puzzles as a kid, committing the boarders to memory. When I was in my young 20’s I had a conversation with a co-worker, in which I sketched a map of the world on post-it notes. So when I saw that Beautiful Feet Books had a new geography literature pack for early elementary, I was so excited! The summer that part one was released, my cousin gave me the guide book for Part One, and Maps by Aleksandra Mizielinska and Daniel Mizielinski, which is one of the core books for the curriculum. The very next school year I dove in with both feet! My kids and I LOVED it!!! So much so, that we were very excited to start part two this year.
Before I get too far into the curriculum review, I would like to be upfront and say that I was not able to buy the literature pack brand new from the company, due to financial restraints. So I turned to ThriftBooks.com to find a few of the books at a discount. I also searched my local library.
Around The World With Picture Books – Part One
Part One is a study of Australia, Antarctica, and countries in Asia and Africa. In the literature pack, there are one or two picture books for each country studied. These books are considered the core books. The guide book has a few lessons designated for each country. Every country starts with one lesson looking at maps and discussing where in the world the country in question is located. The second lesson introduces the picture book for that country. After that, each country has 2 to 7 other lessons. These extra lessons discuss notable people from each nation, the history of that country, and a list of extra picture books you can borrow from the library to enrich that country’s study. Each lesson ends with a quick look at some of the animals of the country, and a few recipes for a taste of national dishes.
The first month we tried Part One, we started with the country of China. We were having so much fun with all the other lessons, and taking our time exploring this incredible country. At first I had that panic feeling and little voice in my head, telling me not to lag too long on one place…but then my homeschool mom brain turned on and I realized my kids were really getting SO much with us taking our time. So much so, that 18 months later, they remember facts and stories we read then. I decided within that first year that I would study one country a month, and for the most part, that’s what I did. There were a few countries that only had four lessons per country, so I did two of those in one month. Doing one or two lessons a week, focusing the way I did, made it possible to complete Part One in one school year. The kids all liked the study of China the best, the picture books suggested were just stunning, and memorable. My favorite was the study of Antarctica. I loved the history of explorers who discovered and mapped the frozen continent.
Around The World With Picture Books – Part Two
Part Two came out a year after Part One did. I bought the teacher’s guide as soon as I could and started planning this year’s study.
Part Two covers Europe and South America. I knew that I wanted to teach Early American History this year as well. I use Beautiful Feet Books Early American History, both Primary and Intermediate and they start in Europe, so I have been jumping around in the Around The World guide book, matching the countries we are reading about in History with a country to study with the ATW books. Some times I can match the studies exactly, for example, when we were learning about Christopher Columbus, we studied Italy and Spain. When we studied the Pilgrims, we studied England and Holland. Sometimes I can match them from the general areas, for example, when we studied Leif the Lucky, we were reading about his time in Greenland, and the stories of his discoveries of what is now Canada, we also learned about his father who had lived in Norway and Iceland. The Around The World didn’t have a study on any of those countries, BUT there was a study of Sweden. So shortly after learning about Leif, I introduced the Sweden study, making sure to show how close the countries are to each other.
So far, combining EA history with ATW 2 has been seamless and fun! AND, I found a few separate study guides from a different company for grammar that go HAND IN HAND with the books suggested in the Beautiful Feet Books guides. You can hear about that curriculum on my grammar review podcast episode HERE.