I've mentioned, at least once before, that we tried out Highlights' geography club, some time ago, but while I was thrilled with it, the kids really weren't. It's a mail order club, where the children are sent a new "adventure", for a different country, every couple of weeks. It took me several months to figure out it wasn't going to work for my older children, so we had five, or six of them pile up, unopened, in our closet, before I cancelled our membership in the club.
Despite the children's lack of enthusiasm, I happen to think it's an excellent concept. Each set, provides a Clue-like mystery for the children to solve. Something is stolen, by one of a number of criminals, in a certain country. The children, by solving a set of codes, and puzzles (engaging math and logic skills), and working through a country guide book (a 30, or so, page, mini-geography book, for the country being covered), must solve the mystery of who, stole what, from where.
From time to time I pull one, that we haven't done yet, out for the children to try again. This week, I pulled out the set for Egypt. Highlights' suggested age for the club is 7-12. My oldest three are 9-12, so I hoped being a little older, they might enjoy it more. There is a lot to learn in the included Guide To Egypt, but I was hoping they'd really get into the puzzles, and enjoy themselves, while they learned about the country.
Usually, I have them work together as a team, but this time I had them work through it alone. They seemed to enjoy it more while working independently - so maybe there's some hope, yet. And, despite their lukewarm reception of the puzzle books, they always end up reading, or at least browsing through the country guide book, later on their own, too.
If you have a child ages 7-12, who enjoys puzzles, codes, and mysteries, then this would probably be an excellent approach to geography. You can check out more about the club, on Highlights website, and view a PDF sample, or order one of country puzzle sets, for free + $3.45 shipping. Just be careful, you have to respond quickly, if you don't want any more, or you'll end up with a closet full, at $18.00 a pop.
For more discussion, and ideas about teaching children geography, and history, click over to Children Grow, Children Explore, Children Lean, for a geography, and history link up.
It's great to be a homeschooler.