Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Geography Ideas

Geography was not a 'living' subject to me when I was in school. However, I've found it to be critically important as an adult. I wanted my children to have the opportunity for geography to be a regular and interesting part of their lives. Here are some of the ways that work for our family:

Display Geography Tools
We keep a map of the world (self-sticking, laminated) where it is easily accessible. I keep US maps and a state map in my lessons plans binder. We have two globes.

Incorporate Geography Into Other Subjects
When we are studying history, we find the places mentioned in the lessons on our maps or globe. During science, we find the location of the animal's habitats or natural formations we are learning about.

Utilize Other Geography Tools
My kids love the geography sing-along CD we own, as well as geography coloring books. There are a wealth of great products on the internet. I often print out free coloring sheets that have been recent topics of geography discussion for my kids to work on while we are reading out loud together. I encourage my kids to draw maps 'for fun' of the area we live in.

Look for "Geographical" Opportunities
Any time we talk about where someone else lives, someone else going on a vacation, or something happening in the world, we find it on a map. When we talk about going somewhere ourselves, we find it on a map if it is farther away, or we discuss street names and directions if it is nearby. When we are traveling, we frequently mention which direction we are going and the differences in the landscape and basic geology of the places we move along.

Like most things in homeschooling, learning and understanding geography happens slowly over time, based on your child's interest. I've never given a 'formal' lesson on maps to my children, but I occasionally mention finding the compass. I like to let the kids sing their favorite geography songs to find things on the map when we are looking for something new, and we'll use hints to help find it (I will name the continent first, then the country, then a nearby city or landmark). My kids all have different levels of interest in geography, but it will be a tool they can use with confidence any time they need to.

This post is linked up at The Hip Homeschool Hop.

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