Map Travelers: A Unique Curriculum Approach to Geography and Cultures Study (A Review)

Learning geography is always more fun when there are hands-on projects that allow learners to experience the countries and cultures that they’re learning about. My younger girls and I have been traveling around the world this year studying geography and the cultures of the people who live in the countries that we study. So I was happy to have the opportunity to review Map Travelers, a unit study style geography curriculum.

Map Travelers: A Unit Study Approach to Geography & Cultures for the whole family {review}

Map Travelers is a twenty-one week geography and cultures curriculum. The curriculum is a unit study based curriculum with suggested reading, suggested movies, notebooking pages, and hands-on projects and crafts. It can be used with multiple ages, so it makes a nice family unit study. The variety of activities provides something for every learning style, which also makes it a good fit for most of the children in the family.

At the beginning of the curriculum are some instructions for use and a clickable menu. The menu shows one week of activities for an overview of
the world, and then each week covers a continent or world area. Some continents only have a week. Some have multiple weeks. Clicking on the week’s link takes you to a schedule grid for that week.

Map Travelers Table of Contents     Map Travelers schedule page

As emphasized in a “how to use this” guide at the beginning of the curriculum, these schedules are flexible. There is work scheduled for four days of the week. The work is divided into categories- Country; Project; Recipes; Movies; and Creative. Under each category are ideas suggested for the days of the week. When a project is given, instructions for completing the project are below. Occasionally there are outside links to find instructions or printables.

There is a list of suggested reading for each week’s continent or area. There is also a passport file. This can be printed, and the child can stamp or sticker it as they “travel” to various country. At the end of the curriculum file, there are printable notebooking pages that go with various countries of study and there are printable tickets to place on the pages as the students “travel” to various countries.

Map Travelers sample page Map Travelers passport Map Travelers sample page

My thoughts about Map Travelers:

  • I love unit studies that are designed for the whole family to use. We’ve always enjoyed doing these together.
  • It is very nice to have notebooking pages so that the children will have a nice completed project at the end. I think notebooks and lapbooks are an excellent way for the child to be able to look back and see what they’ve learned.
  • The curriculum is extremely flexible. Although there is a general schedule for each week, this can be easily adapted to use however you like. Right now, I’m using it as a supplement to the geography curriculum we already had. It’s great for this because I can look up the continent or country we’re studying and find other great activity or reading ideas or find notebooking pages to add to our study. It could also be used as a stand alone curriculum. The activities for each week aren’t very time consuming, so you could either take the days as they are scheduled or you could consolidate your geography study into one or two days of the week.
  • I like that there are reading and movie suggestions for the weekly studies. The book suggestions are divided by fiction and nonfiction. I wish there were some grade recommendations for them, so that I could have an idea without having to click on each to see the book (links to Amazon, so you can read details or purchase there).

Map Travelers is a good, flexible geography curriculum that offers reading, notebooking, and hands-on activities. It can be used as a whole family study or with one child or group of children. It’s reasonably priced , and there are options to purchase single continent studies or purchase the whole thing on CD- instead of a digital download. This makes it a good choice for a family geography curriculum.


Map Travelers unit study The Facts:

 Curriculum Map Travelers geography curriculum (available as digital download or CD)

 Price- $19.95 for full digital download (other options available)

 Age recommendation– Any ages






Disclaimer: The Homeschool Post received this unit study at no cost for the purpose of the review. We were not required to write a positive review, nor were we compensated in any other way. All opinions expressed are those of the author. We are disclosing this in accordance with the FTC regulations.



Leah (10 Posts)

Leah Courtney is a homeschooling mom of four. Her days are filled with being a mom, homemaker, and teacher. In her (very rare) free time, she enjoys blogging, reading, and reviewing books and curricula. These days she’s learning the joys of being a mom of teens. You can read about her family and homeschooling life at As We Walk Along the Road.

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School Without Subjects

Math, Reading, Writing, Spelling, Grammar, History, Geography, Science…have you identified all of the curriculum you will need for the coming school year?

@selftaughtkids @hsbapost

Thinking about how to cover each subject can be exhausting, time consuming, confusing, and expensive! Because most of us have been traditionally educated in the modern school system, we bite our nails down to the quick wondering if we are giving proper treatment to all the facts and information our children will need to know to get into college, or just generally lead well-informed, successful lives.

Boxed curricula can fill that need, of course, but if you’ve been homeschooling awhile, or are a newbie interested in not simply re-creating a traditional school day for your child, you may be open to a cross-curricular approach which can cut down on the number of individual subjects you need to find curriculum for.

So, what do we mean by cross-curricular? In our house it means that everything connects. We don’t study anything in a vacuum – segmented and compartmentalized into 45- or 50- minute blocks of time. History crosses over into science, and vise versa. Literature prompts writing, as can history. History and literature become geography. Science and math go together – they don’t always have to be studied individually. Instead of choosing different subjects to cover, we may choose one or two areas to focus on and then let learning bubble up from there.

To give you a real-life example, I’ll give you a rough sketch of what my two (ages 10 and 13) will be doing this school year:


Life of Fred. I love Fred. Life of Fred isn’t just math, it’s a life education. He even covers grammar…really. His pre-algebra course contains math coupled with biology and economics. He also has an elementary physics book. My oldest completed those last year and learned more about science from Life of Fred math than from any other science book or course we have used before. I don’t know of another math curriculum that discusses the cause of the civil war while teaching pre-algebra. Life of Fred critics worry that the books don’t offer enough practice problems. Hang in there. Once you arrive at the high school program, you can purchase Life of Fred: Zillions of Practice Problems for Beginning Algebra. Zillions of problems sound like a lot of practice.

Joy Hakim’s The Story of Science: Newton at the Center. Last year the oldest read the first book in the series: The Story of Science: Aristotle Leads the Way and really enjoyed it. It can simply be read for fun, or you can purchase the companion student and teacher Quest Guides published by the John Hopkins University Talent Development Program. We love this timeline approach to science which blends in loads and loads of history. We’ll supplement our at-home science reading with hands-on classes offered for homeschoolers at a local science museum.


Last year we studied the ancients in both history and science, starting with Sumeria and ending with Rome. For history, we used the Beautiful Feet Ancient History Intermediate Pack and this year we’ll move on to Medieval History, utilizing the Advanced Intermediate and Junior High Pack. I love the idea of using the same student guide and reading lists for both age levels – the program is customizable to grade levels 5 – 8 and includes reading, mapping, research, discussion and hands-on activities though 35 weekly lessons. Again, we’ll feel free to supplement with additional reading selections that we will probably treat as read-alouds, and where possible, perform at-home science experiments that relate to Medieval times. Grammar and spelling will be reinforced through the weekly writing assignments tied to the time period. Additionally, both kids will participate in a 16-week creative writing workshop held at a local library.

For foreign languages, music and art, there are a variety of ways to add these to your schedule. We prefer on-line foreign language courses and out-source anything like art or music.

By focusing on all things Medieval this year, I hope to bring a certain level of cohesiveness to our school year, making the planning easy for me and fun for the kids!

It’s really not necessary to purchase a stack of workbooks covering every topic you can think of. With a little creativity and some smart choices, you can narrow your focus to three or four areas and expand from there. There are so many free resources out there, you can easily keep your expenses down, too. Since many of the books on our reading list are available at the library, I would be surprised if we spent more than $200 this year on curricula.

I love to think of our approach as subject-less, even though we certainly cover all of the most important areas such as math, science, literature and history. Allowing yourself more freedom in how these are presented is going to make for a more enjoyable homeschool experience for both you and your children.

None of the above links are affiliate links – we just believe in these resources. What are some of your favorite cross-curricular materials and books? I’m always looking for more great ideas!

Angela (30 Posts)

Angela is co-founder of Mosaic Freeschool and a homeschooling mom to two never-been-to school kids. Born in Southern California and raised on the East Coast, Angela had a bit of an unconventional education, but did not consider homeschooling seriously until her first child was born. Believing that young children learn best from those that love them most, Angela and her husband John chose homeschooling for their two boys. She is dedicated to the advancement of alternative education choices, creating the web-site Raising Autodidacts in 2011 to further explore the idea of fostering the self-taught individual. In June of 2013, she started an instructional writing service called Gathering Ink .

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Top Ten Favorite Educational Shows on Netflix: The Older Crowd

Last week we shared with you our favorite Netflix shows for the younger set. This week, we bring you our Top Ten Favorite Educational Shows on Netflix. for the older crowd.

Top 10 Favorite Educational Shows on Netflix for Teens

Every family is different, so please review any show before letting your kids watch it to ensure it fits your family.

Ten Favorite Educational Shows on Netflix for the Older Crowd


  1. MythBusters– Do not try this at home folks! Adam and Jamie, with their team, examine common myths and legends to see if they could have actually happened. Be sure to check out their Big Blasts Collection too!
  2. Drive Thru History-Dave Stotts takes you on the most entertaining trek through Ancient Greece and Rome in Season 1 of Drive Thru History. This history documentary emphasizes Christianity’s positive role in Western civilization. The humor may be lost on the younger kids, but parents will enjoy!
  3. Modern Marvels– From the Brooklyn Bridge to Extreme Gadgets, Modern Marvels digs deep to explain the history behind some of our greatest achievements.
  4. Electric Company– This modern take on the 70’s classic teaches new words using Hip Hop and R&B.
  5. How It’s Made– Take a tour through factories and see how everything from band aids to contact lenses are made.
  6. National Geographic- National Parks– National Geographic has a wide variety of topics available on Netflix. National Parks might be our favorite, but they also include episodes on the FBI and Tornadoes.
  7. Man vs. Wild– Follow ex-special forces soldier Bear Grylls and he tries to find somewhere on Earth he can’t survive. So far, he can survive anywhere.
  8. Beakman’s World– Do miss the big hair and wacky antics of the early 90’s? Nah, me either. But watching someone else act goofy while educating my kids- bring it on! Prof. Beakman uses some crazy antics, quick costume changes and a giant rat (okay, man in a rat suit) to demonstrate even complicated scientific principles.
  9. TED Talks-This is another collection of short videos, on a variety of subjects. From the TED Conferences, TEDTalks videos include reputable current scientists and professors (and more) sharing ideas and explaining new things. Also check out their Education Site with more videos: http://ed.ted.com/.
  10. Destination Truth– Do you have a monster lover? Host Josh Gates goes to remote places, learns about geography and culture, and then investigates the myths and monsters of the world. From Loch Ness to haunted Mosques to Icelandic Elves, Destination Truth is there. Note: Some episodes may be a bit scary for more sensitive kids.

Do you have a favorite Netflix show?

Have you checked out the Homeschooling with Netflix Facebook Group?

Join us next week for a new Top Ten List from our team!

Lisa Baldwin (61 Posts)

Disciple of Christ, Wife, Mother of Four, Homeschooler, Crafter, Designer (Graphics and CSS/HTML), Blogger. I share too much, laugh at the wrong things, and fall on my backside regularly. Thank goodness Jesus ignores all of that and loves me anyway.

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