Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Dream Destinations - Europe

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Online Book Club - July Theme: Dream Destinations

Whenever I'm asked where I'd like to travel, almost every country in Europe would make my list! I'd have a lot of trouble choosing just one, so my dream would be a long tour of all things Europe. That's why I'm starting my Online Book Club tour of books about Dream Destinations with a study guide we used in our homeschool several years ago. 

Visits to Europe is published by Simply Charlotte Mason, and I found it in the vendor hall of a homeschool conference. It was just what we were looking for that particular year, when Kennady wanted to study European culture and geography. She was interested in learning about the geography and landmarks of Europe, and about the customs and languages and arts, but not necessarily interested in history at that point. I had a tough time finding a resource with a geography and culture focus that was intended for high school students. When I stumbled upon the "Visits to..." series at the Simply Charlotte Mason booth, and talked with the author, Sonya Shafer, I knew we'd found what we needed. We did this course along with part of another course (Cultural Geography from BJU Press, which I'll feature in an upcoming post!). 

Visits to Europe

The book is set up so that it can be used for a wide range of ages. The study has an emphasis on maps, and assigns readings in two beautiful books, Material World and Hungry Planet, both by Peter Menzel. These books are fascinating all on their own, and I think they made great conversation starters. Each describes the everyday lives of people in various countries, and show photos of their living quarters, household possessions, grocery provisions, and meals. We were sometimes inspired to explore other cultures by trying some of their foods, as you can see in my blog post series, Eating the Americas and A Taste of Europe.

Hungry Planet and Material World

For each region in Europe, the student first studies the map, then labels their own map with the main features of the region.

Visits to Europe

The student is instructed to read about families living in those countries in one or both of the Peter Menzel books, and notes what they learned on the "Meet the Families" pages. 

Material World

Visits to Europe and Material World

There is also a "Make Your Own Map" activity. For this one, Kennady made her own map of the British Isles by tracing the outlines from the given map onto tracing paper using pen. Then she scribbled over her outline with a soft pencil, and finally, put the tracing paper on the blank part of the page and traced again to "transfer" her lines onto the page. Then she was instructed to label her map and the towns, rivers, and other features that she chose to include; or to color her map as she wished.

Visits to Europe

Visits to Europe

Visits to Europe

In this way, the student works through all the regions of Europe, learning about a few countries at a time, and adding to their maps as they go.

Visits to Europe is the kind of study resource that can stand alone, or be used in combination with other things. Students can really personalize their maps, and are encouraged to do further reading and projects to enhance the study. There are other books in the Visits to . . . series, so if the Dream Destination in your homeschool is in Africa, Asia, the Americas, Australia, or the Middle East, there's a tour guide for you!

The original version of this post appeared on this blog in September 2014 as V is for Visits to Europe.

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Joanne said...

That sounds like such a neat resource!

Linda Stoll said...

I sure would love to spend time in Scotland, the homeland of my Dad.

Maybe someday?

Lori - At Home: where life happens said...

I may need to look at this partway through the year when my youngest finishes the Home School In The Woods project she'll start with in September. It looks really enjoyable.

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