Donna Ward (Northwoods Press) is an experienced homeschool mother with lots of advice and experience. Her Canadian history and geography curricula are among the best known in the Canadian homeschooling community.
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Donna’s programs are usually about reading rich Canadian books and non-fiction books to make learning fun, combined with some hands-on activities, worksheets, and some online links available on their website. This video explains Donna’s recommendations for the scope and order in which you can teach Canadian geography and history in your school.
LEVELS 1-3: CANADA, MY COUNTRY
In the early years, Donna Ward recommended teaching your child the basic geography of Canada. Her book Canada, my country introduces young learners to our country. In this book you will cover:
- The political and physical map of Canada – (the regions of Canada)
- Symbols of Canada – (like the flag!)
- The Canadian Government – (Vote, Prime Minister and Taxes)
- Freedoms in Canada (such as language and travel)
- Outstanding Canadians (like Terry Fox)
There are a total of 28 lessons. For each lesson you will find a list of the required materials, a short text, tasks and either a coloring page or a worksheet to fill out. (Can you hide Bucky the Beaver throughout the book?) Most of all, Donna Ward has included a list of reading materials to be used for this study. Most of them are available in libraries or you can buy them in a full social study package on their website.
Grades 2-5: Canada’s Natives: Long ago
Next, Donna Ward suggests her book will teach you about indigenous communities in pre-European North America Canada’s natives: A long time ago. Get to know the lifestyle of the seven cultural groups of the first Canadian peoples with information and stories. In this book, you will cover the following communities:
- Eastern Woodland Farmers & Hunters
- Pacific Northwest
This program is not divided into lessons, but focuses on units for each group. Most of them deal with topics such as food, accommodation, hunting, customs, etc., as well as various stories. Throughout the study, students create a project book with worksheets, coloring pages, and other activities. Here, too, Donna offers suggestions for fiction and non-fiction books to bring this period of history to life. You can find many of them in your local library or buy the Canadian Aboriginal people on their website a long time ago.
Grade 4-6: A guide for the Canadian government
Are you looking for a way to teach your children about the Canadian government and how it works? Presentation of the new Canadian government series by Donna Ward for children aged 8 to 12 years – presented as computer-based interactive modules based on the book “Who rules this country anyway?By Joanne Stanbridge.
This book offers children a detailed (and entertaining) presentation about Canada’s government through the eyes of some fictional children as a research project.
In this book full of information, a comic duo – an astute student and her quirky buddy – guide readers through the electoral and governmental process, from voting in the election to passing a law in parliament and everything in between. Finding out about Canada’s government has never been so lively! Nine chapters guide the reader through topics such as federalism, monarchy, confederation and the BNA law, elections and votes, minority and majority governments, a day in the House of Commons, Question Time and more. “
Donna divides the book into 15 lessons and uses a PowerPoint style presentation to detail and explain the ideas behind how our government works.
Once you have ordered the modules, you will receive a unique code that you can use to access them from the resource area on Donna’s website. From there you can open the guides and take part.
At the beginning of each lesson, Donna clearly stated what you need to do in the book and what this module will cover.
The lessons include both audio and video courses, as well as review quizzes and other interactive features. I liked that the quizzes were different too – multiple choice questions, dragging and dropping and selecting the picture are some of the options. And there are both sound effects and popup message boxes that let you know whether you’re right or wrong.
I found the narrative very clear and easy to follow, and of course the program navigation was intuitive – a simple next button. Although I should probably be familiar with the government system, I admit that when I checked out the first modules, I learned more about how our government works.
You can order this program on Donna’s website – it consists of two modules and the “Who rules this country anyway?“Book.
Grades 4-8: Courage and Conquest: Discover Canadian History
Donna Ward’s flagship is now the seventh update Courage and Conquest: Discover Canadian History. This program was developed for students in grades 4 to 8 and begins with life before European contact and leads through Canadian history to the founding of Nunavut. This book is thicker than its previous editions and features fantastic works of art and colored pages.
Donna has taken great care in updating this program to ensure that the study is associated with the six concepts of historical thinking and has cultivated high quality resources to support this program. It also includes ways to include it in the old Canada video series: a People’s Country, a timeline, a map, and online connections.
In this book you will learn:
- Beginnings (Pre-Contact, Vikings, Early Explorers)
- New France
- After the conquest
- Opening up the West
- From sea to sea
30 lessons are divided into five units and provide a short text to read, a task to complete, and a list of relevant additional resources and excursions you can take to make the topic more alive. One of the most popular features of this program is Donna’s recommended readings for each topic – a combination of fiction and nonfiction books to really focus on bringing every moment of the story to life for your children. You can find many of these books in your library or order them from the Canadian History Bundle.
Grades 5-7: GEOGRAPHY: PROVINCE TO PROVINCE
Donna recommends spending time in these classes and delving into Canadian geography to learn more about the provinces and the people who live in each province. Her book, Geography: Province to Province takes the students on an armchair trip through the country. In this book you will learn:
- Peoples of Canada
- The shape of the country
- Every province and Canada
Sections of text are presented to provide information about the geographic, cultural, and various other characteristics of each province and territory, such as key industries. Worksheets and mapping activities are also included. Suggested books are provided, along with the location where related books can be found in the library.
UNIVERSITY: CANADA IN THE 20TH CENTURY
For high school, Donna Ward has put together a Canadian history program that focuses on more modern history. Her book, Canada in the twentieth century, was designed to meet the requirements of a Canadian high school history course in most provinces. Intended to be used with the textbook Counterpoints – you can get a 12-month digital online version from their website and the third and fourth volumes of the DVD program, Canada, a folk story.
Divided into 13 units, students have 68 lessons to complete:
- 1896 to the First World War
- First World War
- The hard times
- Second World War
- Life after the war
- The new flag
- Uncertainty in the 80s and 90s
- History until today
- Human rights
As usual, Donna’s program relies heavily on living books and lists many high-quality fiction and non-fiction books that you can find in your local library or in your high school history bundle.
On her website, Donna Ward also offers many historical fiction and reference materials for single purchases, blog posts with great resources, and links to great things she found to help you make your home learning even better.
If you’re looking for Canadian history and geography studies, Donna Ward / Northwood Press is one of the first places you should explore.
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