Teaching Geography in your Homeschool
If you think geography is about musty maps and memorizing place-names, then think again!
Geography is what is happening around us - and all over the world.
Children are naturally interested in the world around them - and it is easy to capitalize on this!
There are lots of creative ways of teaching geography.
Let me share with you some of the fun (and easy) ways that we have covered geography subjects as part of our homeschooling projects. I hope you find something to inspire you.
Why not work through some of my homeschooling ideas and see how much geography your children can soak up!
Geography for Kids
Encourage the children to take notice of the world around them. If you read up on your local area, you will be able to point out interesting landmarks to your children on walks. Try making a town guide book of your local area.
Make use of kids geography resources such as games, videos and online resources.
Make maps. Children seem to love drawing maps. Encourage them to draw maps of treasure islands or fantasy places - it will still give them an idea of how physical structures relate to paper drawings. It is also fun to draw maps based on favorite stories (such as The Hobbit and The Wizard of Oz).
We have made 'Memory Maps' of our local area - the best sweet shop, the park, Grandma's house etc. A friend even had her children needlefelt their memory map.
Another map project would be to make a large papier mache map of the world. You could add landscape features and paint different continents in different colors. If you spent time on this, you could make a very detailed map.
Strew lots of maps around the house. Different maps can show different characteristics - try local maps, world maps, political maps, maps of geographical features. It is also interesting to look at very old maps and see how people's perception has changed.
Read lots of books based in different geographical places. Why not start with Around the World in 80 Days, or check out my list of geography books. We add stickers to a large map when we read a story about another country. You could even try reading your way around the world.
Make some pictures of your children in different parts of the world and see if they can guess where they are. This is a good way to get them to recognize landmarks.
Why not try cooking your way around the world or around the states?. You can get some ideas for this here. Even just taking notice of where your food comes from when you are shopping can be a geography education. Last summer we tried a new 'fruit or vegetable' once a week - and looked up where they came from in an atlas.
Another way of studying geography, is to chose a geographical feature (mountains, volcanoes, caves, waterfalls etc) and finding out more about them - including plotting locations on a map. You could use this to tap into an interest your child has - how about plotting locations of dinosaur finds, or the birth place of pop stars!
Make a card game based on geography information. Or make up your own home-made quiz. We play a homeschool geography game where the children have to guess 'where I am' based on the description I give them.
Make a lapbook about a region your child likes - rainforests, or the Antarctic usually go down well! This is a fun way of teaching geography facts.
Teaching geography as part of your homeschool curriculum doesn't have to be difficult.
Just watch for the opportunities around you as they arise - from the media, books or trips away. Once you start looking you will find geography everywhere!