Monday, June 17, 2013

Joshua Loves Learning Geography from Memoria Press - A TOS Review Crew Review

 photo mp_header_zps9aa8d9dc.jpg

Last night I sat down to work on this review but got a bit sidetracked. As I was thinking of these materials and how much Joshua likes them, I began thinking of our journey with Joshua that has led us to the place where we are now. If you would like to read about that journey just go back to the previous before this one on my blog. It will tell you a lot about why Joshua absolutely loves and excels at learning about other countries. I'll give you the short version as to why we were so thrilled to receive Geography I - The Middle East, North Africa and Europe from Memoria Press

Joshua is our middle child who was blessed with Asperger's Syndrome which is on the autism spectrum. One of the traits of some asperger's kids is that they latch on to certain subjects or things and become "little professors" and learn all that they can learn about that thing. Joshua has gone through Thomas the Train when he was younger to bowling, football, helicopters, WWE Wrestling (I hang my head in shame at that one Smiley). Most recently it has been geography. Thankfully this phase has lasted for a few years now and has really developed and expanded. So, now you know the short version of why we are so excited to now own the Memoria Press fourth grade Geography I course. 

I say fourth grade, but the Geography I description on the website actually says fourth grade plus. Let me explain why I think that description of "fourth grade plus" is really spot on. We have been blessed to review and to personally buy a lot of Memoria Press materials over the years and have really enjoyed using them. Memoria Press, however, is a very advanced curriculum. Unless you have a child that is used to the Memoria Press curriculum, is advanced in their own right, or has a particular interest in a subject, you may have to adjust the curriculum a bit. Although Joshua fit into one of those categories because he has a great interest in geography, because of his aspergers syndrome and small motor problems we did adjust how we used it a bit and, as I write this review, I will tell you how. 

When you receive the Geography I course from Memoria Press you actually receive a whole packet of materials. If you used the third grade materials from Memoria Press then you studied the states and capitals of the United States. The Geography I packet contains a "States & Capitals Review" Student Workbook and Teacher Key, Quizzes, & Tests book to be used once a week during the year while your student studies The Middle East, North Africa, and Europe. It is a great review that has the United States divided into eight sections. You review one section a week for eight weeks then start all over again. Each time they change it up and review the states and capitals in just a slightly different way. Unfortunately, although we have studied states and capitals some with Joshua, we haven't studied them enough for him to really be able to use this portion of the Geography I set. I am looking forward to supplementing using these more next year as supplementary material for a more formal study of the states and capitals.

 photo Geography1-CompleteSet_zps84b09173.png

The United States review was a great bonus, but the Geography I - The Middle East, North Africa and Europe was what we were really anxious to sink our teeth into. We received three books, the Student Text, the Student Workbook, and the Teacher Guide, to aid us in this study that is intended to be done about three times a week. Memoria Press has this region of the world divided into eight sections for study purposes - Middle East, North Africa, Mediterranean Europe, Central Europe, The British Isles and the Low Countries, Scandinavia, Eastern Europe: Part I and Eastern Europe: Part II. Let me describe each book separately and how we used it.

The Student Text - One thing that we have been very blessed with in our children is their ability to read higher level things. Joshua's problem is not his reading ability, it is his hyper activity and attention span. He can't sit still long enough to read long chapters in books, his reading material needs to be in short spurts. That is what I really liked about the Geography I Student Text. Each country description is one page long with a map of the country on the opposite page. The text for each country includes sections titled "History's Headlines" that gives a brief history of the country, and "Tour of Today" that talks about what is going on in the country now. It also contains a chart, "Fast Facts" that gives the capital, other major cities, languages, population, religion, etc. about the country, along with some black and white pictures of or about the country and the flag of the country. Although the pictures in the book are black and white, the Memoria Press website has a link where you can view all of the pictures from the Student Text in color. Joshua found the text very interesting and loved it. Although he didn't have any problem reading it but it does seem to be written at a little higher level than what most fourth grade students are accustomed to. The "Teaching Guidelines" did say, though, that the text could either be read by the student or the teacher could read it aloud in class. 

The Student Workbook - Here is where Joshua had a little bit of a problem. However, it was not with the workbook itself. The workbook is very simple. Each country has only one page to fill out. It includes the country name, capital, ancient name, and a section called "Fun Facts" where the student fills in two or three fun facts that were either given to him by the teacher, or found by the student himself in the text. The bottom part of the page is a map that is to be filled in using the terms from a word bank. As I mentioned, the workbook is very easy to fill out and is not complicated at all. The problem is that Joshua has very poor writing skills because of his small motor problems. It is very difficult for him to write let alone label and color a map. So, for this section I just asked him the questions and we discussed the text and other things - basically doing it together. Since we only had about eight weeks to review this material, next year, we are going to delve into it all more and I am going to have him fill in the student workbook more doing a little each day. I think he could handle that.

The Teacher Guide - Is basically the same as the Student Workbook with the answers filled in, but also includes quizzes and tests to be given throughout the study.

We really, really, enjoyed this material and, as mentioned above, we plan on continuing to use this next year. That is the real "mark" of whether we really like something or not - are we planning on continuing to use something. With Geography I - The Middle East, North Africa and Europe from Memoria Press that is a resounding "YES!".

Another "mark" as to whether or not we like curriculum is the price. Can you believe that all of the material listed above costs only $48 if bought together?! The materials can also be purchased separately. The separate items range from $5 - $14.95 in price. You can find all of this by clicking here or on any one of the hi-lighted links above. Happy world hopping!

Many other TOS Review Crew members reviewed this and other items from Memoria Press and you can find what they had to say by clicking on the banner below.

 photo DisclaimerGraphic1_zpsf612f371.gif

No comments:

Post a Comment