How to Naturally Work Geography Into Learning
We don’t teach geography here.
Well, not as a separate class anyway. We could. We could spend time studying geography and drilling all the facts we’re learning. And when I first got started homeschooling that’s kind of what I thought we’d be doing.
But as I found my homeschool footing, and I developed our relaxed, eclectic approach, I found that I prefer to work geography in naturally with our lessons, or through fun play.
1.) Games, Puzzles and More
Games and puzzles are a great way to work geography in through fun. If the kids enjoy the games, they won’t even FEEL like they are learning (but they will be.) Here are three things we have here at our house that we have used to learn some geography in the past.
The Kid’s USA Jigsaw Puzzle (This isn’t the exact puzzle that we have, but very similar.)
2.) As You Find it In Literature
One of the best known benefits to reading is the possibility of “experiencing” far away adventures. As those books carry you around the globe, go FIND those places that you “travel” on a map! The best example for this is reading Around the World in 80 Days--even though we got interrupted and didn’t get to finish reading it. After reading each chapter we would look up the different cities and countries mentioned as well as looking up any cultural items or customs mentioned that we didn’t understand. One of these days we’ll pick that up to read again, because that was a fun way to learn geography. =) We also have a book of tales from around the world and we have read from that book for the purpose of looking up the country that the tale was from.
Check out my list of “Geography Literature” to get started building your geography library.
3.) As You Come Across It In Lessons
Our Mystery of History and Apologia science lessons often ask us to find or do things on a map, but even when they don’t, I like to have the kids do that anyway. Sometimes we will do a mapping activity but many times we will just pull a map up to see where the history event was taking place (or where the animal species we are studying lives.)
I like to use our WonderMaps software for that since I pull up very specific maps for whatever I need in a matter of seconds. I’ve already written a detailed post about the different things you can do with this versatile software, from colored layers and labeling to boundaries and capitals. If you want to print maps out or just pull up a map from a specific time and place, it has tons of maps! (Read more about WonderMaps here.)
4.) Maps & Globes
Sometimes geography sneaks in when we aren’t playing games, reading books or doing lessons. “Hey mom, where is…?” When questions pop up, my answer is always the same: “Go find it on the map!” Right now we have a large world map on our wall. We don’t actually have a globe but I would like to have one. And we also have a couple of atlases on our bookshelf if they can’t find it on the world map. (And if all else fails there is always Google.) 😉
Brewster Peel & Stick World Dry-Erase Map (This isn’t the wall map we have – in fact, it is MUCH COOLER. If our wall map suddenly dies a mysterious death, which I can’t see happening any time soon, this is the one I will replace it with.)
Orion Relief Globe – Illuminated (As I said, we don’t have a globe, but after doing some research, this is the one I want.)
That’s easy, right?
To learn more about adding geography to your homeschool in a relaxed and fun way, come hangout with Bright Ideas Press, Maggie Hogan, Tyler Hogan, Ticia Messing (Adventures in Mommydom) and myself at 2pm central on November 12th. See you then! (P.S. if you miss that, it will be recorded and you can still watch the discussion!)
Background Image Source: Globe by George Hodan