Okay, so here is my take on Visualize World Geography
We have had it for at least six months now...it does contain a tremendous amount of material, and it is cute. Is it worth the cost? In a coop situation, school, maybe...for an individual child or two, especially for toddlers? Not really, IMO. Here is some of my reasoning:
Yes, I know this product was designed by a mom whose two-year-old was very successful with geography...but when it was put together, resources were not the same. Will it teach your children how to locate, place, draw individual countries on the map? Absolutely. I just don't think it is the most efficient use of time given the resources currently available.
For example, Alex is just about to turn three. By playing the Stack theCountries App on IPad 2-3 times per week, she can very quickly and very efficiently 'map' all of the countries of the world, on six continents, by placing them on the blank map. As she does this, she has a running commentary. " oh, that's Honduras, it goes in Central America, oh, Cambodia, maybe we can go there some day..." By playing an app that cost a few dollars, watching youTube videos, and books from the library, I find that she tends to be ahead of much of the work in VWG.
ALSO: the material in VWG depends heavily on memorizing mnemonics, nonsensical ditties, and picturing countries, etc., as common objects (such as broccoli). I think this is just an absolute waste for toddlers, as it is unnecessary! They are SO much more RB oriented that it seems to confuse and cloud Alexs memory...as though it is just instantaneous recognition/recall to see a 'picture/outline' of a country and recognize it. To get her to contain it in the form on a mnemonic that makes very little sense to her and has to be explained, simply seems to slow her down.
She would need to spend quite a bit of time watching the individual DVD segments multiple times (and whilst cute and informative!), memorizing, and requiring in-depth cultural/colloquial/dated explanations, I have found it FAR more successful to simply get on with it
We do our 'mapping' in the form of IPad apps and puzzles, read books from the library on each country/region/ acquire 'stamps' in her homemade passport once she has visited each country, do flags, foods, etc....and of course, YouTube is a very good friend! I also bought her a subscription to Faces magazine for children.
I should say, that this product may well be much more suited to older, more Left-brained children than tiny tots, especially once they can understand the nuances of language, in the form of more complicated idioms, puns, literal vs. figurative, etc...although I would still argue that the money could be spent better elsewhere
That being said. If you decide you want to give it a try, you WILL need the entire package as they all work together, constantly depending on each component.