I started this post when Natalie was doing World Geography last school year... and never finished it.
I'm completing and publishing it now, even though it's a Quick & Dirty World Geography and not broken up into different parts of the world for different grade levels the way Waldorf does it, because the way we did Geography -- with a focus on hot button topics for each continent -- was extremely valuable in light of the race for U.S. President. (This was inspired by the Waldorf 8th grade topic, "Geography as Related to World Economics.")
Every presidential debate we watched, and we watched them all, Natalie was glad that she learned her Geography this way. She knew what the issues were and so did I.
Here are my notes for how we did it; the photos of her main lesson book pages will be in the following post.
We got HUGE main lesson books for this... 19 inches wide, 13 1/2 inches tall.
First thing we ran out of? Tracing paper!
Strathmore 300 Tracing Pad 11X14 50 sheets
Great thought-provoking books for this topic include
Neither of these are for younger than teens. We are tackling World Geography for the first time -- in 8th grade -- because my daughter hasn't gone to a school which valued it since she left Montessori in second grade.
We also love
The Princeton Encyclopedia of Mammals
We are doing a combination of political maps (Houghton Mifflin traditional outline maps - free PDFs) and biome maps (Waseca Biomes hands-on Montessori materials) to set the basic stage, plus an exploration of a hot button topic for each continent. We looked online at the biome map pictures to see how to color our maps but you can spend $25.00 and get a complete set of the biome maps on paper, one per continent. Or splurge and get their large canvas map of the world with all continents colored by biome instead of labeled politically ($75.00).
I am also, given Natalie's age, using some video resources. Don't take me out back and shoot me; sometimes in rare situations you can't do something better another way. A study of Geography is enriched by actually seeing footage of animals and places, in my opinion.
In the spirit of honesty, I will list some of the things we have used and found helpful. I'm having Natalie cite all her sources at the bottom of her pages.
March of the Penguins - movie
BBC programs on Hulu
- Life in the Freezer, all episodes, with David Attenborough
Warming Oceans May Threaten Krill, a Cornerstone of the Antarctic Ecosystem - 10/19/2015
BBC programs on Hulu
- The Life of Mammals, episode 1 "A Winning Design" (monotremes: platypus, echidna), with David Attenborough
Great Barrier Reef, all episodes
other websites: New Zealand Birds Online - Kakapo
Australia Deploys Sheepdogs to Save a Penguin Colony - 11/03/2015
I had Natalie write a position paper on feral cats and her proposed solution to the problems in Australia and New Zealand.
BBC programs on Hulu
- Wild Indonesia, all episodes
This Dynamic Planet:
World Map of Volcanoes, Earthquakes, Impact Craters, and Plate Tectonics
We have this BEAUTIFUL map on paper because we are good friends with one of the scientists who made it, but you can also pull up great quality graphics of the images. Natalie hadn't heard of the Ring of Fire.
Our Asia section is becoming a bit of a scrapbook. We have a fish print that Natalie made in Kindergarten, two postcards my mom sent us when she went to Vietnam, and some things from my grandparents' years teaching in Japan. I think that main lesson books are personal representations of your experience with the content, but it could be that we are getting a bit off track. No matter. If my kids are connecting and making meaning from what they are learning, that's the ultimate goal of any learning experience.
Natalie read Last Chance to See and chose the Komodo dragon as her research animal for Asia.
After Red Carpet, Xi Jinping Faces a Showdown in Manila
Wall Street Journal (we read the print version), 11/18/2015
China 'must stop' land reclamation in South China Sea - Obama
BBC (online), 11/18/2015
Obama Calls on Beijing to Stop Construction in South China Sea
The New York Times (online), 11/18/2015
Who is Fighting Whom in Syria, The New York Times, 9/30/2015
The Holy Bible Revised Standard Version
Leviticus 19:13, 19, 27-28
Deuteronomy 22:10-12, 22
this was to introduce the idea of religious extremism
five articles from the November 18th issue of the Wall Street Journal
Anti-ISIS Alliance Emerges
White House Defends Screening of Refugees
Dancing with Dictators Against Islamic State
The Case for Accepting Syrian Refugees
Hollande Wants Pact with Russia But Assad Question Looms
one opinion piece from the Southern Illinoisan
What Americans Thought of Jewish Refugees on the Eve of WWII
other websites & research for the Lac Alaotra Lemur:
"Lemur" article in the 1958 World Book Encyclopedia, Volume 10, page 4365
"Bandro" article in The Princeton Encyclopedia of Mammals
Africa: The Serengeti, movie, 1994
episode 1: "The Deep"
episode 2: "The Trap"
episode 3: "The Crossing
Madagascar episode 1, David Attenborough, BBC.
Africa From the Group Up, episodes 1 and 2, on YouTube.
For 40 Lucky Children, an Escape From Congo's Diamond Mines. Time, October 2, 2015
2014 Finding on the Worst Forms of Child Labor Democratic Republic of the Congo. U.S. Dept. of Labor - Bureau of International Labor Affairs Report
Conflict Minerals from the Congo to Your Cellphone. PBS Newshour. October 5, 2013
"Don't Tell These Ministers Their Country Doesn't Exist." The Wall Street Journal. November 24, 2015 (print).
Mediterranean Tree Frog article at the Barcelona Zoo website, Spain
Wild Barcelona: Montjuic Frogs article by Lucy Brzoska. July 28, 2011 (online).
Natalie chose both a plant and an animal for North America: the Musk Ox and the Giant Redwood.
"Musk Oxen, Musk Ox Pictures, Musk Ox Fact" from the National Geographic website
"Musk Ox" article in the 1958 World Book Encyclopedia, Volume 11, page 5237.
"Redwood" article in the 1958 World Book Encyclopedia, Volume 14, pp.6845-6846.
Natalie chose to research two prominent women running for the Republican and the Democratic Presidential Nominee: Carly Fiorina and Hillary Rodham Clinton.
"Coca" article in the 1958 World Book Encyclopedia, Volum 3, pagd 1530.
"Coca" entry in The Columbia Encyclopedia, fifth edition, page 588.
"Cocaine" entry on the National Institute on Drug Abuse website, revised April 2013.
"Last Flight Looms for U.S. Funded Air War on Drugs as Columbia Counts Health Cost". The Guardian. by Sibylla Brodzinsky. May 6, 2015.