Learning through literature can help you easily make geography come to life for your kids.
Discover what homeschool geography curriculum I'm using with my youngest boy to take our learning adventures to the next level (and why these resources are so fun and engaging)!
Disclaimer: I received this product for free and was compensated for my time. As always, I’m sharing my honest opinions and was not required to provide a positive review.
Why I'm Using Geography to Connect & Enrich Learning
I wasn't quite sure how to approach this upcoming homeschool year with my youngest. He's 8 - super excited about pretty much everything and eager to learn more. Xman has been his big brothers' wingman for most subjects. I knew it was time for him to spread his wings and explore his interests on his own.
When I asked him what he's like to study for his third grade year, he didn't even hesitate, "Let's do geography!"
Inwardly, I groaned. My friends and family know how geographically challenged I am. For the life of me, I struggle with remembering state capitals, let alone being able to point out different states in the midwest. (I grew up in New Jersey - I'm pretty good with New England states but then start to slip.)
Outwardly, I smiled and agreed. I couldn't help but be swept up by his huge grin and enthusiasm.
I knew that if we were going to do this geography thing that I'd need an excellent curriculum to guide our studies. I also wanted to be smart about it and see if I could combine subjects to save some time.
After a bit of research and chatting with some friends, Xman and I agreed that the Geography Through Literature Pack K-3 from Beautiful Feet Books was the way to go.
Learning through literature has been such a positive experience with my older boys that I felt strongly that this approach could help us make the most of these new adventures.
What You'll Find in This Geography Through Literature K-3 Pack
My boys and I are having a blast as we explore the 50 States of America with this package.
Before we started our dive into learning about each state, the Teacher Guide led us through the an introduction to geography and the fundamentals of mapping.
- Teacher Guide: beautiful resource with 103 pages with:
- 36 weekly lessons (We chose to break it down into 2 lessons per week for a semester study. OR you may choose to do 1 lesson per week for a year of geography fun.)
- Dig Deeper - Suggested resources (books, websites, videos, and hands-on activities) to go down rabbit trails and expand the study of the topic.
- Explore Your World - Ideas for exploring the area that you're studying. If you live in that area, you'll find inspiration for field trips and outings.
- Culinary Connection - (our favorite part!) Explore geography through food! Suggested recipes (based on crops in the area or cultural history) are found in each section.
- Map: large (36" by 24") foldable blank map of the 50 states of America with plenty of space to color, add labels, compass rose, and legend
- 11 books:
- There's A Map On My Lap!: All About Maps
- Geography from A to Z: A Picture Glossary
- The United States Activity Pack and Fact Book
- Our 50 States: A Family Adventure Across America
- Grandma Gatewood Hikes The Appalachian Trail
- Mike Fink
- Follow the Drinking Gourd
- Wagon Wheels
- Apples to Oregon
- They're Off! The Story of the Pony Express
- Southwest Sunrise
- Free Downloads: optional printable activities
- Picture Packet
- Bible Verse Memory Work
Our Experiences with Geography Through Literature Pack K-3
To put it in Xman's words: "This is totally awesome! I just want to keep going and going!"
Both of us like how the lessons flow. We do a bit of reading, maybe watch a video or two, go back to some reading, enjoy a hands-on activity, then plan our Culinary Connection.
Xman is like many 8-year-old boys. Sitting in one place for too long can be torture. Mixing things up has been a fantastic way to keep him engaged and focused.
I initially thought that Xman and I would go with the 1 lesson per week for a year of geography fun. Well, he was so excited and begged me to do more! We're now working on 2 lessons per week so it will be a semester-ish study.
Since he's at the upper age level recommended for this package (K-3), he's not having any struggles. If you have younger kids (Kindergarten or grade 1), you may want to go with the year-long option.
Map work has been phenomenal. Xman has picked up on so much by customizing the large blank map. He gets a big kick out of showing his work to our family, too.
We've kept the map folded when not in use. When it's time for map work, we simply unfold it onto the floor and dive in. Xman likes to spread out his coloring and writing tools and pick as he goes.
Our plan is to hang the map up in our homeschool area (a.k.a. dining room) when it's complete. It already looks so cool that I can't wait to have this special masterpiece adorn our walls!
Oh, and the books have been such lovely additions to our homeschool! Xavier is ecstatic "that we have our own geography library now!".
It's suggested that your student keep a Geography Notebook. At first, Xman wasn't thrilled with this idea. He'd much rather be drawing than writing. We've compromised - after recording the terms for the lesson, he gets to draw what they mean to him. Now, he looks forward to it!
My Thoughts on Our Geography Learning Through Literature
I've greatly appreciated having the support and inspiration for helping Xman make his geography learning wish come true.
Learning through literature has been an excellent way to spark his curiosity. And having all the books that we need on hand has made it easy to help him jump from resource to resource without missing a beat.
I wouldn't have had such a successful start (or continuation) of our geography learning adventures without the Teacher Guide. It's an extremely helpful resource to have as a spine (structure) to jump off of and hop down rabbit trails (then come back to that structure. A squirrel mom (a.k.a. easily distracted) like me greatly benefits from having this type of resource, especially with a subject that I struggle with.
With the Teacher Guide, I appreciate:
- the flexibility and reminder that you don't have to do every single suggested thing
- the list of recommended resources and books - makes it super easy to find additional ways to explore and enjoy all 50 states of America
- its aesthetic - beautiful pictures enhance using it (like my dear friend, Dianna at The Kennedy Adventures, told me, "It's so pretty it looks like it belongs on a coffee table!")
I'm geeking out about the hands-on learning with the map (and prompts to remember to do it!). I wasn't quite so sure how this experience would turn out for Xman. He has perfectionistic tendencies (like, wadding up a piece of paper into a ball and throwing it at a wall if he's not happy with one of his drawings).
But, I'm so glad we've been doing this map work! It's been a wonderful way for him to apply his artistic skills to geography. Plus, Xman practices relaxation techniques (like deep breathing and affirmations) when he gets frustrated or doesn't like his first attempt. We talk about how he can turn that attempt into a different part of his map and that makes him happy 😊
We love to get in the kitchen and experiment with different recipes. Culinary Connection has been a fantastic way to extend the learning fun, teach and practice kitchen skills, and explore other areas of the United States in our kitchen. The best part is that Xman is so proud of his creations, sharing the food with our family, and telling us all about the area the dish comes from.
It has been so cool learning about different dishes from around the country - and how we can customize the plans to work for our family. For example, when we got to Maryland, crab cakes were suggested. I'm allergic to all types of seafood so that was a no.
Xman and I researched "traditional Maryland desserts" (we both have a sweet tooth!) and found Smith Island Cake. After a bit of online research, we discovered that this dessert dates back to the 1800s. Families would send this rich cake along with oystermen as they went out on long harvests. The fudge frosting lasts longer than buttercream. My brother-in-law is from the Eastern Shore of Maryland and says it's a popular treat in the area.
We found this recipe from Sally's Baking Addiction and decided to go for it. Our version didn't quite look like her example but it was delicious (and all of my boys raved about it!).
FAQs about This Geography Through Literature Pack K-3
If you're like me, you read the highlights and bullet points of homeschool curriculum reviews to get to the juicy stuff. You can find out more about Geography Through Literature Pack K-3 (and Beautiful Feet Books) HERE.
Here are a few things that I'd want to know when checking out this learning through literature approach to geography:
Nope! You can easily customize your pack. After the product description, you'll find two buttons. The top bottom says "View Included Books". I encourage you to look at each book to make sure you'll have the suggested edition available to you. The bottom button says "Customize Your Pack Here". After selecting that button, you'll be able to select/deselect books in your pack.
That depends on how long you want it to take!
You can spread out a lesson over an entire week, spending about 10-15 minutes per day. Or you can enjoy an entire lesson in one day.
The length of lesson depends on your child's age (Kindergarten and first grade may need more time with reading or writing) and how much you choose to do.
For example, if you're having a busy week, you may not get to the Culinary Connection. Totally okay! Either revisit the recipe(s) later or just skip it.
Our geography lessons with learning through literature averages between 25-35 minutes per day (keep in mind Xman wants to do about 2 lessons per week).
Absolutely! In fact, Bear (11) often pops into our lessons. He can't stay away from good books and hands-on learning opportunities. Bear even wanted to make a Geography Notebook, too.
Younger kids (toddlers and preschoolers) would enjoy snuggling up as you read books like Grandma Gatewood Hikes the Appalachian Trail and There's a Map on My Lap!.
The only consumable items are the large blank map and The United States Activity and Fact Book. If your kids don't mind working together on the map, you'd only need one. I would recommend customizing your pack with extra copies of the activity and fact book if more than one child will be participating in your lessons.
Great question! You'll find all the details here on the Beautiful Feet Books site.
Currently, the Geography Through Literature K-3 pack is $139.95. When you break that down over 36 lessons, it's only $3.89 per lesson - less than a fancy coffee!
If you have questions about this learning through literature approach for geography fun, please let me know in the comments area below. Of course, the best place to go is Beautiful Feet Books 😉
Oh, and you can join Beautiful Feet Books subscriber list to keep up with all their latest and greatest PLUS sales!
Make Geography Fun by Learning Through Literature!
High five! I think it's wonderful that you're interested in making geography fun and engaging for your kids.
I can already tell that this Geography Through Literature Pack K-3 will be one of Xman's favorite parts of our homeschool year. He has been enthusiastically sharing all about it with our family and friends. Xman even mentions becoming a cartographer (map maker - one of the terms from our first lesson - he thinks it would be so cool!).
Pop on over to Beautiful Feet Books and get the nitty-gritty on this package. Those books are amazing!
While you're there, make sure to explore their other packages. I have my eyes on these learning through literature packs:
- Early American Intermediate Pack - Looks like a great option for Xman for 4th grade!
- Teaching Character Through Literature Intermediate Pack - I'm actually considering this one for Bear (11) for this year.
- History of Classical Music Intermediate Pack - Another one that I'm eyeballing for this year! I think Bear (11) and Smiley (13) would enjoy it - plus, I'm sure Xman wouldn't mind being wingman 😉
Let me know if you have any questions about Geography Through Literature K-3 Pack. Wishing you tons of geography fun!