Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.
WHAT IS IT?:
Let’s Go Geography, Year 2 is the second installment in what will eventually be a 3-year geography study intended for elementary students in grades K-5. That being said, I’m using it with my 6th grader and still find it entirely age-appropriate. You can take a look at the 3-year schedule and see what countries are included in each year of the study. With so many topics and activities included, it’s easy to pick and choose what you want to use to make it adaptable for older kids. I actually found it interesting myself!
Each lesson explores the geographical location using maps, the country’s flag, demographics, national music, things to explore (food, interesting places, cultural practices, etc.), a coloring page with facts about the items included in the picture, and full-color instructions on a craft and how the project is related to the culture. By providing your email address, you can also get a free download of a passport your child can create and place each country’s flag inside as a record of where they’ve explored. Instructions and printables are included in the first lesson on creating a travel journal where your student can keep their completed notes, coloring pages, and maps, along with print-outs of sight-seeing photographs and facts provided for each country.
This second year of the program has kids explore a new country or region every week for a total of 32 weeks. A 2-year subscription is available for just $27.99 and gives you access to download any of the lessons for a 2-year period in any order you would like. Once you’ve downloaded the lessons, though, you don’t actually need access to the website, so you can even download them all at once. If you don’t want to store the downloads on your computer and want to be able to access them from anywhere with internet access indefinitely, you might prefer to purchase lifetime access for $34.99.
We definitely enjoyed Year 1 of the program when Holden was in 4th grade, but I have to say that I think Year 2 is even better! Instead of a 36-week program with built-in off weeks and reviews, Year 2 just gives you the 32 lessons and allows you the flexibility to schedule your own breaks and handle review as you see fit. I also felt like there were more links to videos and more photographs and facts included…it just felt more meaty! For us, it made Year 2 even feel appropriate for my 6th grader, even though the program is designed for elementary students.
Since we’ve previously worked with the first year of the program, I started by pulling out our existing Travel Journal and Passport. If you’re new to the program, the instructions and printables for creating the journal are included in the first lesson. Then we selected the countries we wanted to study during the review period, and we decided to work on the South Atlantic Region of America that includes VA where we used to live (lesson 4), Mexico that borders TX where we live now (lesson 5), England in the UK where I was born (lesson 12), and Germany that was my husband’s home when he was in the military (lesson 16). I really like the flexibility of being able to jump around to our countries of interest or which supplement our other studies.
Each unit includes a checklist of activities to complete during the lesson. We started with coloring 2 flags for the country (one to glue into our Passport, and one to glue onto our map page) and then working through our map activities.
Some lessons include a set of geography questions to work through about the maps based on observations. Using the England lesson as an example, the lesson offered us two versions of the questions…a simpler version for younger students that involved marking things with color or circling things on the map, and then a more advanced version for older students that we used where the questions were open-ended. Then we listened to traditional music from the country.
Next, we began exploring the country through printable photographs, facts, and videos. All videos link through a kid-friendly “safe” version of YouTube, which made me very happy as a mom! You can never be too careful with your kids on the internet. These are just snapshots of all that’s included…there were multiple pages of each feature! We probably spent the most time watching all the great videos. That was Holden’s favorite part! There’s nothing like seeing for yourself. It mad e us feel like tourists!
Last, we took some notes from what we learned, colored the coloring page, and worked on the craft.
Full-color photos and instructions are included, along with a list of all of the supplies you’ll need to complete the craft. These items and all of the printables went into our travel journal to help us remember our “travels!” With only one 6th grade boy in our homeschool now, we don’t do a lot of crafts, so our craft supplies are long gone! We improvised a bit on this project by coloring strips of paper and gluing them on in lieu of popsicle sticks and construction paper. It still had some dimension by layering the paper, and I didn’t have to run to the store for supplies we would never use again!
I like the flexibility to take or leave various elements as you choose. My son doesn’t enjoy writing and had some delays in writing, so we do most of our work orally. That means if I want to, I can leave out the optional note-taking sheets and just keep it fun and interesting. He was never much into coloring or crafts, either, so we’ll just do those if there’s something he particularly wants to try. He absolutely loves the video links about interesting places, traditional music, and cultural practices, so reading the facts, doing the mapwork, and following the media links will likely be how we primarily use this product going forward. But since there are so many activities included, there’s something for everyone, and everything is there so you can adapt to suit your needs without any real effort on your part.
As we used the links, we only found one link that didn’t work properly. We were able to use it by searching for the link manually, but the lesson includes instructions on how to report a bad link so an update can be made to the program, so that’s great!
Overall, this continues to be one of our favorite ways to study geography! It’s truly fun, light-hearted, yet meaty without being too intense. My son has ADHD and has a really short attention span, so moving from one activity to another quickly works well for him. We both really enjoyed the program, myself included! I particularly enjoyed giving him a tour of my country of origin, and it was nice to see a bit of “home,” as well. It prompted additional discussion as we talked about currency, food, and other differences between England and America. We look forward to continuing to use this program throughout our school year.
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