Drawing Around the World: USA – Review

In my younger years, I struggled with geography. North America? No problem. When we ventured across the ocean or dipped below the equator? Now we might have an issue or two. While I have never used a formal geography program with my children, geography is an important part of our learning. Whether we look at the map to locate where current events are happening, trace the path of a character in our literature studies, or play “Stump my Sibling” with a bit of map drill, my children are learning. I was intrigued by the concept of map drawing/drilling but wasn’t sure how to begin. Brookdale House given us the opportunity to review Drawing Around the World: USA could not have come at a better time!

Brookdale House offers two different Drawing Around the World resources: Europe and USA. I was torn on which to choose. Ack! I finally went with the USA because the majority of my children are doing a year of American History. Memorizing and sketching the USA blends in perfectly with our focus for the year.

For this review, I received the e-book copy. A printed copy is available for purchase.

Drawing for Geography? What it this?

The concept is very simple to understand and implement. To help a child learn the locations of each state in the USA, the child learns a bit about each state and draws it. By not only locating the state on the map, drawing the state helps with retention. Drawing Around the World is not an art resource! Perfectly sketched states is not a requirement. This is a geography resource so don’t let the drawing aspect cause alarm. While some in my house are meticulous about getting the shaping of the state just right, most are like me and just do the best they can.

You can check out a sample at Brookdale House.

Implementing Drawing Around the World: USA

With a little bit of printing, this program is almost open and go. A weekly schedule is given to you to make sure the student practices what she is learning.

Day 1 – Introduce the state/s. Most weeks only one state is introduced. There are a few times when two or more are given in one week. In Week 19, four states are covered. However, they are larger states like Missouri and Arkansas and not difficult to master.

On this first day, the student will trace the state and then do a sketch. A bit of research to learn state capital, date of statehood, population, etc is completed. Once the research is finished, you trace the state introduced and former states covered on a dashed lined map. Then your practice drawing without any tracing lines. (Thankfully latitude and longitude lines are given which is super helpful!)

Day 2 and Day 3 – Practice all the states covered by using the dashed line maps and then drawing free hand on the blank USA map. Day 2 and Day 3 are perfect times to incorporate timed map drills if your children enjoy a bit of competitiveness to stay motivated.

Day 4 – This is your very informal “test day”. States covered are listed by memory. Then inside a blank text box, all states covered are drawn. No dashed lines to trace and no latitude/longitude to help with placement. For me this is so hard! I am not good at visual placement and spacing. My children have a much better eye.

You repeat these four days  each week. In just 27 weeks, your child will be able to draw from memory the USA!

How It Worked For Us

Drawing Around the World: USA is not limited to any specific age. We used it in our home with ages 5 – 16; seven of our nine children. The three year old “played” map drawing at the table with us.

We shared in the research of the basic state information and the older ones helped the younger ones out with spelling and such. When it came to the actual drawing, everyone worked independently. I was very impressed with how well even the younger ones completed the tasks.

Printing new maps each week with seven children can add up quickly. To help with printing costs and to save a few trees, I printed seven copies of the dashed line map, blank USA map, and the blank text box. Those went into sheet protectors so they children could practice as often as they wanted with wet erase markers. I also printed out the color USA maps included with Drawing Around the World for quick reference.

Drawing Around the World: USA begins in the northeast portion of the USA, works southward to Florida and then slowly progresses to the west. Naturally it makes sense to teach the states in an order that they join together but it also flows really well with American History studies.

For those of us who implement a Charlotte Mason philosophy in our homeschool, Drawing Around the World works beautifully. It only takes about 10 -15 minutes to do a bit of sketching with the states.

Another plus? Since Drawing Around the World e-book is a digital product, I can use it again and again over the years. Who doesn’t love a budget friendly resource? Next year when we begin our World History studies, I definitely see Drawing Around the World: Europe on the resource list.

Brookdale House offers more than just geography resources. TOS Crew members reviewed grammar, Spanish, and Writing Through History. Take a peek!


 Brookdale House Review
Crew Disclaimer

Curriculum 2013 -2014 ~ Sixth Grade

Caleb, 11, is our young man handling sixth grade work this year. Initially, I had planned to have Caleb partner up with Lydia (5th grade). For various reason that didn’t work out so I adjusted and left Caleb “on his own” so to speak.

The year ahead for Caleb:

 Bible: Personal and Family Devotions/Bible Reading. He works with his dad twice a week and they have a few books/CDs that they read/listen to and discuss.


  • Saxon 6/5. He is almost done and could be finished quickly with a bit of motivation. 7/6 is on the shelf and waiting.
  • Life of Fred: Fractions – We have never used this before so right now I am having him do at least one lesson a week. Depending on how it goes, we may adjust.


  • IEW’s Fix It Grammar – He is slowly working through this. I think I’m going to pair it with a bit of grammar review in the coming months.
  • Spelling Widsom – This is for copywork and studied dictation. I love this resource!
  • IEW’s Student Writing Intensive A – He will be starting this in a week or so.

Apologia’s Elementary Anatomy & Physiology – Slowly progress is being made through this course. At first he was really interested but interest has waned. I may move him over to the Life Science Task Cards.

Ambleside Online Year 5 – Caleb loves to read and this is working well for him. We need to work on some follow through but overall it is going well. This covers history, geography, biographies, etc.

Memory Work – Scripture, poetry, songs,etc

Choir – Caleb will participate in a homeschool choir again this year.

PE – I really need to implement this and hold him accountable! Fine tuning his daily workout with his dad.Need to direct that energy.

What do I need to add? Foreign language; a shortcoming on everyone’s list.

**This is not a sponsored post and there are no affiliate links. I’m just sharing what we are using this coming year for sixth grade.

Growing Up Wild!

But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.  Acts 1: 8

Whether in your neighborhood or in the jungles of a foreign land, we have been commanded to share the Word. Our family is blessed to know a few missionary families serving in Africa, Ireland and Indonesia. Over the years we have been able to see a glimpse of what life is like for them; the challenges they face, the joys they receive, the adventures they have. Just a glimpse.  Recently, we were able to take a closer look at life in Indonesia through Growing Up Wild.



The Wild Family is a missionary family serving the Wano Tribe in Indonesia. While serving in Indonesia, the Wild Family were led to create a series of educational DVDs that would show the day to day life of a missionary family living in the jungle. The purpose of the DVDs would not only be used as a tool to share their experiences but to encourage children to learn more about missions and to impact the world around them. Throughout the videos the Wild boys, Morgan, Kian, Hudson and Asher, guide us through their world with their parents, Mike and Libby, providing narration.  The Wilds filmed and produced this series on their own. Now that is a great hands on homeschool project!

The Growing Up Wild DVDs each consist of three 15 min episodes that take you into the daily lives of the Wild brothers. There are 5 DVDs available and we were able to enjoy Volume 1 and Volume 4. On these two volumes we learned about: Home Sweet Hut, Supply Trip, Sun & Water,  Amazing World Around Us, Adventures in Culture and Tribal Calling. Growing Up Wild is designed with 5 -12 year olds in mind but will be enjoyed by your whole family!

Map skills

The Tribe finding where the Wilds and the Wano people live.

The information about life as missionaries in remote locations and seeing how life is for them was fascinating. To get a picture of how the Wilds have adapted to live among the Wano people while maintaining the comforts of their homeland was fun to see. From the outside, the Wilds’ hut looks much like that of the Wano people but once you are inside there is a beautiful blend of both cultures…. and the Lego loft is outstanding. You will learn about how the Wano people deal with conflict inside their tribe, their food and how they are hearing and responding to the Gospel. My husband was impressed with their water system and it is amazing to see how they use God’s creation to provide clean water and power.

Venn Diagram

A Venn Diagram comparing our home with The Wild Brothers’ home.

Not only are the DVDs informative and entertaining but an activity DVD is included. After viewing each episode, the Wild Mom, Libby, gives a variety of activities that can be done to reinforce what was learned and to serve as a starting point for deeper research on a variety of topics. After viewing Home Sweet Hut on Volume 1 one of the activities was to make a venn diagram to compare our home with the Wilds. We decided to do ours on the dry erase board so even our youngest could join in the fun. The activities that are suggested are broad enough that their is something for everyone. Build your own Wano hut from sticks, interview an elderly person in your family, take a trip to the zoo to see native animals, observe bugs in your yard and make a solar oven to bake a pizza or cookies.

Growing Up Wild Volume 1

Growing Up Wild Volume 1

Growing Up Wild DVDs are a great addition to your homeschool or co-op. We have watched the DVDs more than once and I know we will watch them again. You can use these as  a tool for science, nature study, geography and more! Our family would love to have the other three volumes to enjoy.

Growing Up Wild

The Wild Family

A precautionary note: The Wano people are in their native dress throughout the videos. I expected nothing different. If you are going to be bothered by seeing tribal members in native clothing, then you may want to preview the videos at www.thewildbrothers.com to make sure you are comfortable with these DVDs. The Wilds also take an approach that some may  have issues with. The Wano people have their noses pierced through the septum. In Volume 4, two of the Wild brothers are allowed to have their septum pierced as well and you get to see the whole process. If your family does not agree with this, it could offer a great point of discussion. I don’t share this as a point for you not to buy it but so if your convictions differ, you can be prepared to discuss. We thoroughly enjoyed all the episodes and had a great discussion after each one!

Purchasing Information:

Each Growing Up Wild Volume is $18.99 plus shipping/handling. Each DVD comes with an activity guide.

You can buy all 5 Volumes for $80.99 plus shipping/handling. A 15% discount!

And you are supporting a homeschooling, missionary family in the wilds of Indonesia while learning about impacting your world through sharing the gospel!

Other Crew members were able to enjoy Growing Up Wild as well, so please stop by the Crew to see what others are saying about the Wild Brothers. Make sure you take time to visit www.thewildbrothers.com to learn more about Growing Up Wild.

Disclaimer: As a member of TOS Review Crew, I received a complimentary copy of this product for the purpose of review. No compensation was made. The thoughts/opinions expressed in this post are my own.