Next year, my 9th grade son will be taking a Geography and World Cultures class as an elective. Here is a more detailed description of what he’ll be learning for that class.
I’ve already posted the reading lists for my soon to be 9th grader’s World Literature and World History courses. He will also be taking Geography and World Cultures as an elective next year. All three of these courses overlap and work together a lot with the goal of teaching a basic introduction to humanity and the diversity of the human experience.
I have put both the World Literature and World History courses together pretty much completely on my own. This Geography and World Cultures course is however build off of the framework of the Build Your Library Level 7 curriculum. Build Your Library is intended to be a comprehensive curriculum that teaches all subjects. The Level 7 curriculum focuses on Geography. Many of the readings my son will be doing for this class (as well as World Literature) come from the BYL reading list. More importantly nearly all of the assignments my son will be doing come from the BYL curriculum.
The Build Your Library curriculum not only has the various titles on the book list broken up into a 180 day school year, it also has lots of maps, worksheets, writing assignments, and project ideas. Even when he will be reading from different text than those recommended on the BYL list, I’m planning to have him complete most of these assignments. I am very impressed with the Build Your Library curriculum and highly recommend it, even if you are only planning to use one subject and/or pull in different texts that better apply to a different grade level (both of which I am doing for this course).
Here is a complete list of all the books my son will be reading for his Geography and World Cultures class.
State of the World Atlas by Dan Smith – This introduction to global systems is not included in the BYL curriculum, but is something I’m adding to start off the year.
Geography of the World by DK – This is the main “textbook” from the BYL curriculum. It provides a one page fact sheet on every country in the current political system.
Essential World Atlas by DK – This is just the atlas that I already have. Having an atlas of some sort is important when studying geograpy.
Material World: A Global Family Portrait by Peter Menzel – This book (included in the BYL curriculum) looks at all the possessions owned by different families from around the world. It’s a great visual highlight of the differences in world cultures.
Hungry Planet: What the World Eats by Peter Menzel – Similar to Material World (and also in BYL curriculum) this book looks what different families from around the world eat.
12 Major World Religions by Jason Boyett – This is not in the BYL curriculum, but is a good overview of major world religions. The BYL curriculum does include comparative religion worksheets.
In the Beginning by Virginia Hamilton – This is a book of creation/origin stories from different cultures around the world. Unlike the 12 Major World Religions book, this book focuses more on traditional stories from religions no longer widely practiced. (This book is a part of the BYL curriculum)
Facing the Lion by Viola Herman – This is a book about the life of a Maasia child in Kenya. This book is a part of the BYL curriculum.
The Great Wall by Elizabeth Mann – This is a book about the building of the Great Wall of China. It is not a part of the BYL curriculum.
The American Dream by Shing Yin Khor – This is a graphic novel about a Korean American teen traveling on US Highway Route 66. It is not a part of the BYL curriculum.
In the Land of the Jaguar by Gena Gorrell – This book highlights and compares the various South American cultures. It is also a part of the BYL curriculum.
Quest for the Tree Kangaroo by Sy Montgomery – This is a book about the wildlife of Papua New Guinea. It is a part of the BYL curriculum.
Brilliant Maps for Curious Minds by Ian Wright – This book is not in the BYL curriculum but is a very fun atlas that shows world borders not based on current political distinctions but instead based on things like languages spoken, religions practiced, and staple foods. It is a great way to finish out the year.