Discover Africa Notebooking Packet

It is finally finished! My huge, comprehensive Discover Africa notebooking packet for homeschooling families (and beyond) is complete. I am not kidding when I tell you that writing this, combing through all the information, going over proofs, collecting photographer permissions, correcting stuff on Wikipedia… feels a little bit like a long, laborious pregnancy. Thankfully, there was no puking.

Discover Africa!

It truly was a labor of love, though. When my son wanted to teach a class at our homeschool co-op this year on geography, I told him we needed to narrow it down. Maybe visit each continent individually. He immediately chose Africa for the first whirlwind tour. Confident that I would be able to find any number of awesome curriculum packs for learning about Africa, I filled out our class proposal and sent it merrily on its way.

Map coloring

Days upon days later, I was stunned. I could find workbooks, downloads, and geography packets that claimed to teach about Africa, but absolutely none of them promised to visit every country. Most would touch on a few key areas, maybe touring the land by region, or only highlighting countries with popular, well known tribes. One packet I found promised a semester’s worth of Africa activities. I was so disappointed to find it only visited five countries… out of fifty-four.

Pasting on the photos

Even more were out of date and didn’t include Morocco’s current hold on Western Sahara. Others didn’t include South Sudan. I could have worked with those limitations if the rest of the packet explored Africa in depth. But they didn’t.

Well. I did what any self respecting completely crazy homeschooling mother does. I designed my own.

Though I’m sure I’ll continue to find little things to tweak (such is the nature of publishing; especially duct-tape-and-staples PDF publishing), but this huge 200+ page packet is ready for public consumption. Pardon me while I jump around and throw confetti!

Comparing tribe stories

Discovering the Packet

Allow me to give you a little tour of the only curriculum-help I know of that includes notebooking pages and maps for every single country in Africa. When you purchase the zip file (and I’ll spare you from scrolling, it’s $15 – but scroll anyway, there’s a freebie down below), you receive a folder just bursting with PDF printables for your use. There are lots of printing and formatting options, so the very first thing I recommend is to take a look at the 19 page Resource and Introductory Guide to familiarize yourself with your options.

There are 6 pages containing photographs sized just right for pasting onto your notebooking pages. All the photos are organized by country.

I print mine out and keep them in the front of the binder for easy access.

Photo pages

There are 7 pages of full color flags that act as a color guide as children color in the black line flags on each notebooking page. You can also cut them out and paste them into your notebook, or reduce the size to use in a passport.

I print ‘em all out and keep them in the back of the binder:

Flag sheets

After the coversheet there are two full maps of the African continent. One that is simply an outline (we used ours to mark the deserts, mountains, and such), and another that shows the current political borders — including South Sudan, and the disputed border between Morocco and Western Sahara.

Continent maps

We think it would be fun to color the countries as you visit them, but our daughter thought they all needed to be colored now.

Customizable options for all ages

Here is what a ‘full spread’ for a country looks like. On the left you have the country’s notebooking page; chock full of areas to fill in as you explore the land. On the right, an outline map of the country. Color in the lakes, rivers, roads, major cities, mountains, and more!

Blank & ready for exploring!

If you have little ones, or don’t want to do that much writing, you also have the option to print out the ‘mostly-filled-in’ notebooking pages. These only have a few places where writing is needed, while still leaving lots of activity areas for littles to help with:

Liberia

You can fill in the pages together as a family, taking turns with the writing…

Kenya

Or let your older children research and report as they work through the bulk of the pages themselves:

Zimbabwe

I’ve included tons of resources in the packet for wonderful books and websites to use. Though I couldn’t include every amazing photograph I could find (due to copyright and royalties), I do try to lead you in the direction where you can find photos to print yourself. No harm in printing screen captures for your own use, just don’t share or distribute the pictures you find without permission from the photographer.

Copies of postcards and money are super fun to paste in, I give you resources in the guide for where to find these things. Here’s J. with his real 10 Billion Dollar Zimbabwe money that we made a reduced copy of to paste onto the Zimbabwe page.

A real ten billion dollar bill from Zimbabwe

K’s ready to cut out some cute paper dolls that have all kinds of ceremonial clothing to wear:

African paper dolls

Discover Africa! includes:

  • A 19 page Resource and Instruction Guide to help you get started. It’s packed full of helpful suggestions, recommended books, and directions for printing and organizing the PDF printables.
  • A file containing 54 single / individual beautifully designed, blank notebooking pages for each country in Africa in PDF format.
  • A file containing 54 single / individual mostly-filled-out PDF notebooking pages for use in a homeschool co-op / classroom setting, or for use with younger children. These pages have most of the areas filled in, but still leave areas of activity for the students.
  • A file containing outline maps of the continent of Africa, Africa with countries defined, and individual maps of each country.
  • PLUS more files containing the single notebooking and map PDFs merged together so you can print one big book all at once. Both styles (blank & filled out) are included.
  • A 7 page file containing all 54 African flags – use these as a color guide when the children color in the flag on the notebooking pages, or shrink them down for use in passports (instructions to make or buy passports is in the Resource Guide).
  • A 6 page file packed with beautiful thumbnail photos for children to paste on their notebooking pages. Photos show a wide variety of African peoples in their traditional, ceremonial, or every day dress. Photographers are listed in the Resource Guide with their URLs so your family can explore more of their pictures.

Note: I made a huge effort to ensure all photos were ‘modest’ for conservative families. Though I’m a big believer in experiencing the full culture, I now have a 10 year old who is pretty uncomfortable with nudity. So no worries here, is what I’m saying.

Notebooking

Notebooking pages have the following features

  • The country’s known name, plus the official name.
  • A map showing where the country is in the world.
  • A spot to write in the surrounding countries (this area is filled out on the mostly-filled-out pages).
  • The country’s flag to color. (Use the included flag color guides as needed).
  • A sample of a sentence written in a popular language of the country, and an area to write in what the language is.
  • An area to paste in included color photos showing what the people look like and what they wear.
  • Places to record population, capital city, terrain, government, currency, major religion(s), industry, agriculture, landmarks, and whether or not the country is at war or peace. (All but 3 of these will be filled in on the mostly-filled-in sheets).
  • A box to list interesting things about the culture, cuisine, or other interesting facts (this is filled in with some additional space left on the mostly-filled-in sheets).
  • Finally, there is a spot to list the page number, and the region of Africa the country is located in.

Navigating Zimbabwe

Flexibility and thoroughness

You can choose to print one country at a time as needed, or print everything in one big ‘book.’ You might decide to visit the countries alphabetically or by region. It’s a very flexible packet that gives you great ‘bones’ for a wonderful year spent exploring the entire beautiful continent of Africa.

Cutting out the photos

Where to get it

First! A freebie, because you know I love freebies, right? You can get the photos for our Africa pages, organized by country, right here, for free. (Psst, if you buy the rest of the unit, it’s already bundled in the zip file.)

Free download!

Download the free photo pack right here! (Tip: Definitely print these in color.)

The ginormous 300 MB zip file containing the entire Discover Africa! notebooking packet is for sale for just $15.00. I’m using e-junkie to host and deliver the large file. It might take a while to download, so please be patient. But do let me know if you have any trouble.

Purchase the notebooking packet

Buy Now Click the ‘buy now’ button to purchase Discover Africa! for $15.00.
Payments are handled by Paypal, and delivery is handled by e-junkie. (Try this link if you have any problems with the ‘buy now’ button).
Thank you!

Spread the word, earn money

Lots of homeschoolers already have their year planned out, and have maybe even already started school (darned organized homeschoolers!). I sure would love to hand you wads of cash to help me get the word out about Discover Africa! You can sign up as an affiliate, stick my marketing buttons all over your websites artfully in your sidebars and earn 33% on every single sale. That’s an easy $5, me thinks.

Visit my affiliate page to sign up and scoop up some marketing buttons.

Some nitty gritty post-script

The packets are designed for use by families. If you’d like to use the packet in a classroom or homeschooling co-op, please contact me with the number of children who will need packets, and I will work out a special price for you.

Customers will receive updates whenever I need to change a file, for example if a country changes borders, splits, or revises their flag.

Comments

  1. Amy says

    I shared your post on my facebook page. This looks AMAZING!!!! If only we were studying Africa this year instead of Ancient Egypt & Ancient Greece…. maybe next year. Love everything about it. Truthfully, I just want to buy it so *I* can do it. :-)

    • says

      Thanks Amy! I really appreciate it.

      When my mom was here helping me cull info for the mostly-filled-out pages, we learned a ton! She got home and wrote, “I’ve been able to use my Africa knowledge in a fe conversations now!” I’m a bit biased, but I do think it’d be super fun for adults who just want to know more. Especially learners like me that remember through notebook making, illustrating, and hands on activities.

  2. says

    This looks really cool and wow what a lot of work. Random piece of information that is near and dear to my heart. In Tanzania, people with albinism are killed for their body parts. Albinism is a genetic condition that causes a lack of pigment in the skin, hair and eyes. Most people are more familiar with the term albino. Witch doctors in Tanzania use the body parts in potions and tinctures that promote anything from wealth to fertility.
    I wish I was making this up. Visit Under the Same Sun (http://underthesamesun.com/) for details. Might be too strong for a young crowd, but it never hurts to spread the word among parents and older students :)

    • says

      I came across that when we were searching through photographs. There was a woman holding her sweet little Albino girl and the caption was about how they had to flee her tribal area due to this, so she could save her child.

      I did leave it out, thinking it was a bit too macabre for little ones (along with all the heartbreaking female circumcision and the like), but it is good to know, thanks for sharing.

  3. carrie says

    This looks amazing. I don’t even homeschool, and I totally want to do this with my kids. I just started back to work, and won’t get paid til the end of September, but then? I am totally buying this. Thanks for doing all this work and sharing it!

    • says

      I think it’d be such a fun ‘journey’ for families, regardless of whether or not they homeschool!

      Thanks so much :o)

  4. Charli says

    This is amazing. Seriously! Wow! I think we may need to cover Africa next year! I’m starting a co-op this year, but I think we will all be taking turns with it. Not sure how I could work this in, but a desperately want to!

  5. Natalie says

    This is fantastic! My children are a bit young, but I will definitely pin and share (and hopefully it will still be available in 2 -3 years for my own children!). Beautiful work, Jessica.

    • says

      Maybe it’ll even be even bigger by then with lots of lesson plans ;o)

      Thank you!

  6. says

    I love how you showed it off in this post…makes me realize how much work goes into these packets and what a great deal $15 is!!!

  7. says

    Wow! You are quite amazing! I shared it on my facebook page for you. Hopefully all my homeschooling friends will run out and buy it :) I’d share it on my blog, but I don’t think homeschoolers make up a big portion of my audience :/

  8. says

    So much awesomeness. Kenny participated in “Galloping the Globe” this past year (which sells for $21.95 to $29.95) and it didn’t have NEAR the resources, certainly not the free packet of photography, or anywhere near the level of work this one has.

    YOU WIN THE PRIZE.
    price = my extreme gratitude

    This needs to be a class in our co-op next year.

    • says

      I need ‘like’ buttons again on my comments, even if I was the only one who ever used them.

      LIKE.

      Thanks Heatha!!

  9. says

    Jessica, this is an amazing resource! I can’t wait to use it for our geography studies this year. I hope you are planning to do the other continents as well. Great job!

    • says

      Thank you, I sure am! As soon as I finish (and share) my big solar systems packet, I’m moving on to Europe. Can’t wait!

      • Valena says

        Awesome!!! I’m on pins and needles waiting for your solar system packet…. we’re studying astronomy this year, and just seeing all the great work on Africa… I can’t wait until it’s available. Thanks so much for sharing all your hard work with the rest of us :)

  10. says

    This is fascinating. We have three people from our little area who just returned from Africa. A couple [our former stake president] served in Zimbabwe and I can’t remember where Elder Jaggi went.. How fun for all those iFamily kids!

    • says

      Ooh, I wish I had their photos and souvenirs to share. The iFam kids are getting a much simpler version so I can fit it into our 12 week semester, but it’s still going to be total awesome sauce. Yay!

  11. says

    Wow! This looks fabulous! Your next endeavor should be a Teacher’s Pay Teacher’s or the like sort of store… if you enjoyed creating this anyway :)

  12. says

    So… How does the co-op version differ from the home version?
    I have to admit, I was totally thinking of using (all your hard work on) this to teach a class next semester at our homeschool co-op (if we like the folks and I feel like I can actually be a functional lead teacher). :) Plus I’m super curious how you’re going to translate this to the class setting. Because I have no qualms about stealing wonderful ideas (with proper credit of course).

    • says

      You could totally use this packet in a co-op setting.

      How it’s applied would depend on how the co-op is run, how much time you can get for your class, and how old the kids are. In a regular classroom setting where the kids are meeting every single day, you could obviously move much quicker through the material.

      In my co-op, I had kids 8 – 12 sign up for one hour, and we meet once a week. I would think for us, we’d need to split the class into 2 semesters, visiting 3 countries each week. But since we aren’t sure if we’ll still be here next semester (trying to move and all) I couldn’t commit to more than fall semester.

      So, to make my tour of Africa fit into a one-hour-once-a-week-12-week-class, I’ve created region notebook pages that go with the Kathy Troxel geography songs. I’m going to upload those soon, Kathy has given me permission to share them for free. Woot!

      Anyway, I wish we knew for sure what the future holds because I am itching to do this unit with my co-opers!

      • says

        Eeep! I’ve totally been drooling over the geography songs CD, but hadn’t been able to justify the purchase to hubby yet. You must just be looking for ways to rock my world. :)

  13. says

    You are *not* charging enough for this.

    Truly a staggering deal! Bravo on a job well done.

    • says

      Oh thanks! Pricing was tough, since there are so many lovely free resources out there and I know lots of us homeschoolers can be quite the penny pinchers :o)

  14. trena says

    we aren’t homeschooling this year (decided to at least give the local school system a try before making a pre-emptive decision ;)) but I try to do fun school ‘stuff’ on the side to broaden my 6 year old’s horizons. He has just started to kind of be more aware that there are places beyond VA and even the United States–I can definitely see this being something that would be fun to use to help him learn (we even had a random conversation out of the blue about Africa the other day) without him realizing that it is ‘school’. I am very impressed with your MASSIVE hard work and am excited to see what else you have planned (we have an Usborne book about planets & the solar system that is a favorite to be read @ bedtime…so that is another possible something the 6 year old would dig doing). Keep up the AWESOME work!!

  15. says

    I grew up in Africa – this is an awesome project you have done – well done!

    Tks Homeschool enrichment Magazine for sharing!

  16. Carrie says

    I don’t homeschool but my youngest son just started junior high and the history class is Asia/Africa so this looks amazing! My older son would love it too. You are amazing!
    Carrie (a fellow Idahoan)

Trackbacks

  1. [...] big sister, who it totally awesome sauce, has created a Discover Africa Notebook packet for homeschool. Apparently it’s hard to find a comprehensive collection of the whole [...]

No comment form? Comments are automatically turned off after a handful of days to help prevent spam. But you are welcome to contact me if you have any questions or comments.