Friday, September 21, 2012

Homeschool Review: Maps, Charts, and Graphs B: Neighborhoods

Maps, Charts, and Graphs B: Neighborhoods from Modern Curriculum Press

We used Maps, Charts, and Graphs A in first grade. (See my review here.) Because First Son enjoyed it so much, we continued with the series in second grade using Maps, Charts, and Graphs B.

We don't have many workbooks here on the Range, but I like using this series. It covers a variety of map-reading skills in a colorful and straight-forward format. As with the first book, First Son was able to read the directions himself and work independently. I would occassionally follow up with some questions or help him through a lesson. The majority of the questions are multiple choice or require marking on a map (e.g. "Put an X on the wall display that tells about Very Old Fish.").

We do a great amount of map work in history and geography, but in those subjects we focus on natural geography (mountains, rivers, etc.) or historical events (battles etc.) while this book focuses on skills like using a legend and cardinal directions. There's nothing here I couldn't teach First Son on my own, but it's nice to have a series laid out without any planning and one that First Son loves.

Topics for the lessons include globes (good to have one on hand for the lesson), parts of a map or globe, cardinal directions, using a grid, map symbols (based on a key), scale and distance, finding directions on a road map, answering questions using a map, following directions, continents, the geography of North America (a lesson really designed for children who live in one of the states), pictographs, tallygrams, bar graphs, and flow charts. Of the 21 lessons, the last five lessons are on charts and graphs. Those are the least valuable, in my opinion, because we cover them much more extensively in math.

Though First Son would happily have completed the entire book in one sitting, I insisted on just one lesson a week. It was always a treat for him when I put it on his pile.

It's not quite clear to me how they chose the titles for each book in the series (Neighborhoods for Book B, for example). They seem to me to cover similar topics but in increasing amount of detail and complexity. Book C, for example, (which we're using now) has more words per page and requires more writing in the answers as opposed to circling one of the choices.

As before, I've been assigning a lesson a week to First Son to do while the girls are at our local library's story hour. They're engaging enough for him to focus while the other kids are doing their own activities but simple enough for him to complete (along with a few other short activities) with plenty of time to run around in the gym. It's still one of his favorite lessons.

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