This year my at my local homeschool convention I had the opportunity to hear Sonya Shafer from Simply Charlotte Mason Speak. Wow! I learned so much. I had already long-followed her blog and read through much of the site. There are so many wonderful and free resources to get a grasp of ins and outs of the Charlotte Mason method. There are so many lovely products and books that are there as well. I love how affordable all of it is. I think most homeschool moms can appreciate that.
One of the things I grabbed at her store was one of the of the Visits to Geography Series books. I had planned to use Visits to the Middle East for 5th grade when we re-visit the ancients, but I liked it so much that I decided to buy the download of Visits to Europe to use this year.
I love the simplicity of these guides. There are 36 lessons - one for each week of the school year. We actually started this later on in the year. It was easy to do more than one lesson per week, so if you wanted to do a few continents you could easily. One of the books is this free Charlotte Mason reader that you can download from Google Books. I printed just the Europe portion.
The other two spines are Material World and Hungry Planet. These are wonderful books! They are slightly outdated, but you still get a really great picture of what it is like to live in these countries.
These past few weeks we have been in Germany. In Hungry Planet you read about how a family eats in the country you are studying. There is a picture of what a whole week's food looks like in that place.
Sometimes there are authentic recipes from that place. Silas was horrified by these Beef Rouladen. I actually think I'm kind of tempted to try them just for good measure. I could probably tempt Nate to eat them, but the kids not so much. These are rolled up and cooked in a cast iron skilled.
In Material World there are pictures of a family's possessions. It's really neat to see how people live all over the world. What's great about the above 2 books is that they are used with all the Visits' guides, so you use them again and again.
There is also a list of family books that goes along with the places. They are for k-3, but I think they are worth reading even for older kids. These have been excellent books! I especially loved Orani. We still have Children of the Northlights and Katje the Windmill Cat left.
I absolutely love to cook, so any inspiration to do so is a win-win for me and my family. These cookbooks aren't suggested in Visits, but we used them in MFW ECC. The recipes are simple, but give you a great picture of what the food is like in those places. I've collected a few more since I took this picture. They're usually a penny plus shipping on Amazon. I usually have Silas read the intro, so he learns a little about the culinary culture of the place we are reading about.
when we studied Germany last year.
Here is an example of week 1's map and then Week 30. Silas has gotten great at getting all the countries right. Each few lessons new countries are introduced. They have to fill in the blank map before seeing the map again. It's a good method of practice.
There are also map drawing exercises. You are directed to use tracing paper which we use and then tape to the right side when he's done. You could probably free hand it instead if you're brave.
The Material World and Hungry Planet discussion pages are written out as well. WE do these orally though with an older child it could be done independently if you wanted. We absolutely love SCM Visits and look forward to traveling the Middle East next year.
Have you used SCM Visits? Do you have a geography program you love too? I would love to hear about it!