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Teaching Geography in the Homeschool

Over at the Curriculum Choice this week, some homeschooling moms are discussing how they teach geography in their homeschools

Among other things, Heather, mom of 4 kids aged 12 and up, shares how her family combines Earth Science and Google Earth with geography.  She also presents a Narnian atlas as a free download.    

Heidi, mom of three, has many practical suggestions and links to freebies and shows how her high schooler made his own atlas.

And Tricia shares her artistic houseful’s hands on projects, including a link to an intriguing free high school geography program

Here is my contribution:

When my father reads books, he often has an atlas open.  That has been a wonderful example, and we occasionally do it as well.  More than that, we have absorbed his attitude and most of our geography has been learned by reading.  After all, many of the best books involve elements of geography.

Here are some read alouds we loved:  Northern Magic, Kon Tiki, We Never Meant to Go to Sea, Carry On Mr. Bowditch, Two Years Before the Mast (very interesting, but not good as a read aloud—we actually gave up on it), The Swiss Family Robinson, Hudson’s Bay:  Everyday Life in the Wilds of North America (required some editing of gruesome events while reading aloud to young children, available online here).

There are also The Brendan Voyage (and anything else by Tim Severin), many of the books by G. A. Henty (often not politically correct but a great source of history and usually also full of interesting geography, available online here), and Henty’s biography.  Your library will likely be full of travel stories, some of which make the best geography resources.

And, although I don’t entirely like it, my girls have learned an enormous amount of geography by watching the Grand Tour travel episodes with their brother. (Note that the language and values are not ideal, but apparently no worse than in other modern media.)

My children have always enjoyed atlases, wall maps (we even had a world map on the kitchen table under a plastic sheet until my longsuffering husband finally protested and we switched to map placemats), and online maps.

Finally, we enjoy the competitive computer game Seterra, easily the best resource for memorizing countries, cities and more, as well as Flags (simply awesome, my girls think), Name that Country, and geography puzzles. When the children were young, we loved Geography Songs; it was almost like a secret code to identify other homeschoolers.

If you are looking for geography ideas, do visit the Curriculum Choice to enjoy the entire article, Teaching Geography in the Homeschool.

If you enjoyed this article, you might want to follow me on Google+ where I often mention helpful or interesting ideas, or connect with me on GoodReads where I share what I read.

This article may be linked to Raising Homemakers.

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