Visual World Geography {review}

by GfG on February 14, 2012 · 7 comments

Last year, we learned quite a few countries using Geography Songs.  The kids have the names down for several areas.  It really impressed me,  BUT I wanted them to memorize the locations too and that aspect was only 50/50.

While I was at the Texas Home School Coalition conference, I met a super friendly homeschooling mom.  This sweet lady has developed a geography program that is different than any other I’ve seen.  When I stopped at her booth, I learned so quickly that I was amazed.  Immediately, I thought of my kiddos.

After visiting with Theresa Blain, I was pretty hooked.  She is very proud of her product, Visual/Visualize World Geography, which was created and used with her son.  He was invited to several television shows to stun audiences with his knowledge.  He was only three.

I’m here to tell you that our three year old has learned every country he’s been exposed to with Visualize World Geography.  Every one.  Oh, yeah, and the 6, 9, 10, 13 and 15 year olds too.  

Great Britain,  Spain, France, Germany, Poland, Peru, Columbia, Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Bolivia, Venezuela, Guyana, French Guyana, Paraguay, Uraguay, Suranam, Panama, Guatemala, Ecuador, Honduras, El Salvador, Belize, Costa Rica, the United States and Canada.  Seriously.

When they picked it up so quickly last fall (6-7 countries), I thought it was a fluke.  Or beginner’s luck/interest.  We didn’t work on any geography again until near Christmas.  It was then that I saw the program prove itself.  Wee Babe learned all of South America without even trying.  We weren’t even teaching him, he just sat in on the sessions with the kiddos.

The program teaches the locations of the countries with mnemonics.  It attaches an image with a little (very little) story to the location.   I will be honest with you (as usual), the stories and word games make me a little crazy (as well as my fifteen year old).  They are too goofy for me… BUT everyone aged nine and under sits mesmerized, nary the word goofy crossing their young minds.  Actually, they are entertained… and  these mnemonics work.

They work so well that Wee Babe says this regularly, “Can I watch Visual World Geography, Shaping the World for You!”  It’s actually a reward for him.

“Yes, sweetie.  After you pick up the cars in your room, you may watch Visual World Geography.”

He runs off giddy to clean his room.  True story.

All of the children have learned amazingly fast with Visual/Visualize World Geography.

The Visual/Visualize World Geography bundle comes with ten DVDs, seven laminated maps, a text, question and answer workbook, and  flag coloring book for $215.  We don’t even use all of that.  We only use the DVDs and laminated maps.  To me, they are the core of the program.   There are other options too, though.  You could buy the DVD and Textbook set for $175, the Mental Mapping Curriculum for $45, and/or the Flag Book for $15.

Pros for this geography program:

  • It works.  All of my kids can point to the locations of these countries and name them with little to no ease.
  • It’s quick and easy.  We watch a two minute video twice in a row, three times a week, when focusing on an area.
  • It has variety.  We are only utilizing  part of the program.  We use the videos and the card stock laminated maps.  We do not use the workbooks, but they are a nice aspect available.

Cons for this program:

  • It has a daunting price.  Most people do not want to spend more than $200 just for geography.  BUT… you will never have to buy another geography curriculum and can use it for PreK-12, so… is this a con?
  • It’s silly.  The silly stories and scenarios that make the names stick are not really enjoyable to anyone over the age of fourteen.  Everyone under could care less, though.
  • It’s focus is names of the countries, not information.  There are short videos included that talk about the general information about the country, but they are not memorable.

Every time I play these videos, I’m amazed at what the kids walk away with in knowledge.   My Sweetie has brought up more than once (as has Papalou) that we should consider videotaping Wee Babe to send to David Letterman.  It’s tempting.

So… do I recommend Visual World Geography?  Yes!

Could you have your students learn the information for much cheaper?  Maybe so.  Wee Babe has learned all fifty states via Geography Songs, but he can only point to the southern border (Visualize World Geography does not offer a United States state option, just countries).   All the other children have learned the states by listening to the songs while I point to the states on the wall map, though Faith and Cutie Pie have about a 50% accuracy, while they have a 100% accuracy for all of the countries they had previously never heard of.  I’ve also never seen the information stick as well as it has (for location) with Visual World Geography.

If you are looking for a program to teach your children the locations and names of countries, Visual World Geography will do it.  Easily.  It will teach you too.    ;-)

{Theresa Blain gave me a great discount on the program for an honest review of her product.  The opinion is entirely my own.  If you decide to purchase it, now or later, please tell Theresa you read this review.}

Have you seen Visual/Visualize World Geography at work?

Linking to Hip Homeschool Hop

{Tender Heart Press is in the process of changing the name of the VWG product from Visual World Geography to Visualize World Geography.  My CDs are labeled Visual, but the newer product will be labeled Visualize.}

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