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Mapping the World with Art

Karen @ Homeschool Girls recommended Mapping the World with Art to us.  Grace has a natural interest in geography and she expressed interest in doing more mapwork.  I was given Mapping the World by Heart which is a very different program and focuses more on mapping from memory.  It has sat unopened for a year because I find it a bit overwhelming and not very user friendly.  

I adore Mapping the World with Art.  It is a beautiful blend of art, cartography, geography and history.  It is not a sole history curriculum, but it complements everything we have learned in Story of the World.  I recommend it as a supplement to any history program.  

Every Friday we work on a lesson with the girls who come for writing group.  I schedule 90 minutes for each lesson, even though some of the videos are as short as 3 minutes.  We watch the video once without our pencils to get a feel for what we will be doing.  Then we watch the video a second time, following along with the teacher as she draws her map and gives tidbits about the geography or the history or little visual clues that help you remember what the country looks like.

After we draw the maps, we add some color.  Each girl has a unique approach to how she adds details to her map.  Some block countries in bold colors.  Others add just a hint of color along the bodies of water and land.  This time is recorded under ART in Grace’s 8th grade binder.  We were looking for a change since most of our hours accumulated from art journaling and the girls wanted a new artistic pursuit for the fall.  This is a full year course if you do one lesson a week.  I am not sure if I will remove the hours from art and give her a credit for completion of the course, rather than count the hours towards her art credit.  This remains to be seen.

When we are complete each girl will have a portfolio of their work.  I am using large very heavy cardstock paper.  Each week we hold punch the map and add it chronologically and tie off with yarn.  When all 30 maps are complete, I will bind the pages together.  In an upcoming lesson we will work on constructing a cover to this portfolio, a beautiful 16 point compass rose, which will incorporate math, art, and cartography.  I adore this multidiscipline approach to education, where the lines are blurred and the lessons overlap.  

Recently, while creating a map of the Holy Land of the Crusaders, my girls began talking about the CNN Student News reports on Syria.  They wanted to know where Syria was in relation to Israel and Lebanon.  Since this was not part of the map we were creating, we pulled out the atlas and added on to our map.  We had a great discussion about the Syrian refugees now living in tent camps in Lebanon and a woman we know who immigrated to the US from Lebanon and has family members living very close to the Syrian border.  The girls noticed that Syria has not been part of any recent CNN reporting.  I told them that news is only reported on until something “bigger” comes along, which was the debt ceiling issue.  That took priority.  The story is still there.  The suffering and conflict is still present.  Just because one station is no longer reporting it, there is much information to be found through other sources.  I guess I could have filed this lesson under Current Events.........

**This is not an affiliate post.  I was not given this program to review.  This is 100% my own opinion!


  1. We love it too but I so wish we had a group to do this with. This would make a great Co-op class! I am so glad I found it and passed the info along. You have given me SO MANY amazing resources!! The maps look awesome!!

    1. This would make a great coop class. I am going to post the link to the 16 point compass rose we are making tomorrow, which reminds me I need to come up with 5 math compasses.....

  2. I adore it, too. I love your pictures.

  3. I am so glad you posted about this. I have been looking at it and want to use it to add to Grace's Geography credit. I also have seen it on Karen's blog. I have also considered using it as a cooperative class in the Fall of next year. Thanks for sharing this.

    1. I think this would make an great coop class. The only thing I would recommend is a dvd player rather than trying to use a computer. When I had a lot of girls doing this, it was easier to see on the television than on the computer monitor.

  4. I am so glad that you shared this! I've been considering it since I saw Karen mention it on her blog, but I was worried that it would never get used or that I couldn't commit to the time. Thanks for sharing your experience with it:)

    1. Having a group helps because it is scheduled each week. I can see where it would be easy to push it to the side. I do love the quality of the program and I think it has helped increase my girls awareness of the geography of the regions we have covered so far.

  5. If your kids want up to date and truthful (may not be pretty) information on Syria, you can follow

    1. I admire that Glen keeps issues, like the Koptic Christians in Egypt, in the forefront of his reporting. I used to be a subscriber but the times of his programming never worked with all the running around we have to do. I have used The Blaze and wish there were more reporters willing to challenge the political status quo and report on what is really happening in the world right now. Thank you for this reminder to use the website in our study of current events.


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