Kindergarten is a fickle year. You don’t want to overwhelm your child, but you also want to push them along, delicately showing them new doors to open and new ways of thinking. Sometimes, as a homeschooling parent, we see that not all doors are ready to be open wide. We turn the handle, peek inside, and realize that we need to wait a bit before stepping through. Sometimes we try another door, sometimes we just wait.
I love maps. I have been fascinated with them since I was a young child, as young as Peanut. I can remember pouring over all those map inserts that came with the National Geographic magazines my parents subscribed to. Dreams of faraway places, exotic people, new foods and cultures… As I got older, those same maps hung on my walls, reminding me of how big and wonderous this world really is. Maps brought the world to my doorstep.
I wanted this same sense of wonder to be a big part of Peanut’s world too. Timberdoodle uses Evan Moor Beginning Geography as its Kindergarten Geography option. It’s also available as an E-text you can purchase for download from Evan Moor.
I have heard great things about it, read the review of kids as young as 4 breezing through this book in under 6 months. Not Peanut. But first let me get into the things I really like before I get much further.
If you want to get through this in a typical 36 week school year, you need to do 3 pages a week. This is a nice and easy pace for any child that is capable of reading and writing.
The maps are cute, and remind me of a coloring book. It’s pages are all fun, and ready for a crayon or colored pencil to bring it to life.
Beginning Geography is a gentle introduction to map skills. It has 4 sections:
- Map Skills
- Landforms and Bodies of Water
- Continents and Oceans
- Around the World with Animals
There is no teacher prep, except certain pages may need to be copied if you are not using the e-text, since there are some pages that are meant to be cut and pasted. If you use the page in the book you will destroy the next page, so either copy the pages you need to cut, or do the next page first, then cut… Evan Moor also allows you to reproduce their pages, a big plus!
It begins with “What is a Map?” and the child colors in various objects by color. Easy and fun.
Now the problem we had…Page 6 gave us a reason to pause…
Three pages in, and we hit a problem. Peanut can’t read yet! How am I going to deal with street names? I can tell him what the names are, who lives in the houses, what the other buildings are, but how can I expect a 5 year old to remember 5 street names and 8 building identities? We colored green street green, brown street brown, put the number 1 on first ave, 2 on second ave. Still, this was going to be a challenge.
By page 11, I was starting to consider putting it away for a while till Peanut was older and more advanced in his reading, writing, and drawing skills. By Page 16, that’s what we did.
Here is a link to the first 20 pages so you can see if your little one would be ready for this or not: Beginning Geography Sample
Some Kindergartners will be ready and able to use this book, but it depends on how well they can read and write. Peanut isn’t ready. Not yet. But he will be in a year, maybe two.
One thing we can do, since we have the E-text, is to only use the maps and I have Peanut color them as I tell him what to color, for example “color the tree green, the swings yellow, and the bike red”. Fine motor skill practice!
I know we won’t be doing everything in this book this year, but I want to keep Geography in Peanut’s school week. Like Beginning Geography, Daily Geography Grade 1 is open and go, it’s done with that same coloring book style and encourages coloring. Again, more fine motor practice for Peanut!
Since we have the E-text of this, just like Beginning Geography, I can easily print out what we can use now, and the rest will be waiting for us when Peanut is ready for it.
I really like many of the products put out by Evan Moor. Their spelling, daily writing, etc, will also be on my list of things to use with Peanut in the future.