So lockdown life means for our homeschooling kids, that school goes on as usual, but not quite usual. A lot of our homeschooling is spent on outings and road tripping and certainly the best way for my kids to get a feel for their local geography and culture is to immerse the in community projects as much as we can. This year is different, very different and so we are road tripping from our kitchen table.
Towards the end of last year we were lucky enough to win a copy of the Meandering Mzansi Curriculum, which is an overland guide of South Africa aimed at middle school children. It is a guide to absolutely everything a school going child could possibly need to know about South Africa and a whole lot more. It is a great reference work, written with care and childrens’ interests at heart, where you can find everything you ever need to know about South Africa.
It has proved to be interesting reading and for us it is a great supplement to curriculum that we use in our homeschool. I think this would be very useful for homeschooling and non-homeschooling children, it really covers everything South African, in a very readable way.
The Curriculum Includes:
- The heart of the curriculum is a ring bound A4 book divided into several topics.
- A Large A1 poster/map of South Africa, with icon stickers to add to your map.
- An A2 colouring map/poster, that can be filled in as you read along.
About the Book…
The book is fabulous, full colour maps, photographs, illustrations… there is not a dull page in sight. The blocks of writing are short and sweet, the facts are concise and even tricky concepts are carefully explained. The book is divided into weeks, rather than chapters, to suit the homeschooling mom. And then it is loosely divided into four sections to suit the South African school year, which is divided into four terms.
The first section covers the general geography of the country, such as the physique, climate, and biomes present, water resources, the transport system and how are government works. The second section is about our economy and includes agriculture, industry and conservation. The third section looks at the symbols of South Africa and more closely at the people groups of South Africa and our neighbouring countries. The fourth and final section looks closely at each province. Each province has a clear map, and discusses the local geography in more detail as well as the the provincial symbols, local regions and special landmarks and monuments. The appendices have a few helpful “how to tips” as well as maps and useful images, like the Coat of Arms and flags.
What We Love About It
It is very easy to incorporate into whatever curriculum you are using, we just added the book to our morning pile of family school time and we began reading along. To be honest, I didn’t realise that it was written in weeks, and as we head into our twelfth week of the school year, I discovered we were in week twelve of the year… so it has a really good pace. We have neither been hurrying, nor dallying, just a steady and easy pace… reading a couple of paragraphs a day… in easy chunks.
I really like the fact boxes a the end of each chapter than we can use to spark our memories when we think back about what we have been reading. And my kids use them to make notes in their school journals.
There is no busy work involved, no worksheets, no pages to fill in… they make their own notes in their school journals and they create their own maps and keys as we go.
What My Kids Think
My school kids, age 10 through 16, think it is great, it is geared towards students on many levels. It is great for reading a snippet and then discussing… and my kids love to discuss. They have learned a lot and really enjoyed the learning and the suggested activities that appear from time to time… in fact we have done them all.
For the first time ever they have made a play dough map and know exactly how the geography of our country works, also they have had a closer look at soil and kept rainfall and temperature charts.
It’s fun in a low key way… the suggested projects are totally doable and don’t take six hours out of every school day.
Meandering Mzansi Details
The Meandering Mzansi Curriculum was written by Ursula Wilbraham, a homeschooling mom and teacher. You find the frequently asked questions about the product here… and you can find her on instagram here.