School is in the air. =)
Shiny new backpacks and fresh spiral notebooks beckon from the store aisles. Are you ready? Not quite? Already back in the swing?
How about a round-up of some good geography resources to help get your geography groove on?
Homeschool Geography For All Ages
I’ve come to the conclusion that I must be some kind of geography nerd. 😉 I own all of these myself and I know you’re going to love them.
You see, geography isn’t just about maps and facts, it’s about the people and cultures that live inside those little lines. So yes, it might be a lot of fun coloring in a map and labeling it (see–I told you I’m weird,) but it’s so much more interesting to read about the far away places and people. All the diversity in this world–in the landscape, the climate, the people, their traditions–reminds me how creative and amazing our God is.
He created it all!
So if you find geography interesting like I do, or you’re just getting started, or you just need a way to incorporate this necessary learning, here’s a few things to help you do that.
Give Your Child The World
This new book by Jamie C. Martin, Give Your Child the World: Raising Globally Minded Kids One Book at a Time, is the newest addition to our geography arsenal. This isn’t a textbook at all, but a simple guide for helping you choose good literature to read aloud with your children to introduce them to people and places around the world.
Inside you’ll find lists of reading suggestions for each age, categorized by country. Also, at the back of the book you’ll find four indexes organized by author, region, time period, and title. It’s a very neat little book worth owning, whether as a geography supplement, a read-aloud source, or a literature study resource.
Around The World In 80 Days
The classic by Jules Verne, Around the World In 80 Days, is the adventure-packed story of Phileas Fogg (who is obsessed with time), and his faithful servant Passeportout, who travel the world on a wager. After Fogg bets his fellow club members that he can circumnavigate the globe in a mere eighty days, he leaves immediately with his valet Passeportout while being pursued by Detective Fix, who thinks he is a bank robber, making the journey even more challenging. After many adventures, including rescuing a Hindu princess, they all safely return to London.
You can turn the reading of this novel into a complete little unit study, stopping to study each place they visit, the various modes of transportation they use, the different cultures and religions, and so much more. After you’re done, have your kids look up a U.S. journalist named Nellie Bly (the pseudonym of Elizabeth Cochrane) who decided to attempt to break Fogg’s “record.” Leaving New York on November 14, 1889, she was able to circumnavigate the globe in 72 days, 6 hours, 11 minutes, and 14 seconds!
(Check out this Pinterest board I started for this, when the kids and I started doing this a few years ago. We never finished, but plan to start over and do it this fall, so new pins will be added as we go!)
Around The World Coloring Book & Twistable Crayons
For your younger learners, this Around the World Coloring Book is exactly what it sounds like. Each coloring page is a different country, with some key terrain features, landmarks, and cities marked on the map. The coloring page also includes a picture of the country flag, along with some cultural information.
For example, the map of China shows the Himalayas, the Great Wall, the Yangtze River, Beijing, and Hong Kong. The page also talks about the Chinese calendar, British colonization, the Great Wall of China, the Forbidden city, and has a picture of the Chinese flag. Lastly, a chart of stats and facts is included: capital, population, language, currency, and chief exports.
Use these coloring pages as you study by region or country. A set of twistable crayons is perfect for little hands because they don’t break as easy and don’t need sharpening.
For your older learners, or for more detailed and customizable maps, WonderMaps software is a valuable asset for any homeschool geography study. With a huge library of maps to choose from, both current maps and older maps from previous eras, you can choose which features you want to include or exclude before you print.
We discovered WonderMaps when I was a brand ambassador for them a few years ago. I’m not a brand ambassador anymore, but we still have and use the software. There are too many benefits of this software to include here in one paragraph, but I’ve written about WonderMaps before. Check out this detailed post to learn more about WonderMaps and it’s many wonderful features: WonderMaps for Relaxed Geography.
Tracing Paper, Color Pencils, Thin Markers
Last but not least, every geography curriculum needs some basic supplies! Tracing paper, color pencils, and thin markers to give you everything you need to get going. What’s the tracing paper for? Tracing maps is an excellent exercise in hand/eye coordination, but it’s also a good way to input the shape and detail of a state or country into your brain’s memory banks.
Even if you don’t use tracing paper and just outline the printed maps with markers, you’ll get the job done. Check out this post about tracing the United States with markers that I did with the kids. If you trace a state or country enough times, you and your kids will be able to recognize and identify it by shape, and possibly even be able to draw it from memory if you keep practicing!
Complete Geography Study
You could pull off a complete geography study with only these resources. However, if your kids are junior high or high school ages, if you’ve done something like this before and now you want something more in depth, or if you’re looking for something worthy of a high school credit, you could use all of these items as supplements with North Star Geography from Bright Ideas Press (the geography book we use.) If you dig into the companion cd that comes with North Star, and start studying the world region by region, these items will help you get the job done.
But as I mentioned, if you’re just looking for a relaxed way to enjoy studying the world with your kids, all you need are some good books, some good maps, and something to color with. =)
Do you like geography, too?
- How do you define geography? Give me your best definition!
- What are your favorite geography resources?
- Which of these items seems the most exciting and why?
Note: This post was originally a giveaway built around my favorite geography materials, part of the “Back to School Gift Basket” giveaways from iHomeschool Network members. The giveaway has since closed and the winner announced.
If you have any questions about the above items, feel free to message me or comment below. Have a great school year!