Learning Geography by Drawing

Geography is one of those subjects that is useful, but not always exciting to study all by itself.  One of the products we have been reviewing during the last six weeks is Drawing Around the World: Europe published by Brookdale House.  As the name suggests, this curriculum combines the learning of European geography with the art aspects of literally drawing the countries individually and in respect to their neighbors.

What We Received:

Our family received the digital download version of Drawing Around the World: Europe.  This download came in a single pdf with 256 pages of instructions, country fact sheets, and lots and lots of maps.  The format of the curriculum was easy to use with clear instructions. This curriculum could be used with students in the upper elementary grades through high school.

So How Do I Use It?

The goal of Drawing Around the World: Europe is for the student to ultimately be able to freehand draw the European countries individually and in relation to one another as a complete European map.  This is accomplished by learning to draw one or more countries each week and building from there.  The entire course can be completed in 24 weeks by following the schedule suggested in the instructions.

During each week, it is recommended that the student work a few minutes each day for four days out of the week.

  • On Day 1, the student will complete the fact sheet for the new countries. Locate and label them on the dashed, black and white map. And then draw all the countries that have been learned up to that point.
  • On Day 2, the student will once again locate and label the new countries on the dashed, black and white map and then draw all the countries learned so far.
  • Day 3 repeats the same steps as completed on Day 2.
  • Day 4 begins with reciting the countries learned thus far from memory and then drawing these countries using the blank textbox included in the study.

As you can see just by the instructions above, the amount of time spent each day will not be exhaustive.  The key is truly in the repetition and constant review.

All of the various maps that are needed to complete the multiple drawings are included for each week.  So if you were to purchase the printed copy of this resource, there would not be the need for additional copying.  There would of course be printing of the individual lessons and maps for each day with the digital version of this curriculum.  In addition to the curriculum, the student will need colored pencils to really help with the visual recall of the country placement.  Within the instructions there is the great tip to place the day’s work inside a sheet protector and have the student use dry erase markers to complete the assignment.  In doing so, the student can repeat the lesson as many times as they wish to be comfortable in moving on the next day.

Our Own Flare:

In receiving Drawing Around the World: Europe to review, our focus was very specific.  Our son is studying World War II this year.  So much of this war centers in Europe so understanding the geography and how this contributed to the progression of the war is really integral.

We actually began out study by using the completed map of Europe provided in this curriculum for our son to draw in the European countries on a larger world map.  To be honest, this was a bit of an area of frustration for him in not being an artist or having studied the geography previously.  However, that is where I think the completion of the study will have a huge impact.

Once his world map was completed, we then went back to the beginning of the curriculum to start our work.  It was very tempting to try to reinvent the order of things to learn the countries as we came across them in our study of World War II.  As I contemplated this, I realized that some of the power of the way it is laid out would be lost since we would not be learning the countries as they are adjacent to one another.

As our son completes the fact sheet for each country, it is always fun to revisit what we have learned about the country related to World War II.  The fact sheets ask the student to research the area/population, capital, the people and cultures, major religions in the country,  the climate, and resources. During our study, we have explored economic conditions and forms of government as well to see how these relate to our study of WWII.

I do want to note that the author provides suggested internet sites and printed materials that are useful to the student in completing the fact sheets.  This was very helpful.

Our Thoughts:

I love this creative approach to learning geography.  We are focusing on European geography because of our study of World War II.  Brookdale House has a corresponding curriculum for the study of United States geography as well.

This study could honestly be used as a stand alone curriculum in the younger grades.  It could also be used in the high school grades with greater requirements related to the information normally recorded in the Fact Sheet. Using this study as a supplemental resource in conjunction with the study of U.S. history or European history is both fun and achieves the goal of learning the geography behind the history.  It truly has added a whole new dimension to our study of World War II and led to many connections being made about why certain countries were vulnerable to attack, how the climate of different countries would have been a deterrent from attack, and to literally watch the spread of war across the continent.  Our son’s grasp of these issues is much greater as a result of incorporating Drawig Around the World: Europe into what we do each day.

As always, I encourage you to check out the other reviews being completed on the two Drawing Around the World books from Brookdale House.  This publisher has resources in other subject areas that are also being reviewed by the Schoolhouse Review Crew so be sure to visit the post linked below and the reviews attached.

 Brookdale House Review
Crew Disclaimer

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