Try It Before You Buy

by GeoMatters


Try Unit 1 (the first six weeks) of Paths of Exploration along with all the resources you need to complete the unit. Every subject is covered with this engaging program except for math. Your students will see the path of Columbus through multidisciplinary eyes, but always with the same goal: to make learning enjoyable, memorable, and motivating. 

We have also included the downloadable version of our younger level (K-2nd) and older level (6th-7th) extensions. If you have students in those age ranges, you can easily incorporate them with just a few additional resources.

Please note that this package contain only digital items. Your order will include a link to download the items; you will also receive a separate email with the link.

The free Try It Before You Buy Package includes:

You will need the two readers used throughout Unit 1, Christopher Columbus and Meet Christopher Columbus.

If you are teaching children in either the Junior (K-2nd) or Older (6th-7th) Extension grade ranges, you will need additional resources not included in this package.

Junior Resources needed for Unit 1:

Older Extension Resources needed for Unit 1:

"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. [Student pages, or worksheets, are also available pre-printed and ready to use.]
  • Biblical worldview. [Yet contains no Biblical content, so this curriculum qualifies for programs paid with government funding.]
  • 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.
  • Paths of Exploration 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.

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!}

—Sam's Noggin Blog

"I am anxiously awaiting the release of the program. If and when you plan on taking preorders, please let me know. I have most of the books already and we are raring to go. My boys (yes, I do mean it) really want to start the program. We used the sample and by Friday, they were asking for it. Even the writing part. God's Blessings to you and all who worked so hard on this curriculum."

—K. Phillips

"I very much enjoyed the historical fiction books. They helped in making the history more real and come alive for my kids. The Reader's Digest N. American Wildlife is a great quick resource. I enjoyed watching my kids draw pictures from it. The work for the kids was just about right. It wasn't too much or too little. My son is not crazy about drawing. But, I have to say, his drawing seemed to get better and better each time. My daughter liked the drawing and we all enjoyed reading the historical fiction stories. My son is pretty independent with his school work and by using Paths of Exploration, it allowed us the opportunity to come together with the reading time, discussion, etc. which is something I really enjoyed."

—M. Lindsey

"Here's a fun story. One school day I couldn't find Surviving Jamestown on the bookshelf. When I asked the children to help me find it, my daughter ran to her room and retrieved the book. After apologizing, she said she wanted to know what happened in the next chapter and ended up reading the entire book! Now, how could I be upset with that? "


"When we received our resource books for the program, we were a bit intimidated by the thickness of some of the books. In fact, the kids said 'Whoa Mom, what have you gotten us into now!' It is amazing how I have found my son, more than once, reading the North American Wildlife Guide 'just for fun'. Thanks for the 'intimidation.'"

—R. Nelson

"Dr. Beechick's principles are the basis for this curriculum. During its creation, I had the privilege of consulting with her. Teaching in a natural manner is important to her and we reflected her values by incorporating language skills and history as a unified part of the everyday routines. Thank you, Dr. Beechick."

—Author, Debbie Strayer

"Oh my goodness yes it arrived!! We have already started this week and are really having fun with it. It's all I can do to keep the children from reading everything out of sequence. The only complaint I've had so far is the reading selections from day to day are just too short! They want more...didn't expect that with Columbus...thought I'd get it later with Squanto or Lewis & Clark for sure. Thank you for the quick service and for another wonderful curriculum selection! You have certainly blessed this family with your talent and insight."


"We have enjoyed Paths of Exploration and are just finishing Lewis and Clark. We have enjoyed looking back at all the wonderful material completed. Their improvement in writing and drawing have really stood out. I have also liked the critical think elements such as "reflective thinking." We have used [curriculum X] in the past and love literature based material but this curriculum has really eased our load without compromise. In fact, since it is more user friendly I find we are completing more material. Thanks for having my kids and me in mind when you designed Paths of Exploration. We are already looking forward to Paths of Settlement."


"I ordered Trail Guide to Learning this past Tuesday and received it a mere two days later! Wow! Kudos to your customer service department! I am so happy with the curriculum thus far. It is extremely well-laid out and very easy to implement. I have [curriculum X] I've tried to use [curriculum Y] and ended up selling them after a few weeks. You have brought together the best elements of all of those and then some and put it together in a way that makes sense and is easy to use.  I know people will want to tweak and add things, especially grammar, but I'm with Dr Beechick and plan to wait until high school for formal grammar instruction. I also love the teaching notes. They provide handholding without being scripted. They help me to understand what my children should be taking away from each lesson and provide opportunities for discussion. Your curriculum is an answer to my prayers. Thank you!"


"Paths of Exploration has restored my joy and confidence in our homeschooling. My children have not only enjoyed school more but they have grown tremendously in their ability to think through and communicate ideas with clarity and depth. We have many thrilling stories of triumph that started in struggles as my children were challenged beyond their natural abilities to discuss, to write, to draw or present their work. I am eternally grateful for how my own views of what learning really is have been transformed so that we can be free to love learning together."


"I have been using Paths of Exploration this past school year and I am very happy with it. I am looking forward to Paths of Settlement. I am wondering if a list is available for the books that will be used so I can begin planning and preparing. Thanks so much for any information you might have and thank you for this wonderful, innovative curriculum!"


"We just started home schooling last week. Fourth and Eighth grade, POE. Love it so far!"

—B. Hedrick

"We just started using POE at the end of last year, and I balked about it for a while thinking it wouldn't be for us after all, but when I finally gave it a chance, we LOVED it! I'm homeschooling a 4th and 6th grader using POE! Thanks for such a wonderful curriculum!"

—S. Mitchell

"Hi there - we started POE this year with a 4th and 7th grader. What we like most about it are the readers. The kids get so excited when the historical figures (most of whom seem fictional to them) start appearing in more than one reader! History really comes alive to them when they realize that the "storybook characters" were actually real people!"

—B. Piscoya

"My 11 y.o. is on the third year of this curriculum and it has been a great curriculum to use, with enough variety of activities to keep even this mom from getting bored :) while staying organized with the lessons written out..."

—M. Martin

"I have to say after discovering Trail Guide to Learning ( we are in our 2nd year of it ), that I finally enjoy homeschooling. This has been our first curriculum that we all decided we wanted to do again. I had my children write about what they liked about their school year and my daughter wrote, 'I loved everything.' From a child who struggles, this was a huge blessing. Thank you all!!!"

—K. Grass

"I am using Trail Guide to Learning: Paths of Exploration this year with my 11 year old and 8.5 year old. As you have probably realized, this was written by the same two women who wrote the LLATL series (Debbie Strayer and Linda Fowler).

I give this program my highest recommendation. This is by far one of our best years in homeschooling. I don't know how many children you have, or how old they are, but this curriculum has been the perfect fit for my family this year.

"I love that all subjects, with the sole exception of math, are woven together—my kids are absorbing so much more and are enjoying their learning in the way that I've always hoped they would. Each week, we are reading together, drawing together, learning about geography, science, history together. My children are appreciating more of the reasons WHY people did the things they did:

  • what motivated Christopher Columbus to explore
  • why didn't Columbus sail directly west into the Atlantic Ocean?
  • what about John Smith's life prepared him to become a leader in Jamestown?
  • what were the reasons the Pilgrims felt lead to leave their comfortable homes in England to seek a new land in which to live?

Although there is consistency in some skill areas from day to day, there is also a tremendous variety in what we are doing—this keeps it fresh for the kids.

The student notebook at first glance appears dull—black and white pages that I print out and put into a binder for the kids. However, as they are adding their writing and drawings, completing maps, etc. in the notebooks, they become a wonderful body of work that they already are enjoying going back and reviewing.

I have used various different curricula over the past number of years with varying levels of success. I can honestly say that for me, at this point in our family/homeschooling life, this is the best fit."


"Paths of Settlement arrived yesterday, and I wanted to tell you how excited we are to begin school soon!  I also wanted to thank you for putting all of the teacher's resources on the cd-rom with the student resources.  That is such a huge help, and I wanted to tell you that I really appreciate your thoughtfulness and attentiveness in helping to make homeschooling flow even more smoothly for us Moms.  This homeschool curriculum has been such an answer to prayer for us, and such a rich blessing in so many ways. My kiddos I'm homeschooling are in 4th and 6th grades this year, so we are so grateful we found POE last year and are growing with this curriculum series."

—J. Garrido

"In the spring, while learning about Daniel Boone, my father was cutting hay and noticed a bee swarm…(he personally in 40 years of farming had never seen one) he called us to come see it b/c he had heard my children talking about bees and Daniel Boone one day.  I can tell you that we would not have normally cared one bit about a bee swarm…until POE.  Not to mention our trip to Jamestown…we live in Virginia and have passes to Williamsburg/Jamestown and we have never experienced Jamestown with so much excitement and knowledge until POE as well!  I appreciate this forum, the writers, and users of TGTL, thanks again for answering my question and putting together an awesome adventure in homeschooling."

—D. Amiss, posting in the Trail Guide to Learning Series Yahoo Group

"I am so excited about this new curriculum I am using I just have to share! It is called Trail Guide to Learning and it is produced by the Geography Matters people. It is based on Ruth Beechick's methods. I am just loving it. We just finished the first 6 weeks—which completes the first unit. It was such a sense of accomplishment to finish the unit and then do the included assessment on my kids. They really retained the materials! It has everything included except math. The lessons are short and easily geared to lower level students. It's so simple, I feel like I am short-changing them, until I did the assessments and found out how much they learned. There are lapbooking activities for my 2nd grader and much harder writing assignments for my 5th grader. We do everything together, so I don't have to prepare two totally different lesson plans. I really love the books that we are reading. I just love this curriculum! … I am doing the Paths of Settlement. If you are looking for something, check this one out!"

—G. Moss

Edition: Third Edition, 2016
Format: Various

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