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Trail Guide to World Geography

by Cindy Wiggers
Your Price: $18.95


The Trail Guide to World Geography is a family-friendly, multi-level curriculum guide for students in grades 3-12 to learn geography. With its trail markers (animal track icon) directed at three different grade levels, this book can be used for more than one academic school year and works well with a number of different student abilities learning together.

The Trail Guide to World Geography provides lesson plans and assignments for a 36-week school year.

Geography Trails Weekly: Days 1-4
Students use an atlas to answer two questions daily, gaining experience and proficiency with map reading and atlas usage.

Mapping Weekly
Weekly mapping lists provide opportunities for students to label an outline map for inclusion in their personal Geography Notebook.

Trail Blazing - Personal Research and Discovery
Select 2-4 weekly additional assignments, which may include creating a chart or graph, research and study, art or craft, meal planning and preparation, designing a travel brochure, making flash cards or a crossword puzzle to aid in memorization, creating an illustrated geography dictionary, and so much more, flesh out the school week.

The final weeks of the school year we change it up with a Literature Review Unit, using family read-aloud time and a good novel.

Using the Trail Guide to World Geography as your core, students will:
  • Gain experience with map reading using an atlas
  • Create their own personal geography notebook, or portfolio
  • Develop critical thinking skills
  • Study cultures and peoples
  • Learn countries and capitals
  • Much more

Click on the tabs for testimonials and sample pages.

Resources used with Trail Guide to World Geography
This curriculum guide with the following other required and optional resources make for an interesting year of geography studies and most can be used again when students have moved up a level:
  • 3- Level Trail Guide to World Geography Notebook printable pdf files (or a good set of Outline Maps) form the core of the Geography Notebook (Of course, we recommend Uncle Josh’s Outline Map Book or Collection on CD-ROM if you don’t choose the Geography Notebook files).
  • World Atlas — required resource for atlas drills and mapping assignments. The specific atlases below were used to form the questions making it a basic 5-minute drill. You know the answers are there. A separate atlas is needed for each level.
    • Primary level (3-4th grades) — Jr. Classroom Atlas
    • Intermediate Level (5th-7th grades) — Classroom Atlas
    • Secondary Level (8-high school) — Atlas of World Geography
    • 9-week Literature Review Unit using Around the World in 80 Days
  • Around the World in 80 Days - read-aloud novel for 9-week literature review unit
  • Geographical Terms Chart - visual aid for learning geography terms

Optional Complimentary Resources
These other optional additional resources meet more specific needs and aid in making this an even more interesting subject to study.

Encyclopedia of World Geography - Key resource for Trail Blazing assignments. Or students can use library, internet etc.

Eat Your Way Around the World - This cookbook is referenced in Trail Blazing assignments, and features complete meals typical to thirty different countries. Includes international etiquette, food facts, and more. Everyone loves to eat so cooking is an easy connection to any world geography study.

Geography Through Art - Introduces world cultures in a medium children enjoy and relate to - Art! They learn what children in countries around the world do for art and create their own from the instructions provided. Many projects come with fascinating information of historical significance. Step by step drawing examples help students draw a number of different animals and more, and all project include great simple to follow instructions.

Ultimate Geography and Timeline Guide - For added depth at the middle school level, course credit at the high school level, and basic geography instruction for parents with little to no understanding of geography

World Trail Guide Lapbook - For younger students or hands-on learning types - adds depth to creating a fascinating World Geography Notebook.

Galloping the Globe - Literature-based geography Unit Study based curriculum which will compliment the family geography study. For those who also have younger students, or who love finding real books to teach from. Using this book in tandem with Trail Guide to World Geography helps family members with different learning styles and ages learn together. Then each child can do activities and assignments selected for level and learning style.

Save money with GeoPacks - specially assembled bundles to include everything you need to embark upon an exciting adventure in geography. You’ll find GeoPacks on the Specials page of this website and at Homeschool Conventions (See Book Fairs link above for our conference schedule).

Trail Guide to World Geography

Binding: Paperback
Page Count: 128
Publisher: Geography Matters
Grade Level: 3 Level 2-4, 5-7, 8-12
ISBN: GMi400

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"This book was truly inspirational to me! I LOVE the concept! Here's what the author, Cindy Wiggers, says in her introduction: 'Wouldn't it be exciting to turn your geography studies into a guided trip around the world? How wonderful to just sit back and relax as the guide shows the way and takes your students through a learning experience they will never forget.' WOW - I like that idea! What excited me even more is that this book was specifically written for the whole family! You can use the same book for all your children from second grade up through tenth! THAT is exciting!" —Holly Cameron at The Old Schoolhouse Magazine

"This versatile product is suitable for use in the individual homeschool as well as a co-op, with questions and activities for a wide range of ages and abilities." —Jean Hall at Eclectic Homeschool Online

"With this easy-to-use course students will learn to recognize important characteristics and traits of each continent, read and create maps, identify key geographical terms and more." —Cindy Pretchel at Homeschooling From the Heart

"Trail Guides can be used to teach geography to children in grades 2 through 12. The series of three Guides cover United States, World, or Biblical geography, respectively. Each volume is set up to address students at three different levels. This means that each volume can then be "reused" for up to three years of geography study as students move from level to level. Generally, you would not use the same book two years in a row, but would shift to another book, returning to a book a year or two later. Trail Guides differ greatly from traditional textbooks since they use a discovery-inquiry approach with lots of activities. Students will need an appropriate atlas for much of their research." Cathy Duffy Reviews

"Trail Guide to World Geography provides a well-laid out plan to make geography studies interesting and painless." —HomeschoolChristian.com

“The Trail Guide to World Geography is great...gives us the resources to enjoy learning. Thank you.” —K. Byrnes

"I thought this was one of the best geography programs I had ever seen. It breaks it down into about 5-10 minutes a day for 4 days a week. It teaches you mapping, how to read everything on an atlas, basically everything you need to know! There are extra activities in every section that just adds to your child's knowledge of different countries, cities, etc. It is very easy and goes quickly so that the child is not bored with it. I loved how easy it was to teach and how easy it was for my son to go through. There were many days he would be up and doing it on his own without my help!! I would recommend this for anyone!" —Rebekah at Successful Homeschooling

"This is the kind of geography that makes learning fun. I highly recommend it to everyone. My girls enjoyed this study." —Penny at Successful Homeschooling

“The Trail Guide was my ‘Big Find’ at the home school convention this year. I tell all my friends, ’You gotta’ have this book.’” —A. Cooper

“We've finished the Trail Guide to World Geography and we need more geography drills! We really love them. My boys really like using the atlas and finding the answers that way."

"We have just loved it! If we skip a day the kids are just all over me! Following the current events just made a tremendous difference in our home school this year" —VA homeschool parent

"I really appreciate the wonderful customer service. I also wanted to tell you once again how much I love your geography program.  I am so grateful to you for having put all this together.  My high school age daughter has suffered due to lack of geography in the previous years.  I hope to avoid her struggles with geography in my younger children whom I homeschool.  I have no doubt that your geography program will lead to success for them." —A. Guelcher

"Thanks so much for an awesome curriculum. We are in our second week using the book with our co-op. There are fifteen students in grades 7-10. I'm loving the material...probably more than the students at this point because I don't remember ever being taught such interesting material!" —L. Rider


1. How many years can I use the Trail Guide to World Geography

You can use this book for at least 3 years. The daily drills (Geography Trails) are written for 3 levels. You can use any of the remaining trails or levels for subsequent years as a simple geography moment each day to keep atlas usage and geoTerms fresh. 

2. Can I teach more than one level at a time? 

Yes, this book was designed to allow teachers and parents to teach a variety of student levels all at once. All students are studying the same topic, but doing assignments at their own academic level. Assignment choices range from research to art to making crossword puzzles, salt dough maps and keeping a geography notebook and much more. Choose assignments for each student that meets their learning style and interest and you’ll have a great time learning together. Set aside one day each month to let each student share what he/she is learning with the others. 

3. What grade level is appropriate for this book?

Recommended for 2-high school when teaching multi grades. Most appropriate for 3rd-high school 

Use for 2nd graders only if your student is reading independently, wants to do mapping, or loves atlases. Or great if you are teaching older students and want to include your 2nd grader. 

If your OLDEST student is in 2nd –4th grade use Galloping the Globe now and step up to Trail Guide in the next year or two. Galloping the Globe is much more fun and engaging for the younger students. 

4. What other resources do I need to use this book? 

    Required Resources
    • Outline Maps - for mapping assignments (We recommend Uncle Josh's Outline Map Book or CD ROM)
    • World Atlas - for mapping assignments and daily geography drills
    • Primary level (3rd- 4th grade) - Jr. Classroom Atlas
    • Intermediate level (5th - 7th grade) - Classroom Atlas
    • Secondary level (8th grade - high school) - Atlas of World Geography
    Additional helpful resources
    • Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne - used during the last 9 weeks of the year for literature unit. Students will travel the world with the key characters of this classic mapping the trail and choosing from a variety of additional assignments. You may be able to obtain this book from the library.
    • Geography Through Art by Sharon and Rich Jeffus and Jamie Aramini - used for all art projects. Categorized by continent and listed in the Trail Guide, which project to do when appropriate to where your study has taken you.
    • Geography Terms Chart - great visual aid for understanding geography's physical terms. Used as a resource for weekly Illustrated Geography Dictionary assignments.
    • USA/World Double-Sided Map - recommended for 2nd or third graders doing the primary level.
    • The Ultimate Geography and Timeline Guide by Maggie Hogan and Cindy Wiggers - a great reference resource for weekly Points of Interest assignments. Referenced in Trail Guide by page number for your convenience.

    5. Do I need to have The Ultimate Geography and Timeline Guide in order to use the Trail Guide effectively? 

    No, it is an added helpful resource, not a necessity. Your students will be doing research on a number of topics. Often just a basic summary of places is all that is needed. When that information is in the Ultimate Guide its page number is provided in parenthesis. Summaries can also be found in encyclopedias, almanacs, and library books. The Ultimate Guide also has great mapping assignments and geography terms flash cards and glossary of geography terms that can be used throughout the school year. 

    There are plenty of assignment choices that do not make use of The Ultimate Geography and Timeline Guide, however if you like having research resources handy, you may want to include it in your personal library. 

    6. What’s the difference between The Ultimate Geography and Timeline Guide and the Trail Guide to World Geography? How do I decide between them? 

    The Ultimate Geography and Timeline Guide is a K-12 curriculum guide complete with teacher refresher course, teaching helps, geography games and activities, instructions on incorporating geography with science, history, literature and more. It includes complete units studies (Study of Holland using Hans Brinker or the Silver Skates {literature}, Volcanoes {science}, Weather {science}) and specific geography course for middle school and also for high school. It also provides instructions on setting up your own unit studies in science, literature, and history. There are over 150 reproducible pages including maps, timeline figures, scope and sequence check off and more. It is great for those who love unit study approach and can plan their own with just a little guidance. 

    Trail Guide to World Geography uses the same philosophy and teaching methods as recommended in The Ultimate Guide, but with more specific assignments laid out in a daily and weekly format. When information in the Ultimate Guide is helpful, it is listed by page number. The Trail Guide to World Geography is the book of choice for those who do not want to make their own lesson plans, want to use a incorporating geography approach, or want their students to make a geography notebook throughout the year. For the most part, once students are comfortable using an atlas they can work independently. 

    If you can swing it, both books work great together! 

    7. Can this geography course be considered in depth enough for a high school student? 

    The Trail Guide IS suitable for 1 semester high school credit if the student does enough of the assignment choices to warrant it. For a full year geography credit you can combine it with the High School level Conquering the Continents course in the Ultimate Geography and Timeline Guide. (It is referred to in the Trail Guide by page number when the added high school assignments should be done). We have an instruction sheet for using these two books for full year credit. Just ask for it in the comment section when you check out. You'll need to also include the larger continents map set in paper to do the mapping assignments from the Ultimate Geography and Timeline Guide.

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