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Geography: A Literature Approach


Four times weekly, for 20 to 60 minutes per day.

This is a week-by-week lesson plan to the four Holling C. Holling books given below.  There are 38 weeks included in this guide, so you will need to trim two to eight weeks out of the course.  Rea Berg leads us through topical American history, regional American natural and industrial history, and the history of American transportation.  (Whew!)  Per lesson, Berg assigns three pages of lively, colorful reading, then some detailing on one of the four beautiful 18”x24” regional maps of America (one per Holling book), then gives three to eight research topics.  We recommend you split the research assignments up between your children and ask them to find a graphic in a book or on the internet and write five to twelve sentences about his assigned topic/s.  (One to five sentences for the younger set, Grade 4 and under.)  Have the students share their reports together around the kitchen table, each child doing a simple oral presentation of his topic.

Early in the week, together as a family as much as possible, (1) read the assigned reading selection in the Holling book and discuss the story, the margins notes and “doodles” and the illustrations.  (2) Then assign each student one or more research topics to work on through the week.  Research reports should include one or more graphics for display, from a book or the internet.  The reports should be one to five sentences for the younger students, and five to twelve sentences for Grades 5+.  These are oral reports, so they need not be put in formal final draft form (unless you can’t resist, Mom).  Have the students work on these reports throughout the week, independently or as team projects.  (3) The next day do the map detailing, again, independently or as a team project.  (4) Late in the week have the students give their research reports orally around the kitchen table.

For quarterly reporting, report this course under science as "SCI-157 Geography" or under U.S. History as "USH-342 U.S. History & Geography."  Report progress in the Science section on your quarterly report form.  Report by Holling book title and lesson number, from Berg’s lesson plan, i.e. from Paddle to the Sea/Lesson 6 to Tree in the Trail/ Lesson 3.  For a work sample, include a copy of a portion of the map work done and a copy of a research topic done.  The research papers may be submitted in rough draft format since these are oral reports.

Scheduling Suggestions: 4hrs/wk


Geography: A Literature Approach Study Guide

  • Author: Rea Berg
  • ISBN: 0012058955        978-0012058954
  • Supplier: Christian Book

Beautiful Feet Books, 1994; 14 pages; 4 parts


Holling C. Holling books used with this course:  Available in most libraries, retail or from Rainbow Resource.  Fascinating detailed color-pencil illustration, schematics and maps decorate the pages of gentle fictional narratives.


Geography: A Literature Approach Map Pack

  • Author: Rea Berg
  • ISBN:        
  • Supplier: Christian Book

Beautiful Feet Books, 1994; four 18” x 24” regional maps of America on sturdy cardstock.


Required maps for the above lesson plan.  Four 18”x24” heavy cardstock regional maps of America, one per Holling book in Berg’s “Geography: A Literature Approach.”  Each student will need one pack.  Step-by-step assignments for detailing these maps are included in the Berg lesson plan book.  Little ones will need help with the detailing, so plan on helping the Grade 4 and under crowd closely, “sharing” a map project with them, Mom.

Holling C. Holling’s Paddle-to-the-Sea

  • Author: Holling C. Holling
  • ISBN: 0395292034        
  • Supplier: Rainbow Resource

64 pages; Houghton Mifflin (February 19, 1980)


10 lessons; using the Great Lakes map.  Suggests reading "Pond & River" by Steve Parker; "The Great Lakes" by Kathy Henderson; "Champlain: A Life of Courage" by William Jacobs, and "Cartier Sails the St. Lawrence" by Esther Averill.

Holling C. Holling’s Tree In The Trail

  • Author: Holling C. Holling
  • ISBN: 039554534X        
  • Supplier: Rainbow Resource

64 pages; Houghton Mifflin; Reprint edition (April 30, 1990)


9 lessons; using the horizontal map of the Mississippi River/Southwest region.  Suggests reading "Weapons" by Edwin Tunis, "Indians" by Edwin Tunis, "Sing Down the Moon" by Scott O’Dell, "Trappers and Mountain Men" from American Heritage Junior Library, and "Adventures in the Wilderness" from American Heritage Junior Library.  "And God’s Mountain Man: The Story of Jedediah Strong Smith" by Esther Vogt and "The Kings Fifth" by Scott O’Dell.

Holling C. Holling’s Minn of the Mississippi

  • Author: Holling C. Holling
  • ISBN: 0395273994        
  • Supplier: Rainbow Resource

88 pages; Houghton Mifflin (October 11, 1978)


10 lessons; using the vertical Mississippi River regional map.  Suggests reading "The Explorations of Pere Marquette" by James Kjelgaard, "Hiawatha" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, "The Legend of Paul Bunyun" by any author, "Shadow of the Hawk" by Robert Myron, "Evangeline" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, "Life on the Mississippi" by Mark Twain, "Mark Twain" by May McNeer and Lyn Ward, "Of Courage Undaunted" by James Daughtery, "Oars, Sails and Steam" by Edwin Tunis, and "The Tamarack Tree" by Patricia Clapp.  Too, see the Vision Book series’ "St. Isaac and the Indians" and "Father Marquette & the Great Rivers."

Holling C. Holling’s Seabird

  • Author: Holling C. Holling
  • ISBN: 0395266815        
  • Supplier: Rainbow Resource

64 pages; Houghton Mifflin (April 26, 1978)


9 lessons; using the world map.  Suggests reading "Story of Yankee Whaling" from American Heritage Junior Library.





Preparatory Week A: Use this school week to gather the materials for this course and thoroughly read the book notes, course notes, and, if applicable, the weekly lesson plan in your St. Thomas Aquinas Academy curriculum guide.


Preparatory Week B: Use this school week to complete Preparatory Week A and explore the materials for this course. Flip through all of this course’s materials. Make mental notes about the design and organization the resources for the course (editor’s notes, table of contents, maps, charts, forms, appendices, glossaries, bibliographies, end notes, internet supports, etc.).


































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