PAC World Geography offers an independent study option for acquiring one high school credit with this year-long course. The course consists of six PAC texts, six activity workbooks, and a teacher’s resource kit.
The texts are softcover, non-consumable books ranging from 60 to 68 pages each. Printed in black and white, they have some maps, photos, and illustrations, some of which appear to be clipart. The activity workbooks correspond directly to each of the texts with questions to be answered for each section of each chapter. Students answer questions as they read each section. Questions include fill in the blanks, multiple choice, true/false, writing definitions of vocabulary words, map identification work, and an occasional question that requires a paragraph response. While most questions deal with factual information presented in lessons, a few questions challenge students to think more deeply about what they have read, usually requiring students to analyze and synthesize information. Each section in the text concludes with a motivational “Life Principle” quotation that students are to learn well enough to recite and write from memory. (Personally, I’d make these optional.)
The teacher’s resource kit includes answer keys, quizzes and tests, both in print and on a CD-ROM. You can use whichever you prefer.
Each of the six texts is dedicated to a geographic region: North America (with heavy emphasis on the U.S.), South America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and Oceana. Within each text, content is presented under the same 15 topic headings: borders and boundaries, terrain, bodies of water, climate, vegetation and wildlife, famous sites and events, races and ethnicities, languages, religions, transportation, forms of government, diplomatic relations, economics, natural resources, and major industries (including imports and exports).
As is typical of geography texts, the content oftentimes conveys a lot of information. The authors try to overcome “information overload” by using a more creative writing style such as this: “In the north, plains and prairies spring up in the wake of the Rockies, while in West Texas, desert restakes its claim on the land, once again prohibiting most life and breaking into crags and the occasional low outlying peak” (Chapter 1, p.9). The authors also incorporate stories and historical context which also helps break the stream of geographic information.
A free market and limited government philosophical outlook shows up, especially in the discussions of industry and forms of government. While the course is religiously neutral, it presents full discussion of religious beliefs in each area, sometimes revealing a bias toward Christianity. The course as a whole does allow the authors opinions to come through from time to time—a feature I think makes the content more interesting.
Students can work independently through the course. Texts are easy to follow and require no other lesson presentation. A parent or teacher needs to check student activity assignments, quizzes, and tests.