Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Around the World

I find myself attracted to people who are curious about the world, about the people in it, about places they have never been. Their conversations inspire me to be more alive, more curious and adventuresome. Of all people in the world, those who have an investment in eternal things ought also to give wide attention to temporal things--to be on the cutting edge of life. No one can ever know everything, but good stewardship of our years ought to mean we push ourselves beyond the smallness of our life into the largeness of the world God created.

--Gladys Hunt in Honey for a Woman's Heart

I have always been interested in world geography. As a child visiting my grandparents' house, I remember gazing at my grandfather's globe for what seemed an eternity; reading the names of the countries, wondering who lived there, imagining what it would be like to travel to each place.

My bookshelves are beginning to sag under the weight of books, homeschool resources, and curriculum purchased the last few years. The one thing I can never turn down is a book or game or anything about world geography. Last year I purchased an audio CD of geography songs and would play it every day. About two weeks into this kick, Levi said, "Not the British Isles, again!" in the most exasperated voice he could muster. Maybe he just didn't like my singing. The songs were infectious. My sister, Holly, decided to purchase the CD for her kids. A month or two later my sisters, mother, and I went on a girls' trip. Holly and I were trying to remember the words to all of the songs, much to Shannon's dismay. Couldn't we be grown-ups for one weekend?

World geography is only a small piece of the 'curiosity about the world' picture, but it is the one I am going to address here and for now. Stay tuned. (I can see you're on the edge of your seat. Grin.) Until then, following are a few links to some of my favorite geography resources:

Geography Songs (Not exactly beautiful music, but the songs are catchy and upbeat. A great way to learn the names of all of the countries, United States, continents, oceans, and even planets.)

The Global Puzzle (A fun and challenging puzzle of the whole world with pieces in the shape of each country.)

Children Just Like Me (Excellent, large, hardcover book showing pictures of children from different countries. Each two-page spread shows details of their life such as the food they eat, a picture of their school, their house, family, pets, and their parents' occupations.)

Little Round the World Cookbook (Internet-linked, and has lots of great information!)

The International Cookbook for Kids (Delicious recipes from China, Italy, Mexico, and France.)

Famous Landmarks Bingo (Instead of calling out 'B-9,' how about "Great Barrier Reef!'?)

Little Einsteins (Available on the Disney channel and DVD, my kids love this show. It covers musical terminology (such as moderato, crescendo, pianissimo...), classical music composers, fine art, and geography.

Map Placemats (Educational placemats are handy for learning while eating, but we've also found that the sturdy maps are just the right size for toting the desk, on the couch, or in the car.)

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