I don’t know about you, but I am always looking to streamline things in our homeschool. I love it when I can combine different subjects so it doesn’t feel like we are learning separate, unconnected information. Recently, I found two books that I am using to plan some of our lessons for next year. You can use them to plan literature, geography, history/cultural studies and even some science lessons that all relate to each other and would last a whole year.
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Give Your Child the World
The first book is Give Your Child the World by Jamie C. Martin, which is essentially a book about books and can be used to pick your literature choices for the year (or more)! There is a chapter for each continent and then within each chapter there is a list of books that are set on that continent. There is also a chapter of multicultural books. The books are divided by age group and are appropriate for ages 4-12. There is a 3-4 sentence paragraph describing each book so you can really make an informed decision before choosing a book. (Learn more by clicking on pictures.)
A Child’s Introduction to the World
The second book is A Child’s Introduction to The World: Geography, Cultures, and People- From the Grand Canyon to the Great Wall of China by Heather Alexander. This book covers the development of the earth and then has a section dedicated to each continent. It can be a good jumping off point to teach plate tectonics, astronomy, time zones, map skills, layers of the earth, biomes, weather patterns, and cultures. For each continent, geography, culture, history and native animals of the major countries are covered. The book is geared for 9-12 year olds, but you could definitely use it with younger children, with some extra explanation.
Month One of the Plan
I imagine dedicating the first month of school to books listed in the multicultural section of Give Your Child the World. I created a FREE printable that I plan on using with all of the literature throughout the year. It gives your child a chance to practice typical reading comprehension skills about characters, settings, problems, and solutions, as well as to determine how the characters’ culture, location, and time period might influence the story. On the back is a Venn diagram that allows your child to compare his or her life to the main character’s. It is designed to fold in half and be used as a bookmark. You can download it here:
The first month would also be a good time to read from the beginning sections of A Child’s Introduction to the World and dive deeper into plate tectonics and layers of the earth. Some good resources for these topics are listed below.
Then, I plan on studying one continent a month by picking books from Give Your Child the World and studying the corresponding sections of A Child’s Introduction to the World. Study of biomes, weather, geography, art, architecture, and music can be added in as desired. Here are some resources to get all of us started:
We already spent a year studying biomes, so we will just do some quick review this coming year. Here is an overview of what we did so you can plan a whole year of biome study: An Easy Way to Study the Earth’s Biomes.
Our Biome Bundle provides you with notebooking pages and 30 vocabulary cards for each biome. There are also biome sorting mats to review and practice what you have learned:
A Child’s Introduction to Natural History would work in well with many of the other resources here.
An entire unit on weather would also fit with the other subjects. So many science possibilities! Our Weather Vocabulary Concept of the Day Cards can be helpful with this subject.
The Child’s Introduction to the World introduces plate tectonics and layers of the earth. These topics could lead you into the study of rocks, volcanoes, earthquakes, and more. Here are a few books to get you started.
My son gets the book, A Child’s Introduction to Art, every other time we go to the library and it would be a great resource for learning more about art.
Life Led Homeschool is doing a series on Exploring the World Through the Art of Native Peoples.
We enjoyed Take Time for Art projects this past year in our homeschool. Right now their kits cover Europe (Greece, Rome, and the Middle Ages) and Africa (Egypt) and everything you need is included. We really enjoyed them!
Art Class Curator did a series of blog posts a few years ago called Art Around the World, that could be helpful!
For music, checkout the World Music Network or look for some CDs at your local library. Or this CD would be a great resource:
We have used the Practice Makes Perfect Map Skills workbooks in the past and they would go great with the geography piece of these other learning materials.
I created a new set of sorting mats to go with this year’s worth of studies as my youngest still struggles with remembering the continents. They review major countries, ancient civilizations, biomes, and fact for each continent. You could use at the beginning of each month to introduce the continent and then at the end of each month set out the continents the child has learned about so far and let them match the information to the correct continent to review the information! (Click the picture to see a preview of the product.)
A Child’s Introduction to Poetry contains poetry from different time periods and areas of the world! It even contains a CD of poems being read.
My youngest son is going to be reading the Magic Tree House books next school year to continue to practice his reading skills. I have aligned these books with what we are studying in history each week that further aligns with the continent of the month. You can see the organized list of books and extension activities for them in Teaching History with Magic Tree House Books.
There are so many ways you can use the idea of picking literature based around a continent a month to teach all sorts of related information and skills. You can look for videos, make recipes from each place you study, draw the flag for each country you study…the list goes on and on. If you have some other ideas, please comment with them below! I will be updating this post throughout the summer with new ideas!