Monday, October 19, 2015

Review of Brookdale House's Drawing Around the World

There are some curriculum companies whose materials you feel like you started seeing years ago, but then you just start seeing more and more, and they just keep getting more and more amazing. Brookdale House is like that for me. I had been familiar with their writing models (if you click the banner at the end of this review, you'll be able to see reviews of that stellar curriculum), but I had never before seen the Geography Drawing Series...until now. Because Geography was on our agenda this year, I was thrilled to see Drawing Around the World: Europe come up for review. 

Let me just start by saying that this program is really neat! The book comes as an ebook download and is 256 pages long. Although you can certainly adapt it any way that works for you, it comes with a typical four-day schedule that has been working really well for us. 

On Day 1, a new country (or set of related countries) is introduced. You study the new country, complete a country fact table, locate and label the new country on a dashed black and white map, and draw all of the countries that you have already learned and memorized onto a new map (included in the book).

On Days 2 and 3, you locate and label each new country on a dashed black and white map and draw all the countries you have learned so far.

On Day 4, you list and draw from memory all of the countries you have learned so far.

The formula sounds deceptively simple, but there are a couple of things that set this program apart and make it a huge hit in my house. First, every single piece of paper you need is included in your purchase. If you need four maps in a week, you have those four maps. Also, because you are not just drawing the countries, but you are also learning key facts about them (area, population, major cultures and religions, etc.), this is one complete geography and world cultures program. It is just so easy to learn so much!

 Drawing Around the World in the Delgado House

From the very first, my kids loved this program. As soon as I got the download, I took it to Office Depot and had three copies printed and bound. From that moment, we were off! We have been following the four-day schedule exactly (something I almost never do with any curriculum), and it works perfectly. On Day 1, all of the kids sit with me while I use the computer to look up country facts with them. As would be expected, we often end up going down rabbit trails on Day 1! After all, you can hardly talk about Russia (Week 3) without spending *some* time getting a little bit off the subject of Geography (especially when you get to the issue of religion - you have to talk about the history of religion, the impact of the Russian Revolution, Leninism, Communism, the gorgeous architecture of Eastern European churches, etc.)! 

So, in some cases, Day 1 goes a bit long. Days 2-4, though, are being completed basically independently by the kids. I love that about this program. I am getting to the point where the more things they can do independently, the happier I am. If we can get by doing an hour and a half or two hours of group stuff, followed by their doing their own subjects essentially on their own (aided by me when necessary, of course), that works for me. Brookdale House's Geography fits right in with that paradigm. Spending about an hour on it on Monday sets them up for the whole rest of the week (you don't have to spend that much time on it on Day 1 - that's just how it's working for us, and that's because I love history and geography!), and they are learning so much! 

In case it's not already obvious, we are loving Drawing Around the World: Europe. In fact, I've already pretty much decided to get Drawing Around the World: USA when we're done. The method is just that effective.

As I indicated at the top of this review, though, Brookdale House has so many great products that you'll definitely want to click the banner below to read the reviews of all of them!

 Brookdale House Review
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