Paths of Exploration Review and Giveaway!

**UPDATE-Congratulations, Julieanne Miller, the winner of this fabulous giveaway!**

For History, we have tried just about every learning style that is out there. I have been searching for a more Charlotte Mason, Ruth Beechick kind of curriculum that uses living books. I had found curriculum kind of like that, but there was not enough instruction for how to plan your lessons, or how long to study each topic. I need my hand held a little more than that. Maybe a lot.
I have had the pleasure of reviewing Paths of Exploration, the first book in the Trail Guide To Learning series by Geography Matters. The whole concept of the curriculum intrigued me. I was so excited to be given the chance to review it! LSP100_lg
Written by homeschool veterans Debbie Strayer and Linda Fowler. Not only does this curriculum use living books, but it tells you exactly which books you will need. The list is not left up to my imagination, which can run wild.
The age range is grades 3-5. However, I am using it with my 2nd grader, and she is doing well. I also have added the optional Middle School Supplement for my 6th and 8th grader.
What you get-
Two, beautiful hardback books- filled with guided curriculum, including History, Geography, Science, Grammar, Reading, Art, Nature Study, and Spelling which cover an entire school year,  with CD-ROM of different levels of student notebook pages.
What I love about Paths of Exploration

  • All of the lessons are planned out for me. I simply print out any worksheets or maps I need for the week, grab the curriculum and follow along.
  • Biblical worldview.
  • The curriculum covers History, Geography, Science, Grammar, Reading, Art, Nature Study, and Spelling.
  • All of my children are learning the same thing for all subjects {except math}.
  • The Unit Study approach ties all of the subjects together in a way that really furthers retention.


  • There are extras that you can add-on for even more learning {lapbooks, Bible supplement, Middle School Supplement}.
  • It is rooted in the education philosophies of Dr. Ruth Beechick.
  • POE marries nicely with Charlotte Mason.
  • Encourages engagement with dictation, discussion, and writing.
  • The kids love it. There have been no complaints about school with Paths of Exploration. They love the readings, enjoy the maps and activities, and clamor for the Nature Study. They even enjoy the copywork and dictation! And, they finally get regular art in each week.
  • The living books chosen as the base for this curriculum are wonderful. You even get to cook, using the cookbook, Eat Your Way Around the World, by Jamie Aramini.
  • I finally have a guide to incorporate Nature Study into our homeschool.
  • Geography Matters is a home-based company, located in Kentucky.
  • The cost-I am going to break this down into two options. If you have a wonderful library, you can get away with spending only $160.00 {which is for the textbooks and CD-ROM}. You can also buy the Paths of Exploration curriculum, and all of the books you will need for the year for $400.00. That is for all subjects except Math, for an entire year. For me, I am using that with 4 children this year, which is an amazing deal in my book.
  • Non-consumable! The student pages are printed from the included CD-ROM, so everything else is reusable year after year. {The price gets even better when you factor that in!}

What I don’t love-

  • Truly, honestly, I don’t think there is anything I would change. If I did, I would tell you-trust me. This curriculum has been an answer to prayers!

Since we began Paths of Exploration, our days have been better, the kids have loved the lessons, and mom finally feels peace about how everything is working together. Our homeschool feels like we are on the right path. {No pun intended!}
Right now, there are two other levels of  the Trail Guide To Learning series available, covering American History, with three years of World History planned. The World History is going to be geared for grades 6,7, and 8. I truly hope the World History curriculum is finished by the time we get through with this series. The curriculum is that good!
To learn more about this series, and preview a lesson, you can go here. You will find a list of resources, as well as information about the units that are covered.
You can also preview the other two years that are available, Paths of Settlement and Paths of Progress. Other helpful information, and families who are using the Trail Guide To Learning series, as well as an updated reading schedule can be found in the Yahoo Group.

I truly think that you will love this curriculum. If you aren’t happy with what you are using now, I hope you will give Paths of Exploration a try, or put it on your wish list for next year. Maybe you would like a chance to win it?
That’s right! Geography Matters is generously giving away the Paths of Explorations  curriculum to one of you!
The details~
This giveaway will end on Monday, October 10th. I will pick one winner using, and will notify winner by email. If the winner does not respond within 48 hours, a  new winner will be drawn. I will ship the two hardback books and CD-ROM to the winner upon receipt of your home address.
How to enter~ {Please leave a separate comment for EACH entry you qualify for!}
Mandatory entries

  1. Follow this blog.
  2. Like Geography Matters on Facebook. {If you don’t have FB-please email me.}

Optional extra entries-

  1. Follow Geography Matters on Twitter.
  2. Like Sam’s Noggin on Facebook.
  3. Tweet about this giveaway, using @SamsNoggin so I can see your tweet.

Feel free to leave your questions, if you have any. I will answer them if I can, and if not I will find someone who knows!
**I was provided with Paths of Exploration in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.**

© 2011 – 2013, Sam. All rights reserved.

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  1. MG says

    So glad I read this came by from THL.  I am HSing two boys right now and feeling rather guilty that we haven’t done anything solid this year for history or science.  This may be something we can give a try sometime!  Love CM’s philosophy and just (so far) can’t get into anything to “text book-y”  Thanks!

  2. arobinsnestful says

    Thank you so much for sharing this review, Sam.  I won this curriculum last year through The Old Schoolhouse magazine and never really looked too much at it since we already use My Father’s World and like it.  Since reading your review I was curious and began going through it and think it might be a better fit for us next year.  I’m really excited and again thanks for sharing your opinions!

    • says

      I am so glad to hear that! I had been interested in MFW as well, but we have so many grades that I would have gone crazy, and poor. We are getting ready to start our 2nd 6 weeks, and we still love it. We will use again next year.

  3. Adjunctmom says

    I follow Geography Matters on Facebook (ask Jamie about my question that required significantly more than 140 characters to answer, poor woman).

  4. Phunandfonics says

    Just tweeted about the giveway :)  I’m keeping my fingers crossed!  This was what I had hoped to use this year, but my kids talked me into something else and it just isn’t working out like I had hoped.

  5. Katherine A says

    I am following you with  e-mail, and I liked your facebook page.  Hope I can enter in the UK.