Geography can be a fun subject to teach when done in the right way. Yes, you could have them memorize maps all the live long day, but what's the complete fun in that.? Memorization with geography has it place, but you can make the world come alive and enjoy doing it at the same time. And, as always, I love incorporating good literature into our studies. Last week, I mentioned a core for my curriculum. The same goes for geography. My favorite core geography curriculum books for this are......
Cantering the Country (U.S. geography) and Galloping the Globe (world geography, though, note not every single country of the world is in it) are just plain fun for the elementary to middle grade school child. Inside are maps, activities, literature lists, fun information, recipes and more. We have really enjoyed working through them. I found a little stick horse in Google images that I printed and laminated, and we use him to mark where we are studying in conjunction with whatever country or state we are learning about. You will not be at a loss to find things to do, but if you would like even more hands on geography, I like to reference these books......
Beginning Geography is a great little book to get kids learning how a map works, different geographical terms, where the continents and oceans are, etc. It is what the title says, the start to geography. Hands on Geography is just plain full of hands on projects.
National Geographic maps are the best!!!!
Another wonderful thing to have to study is a good collection of atlases. My kids have poured over ours. Again, a couple of ours are from National Geographic, but DK makes a great collection of atlases that we own a couple of the unique ones.
Map tracing its a fun thing to do as well. Having a great set of outline maps is a must if you are going to map trace. We own a lifetime membership to Notebooking Pages which also contains a great collection of maps to print, color, trace or whatever you would like. But, also, Homeschool in the Woods which I mentioned with our history post last week has a set of maps as well. There is also the free route, which is also nice, Google. :) (Actually as a plug for Google, Google Earth is really a fun addition to your computer. Being able to zoom in and see parts of the world where we will never go is an amazing experience. My kids love Google Earth!!!) If you want to see how another homeschooler map traces, here is a post on how she does it. Its a fun and simple way to incorporate geography, too.
If your child is a bit more computer drawn, Seterra has a free program you can download to your computer. It is a great way to review or even learn the countries, capitals, and even flags around the world.
Lastly, Lego (surprised?) is great way to incorporate geography. Show them a basic outline of a continent or even country and have them make it out of lego blocks. They can even add the desert areas and major bodies of water. This idea is not original to me. But, I love it!
Now for literature!!! As mentioned previously, Galloping the Globe and Cantering the Country both are full of literature lists, but I want to mention a couple of other books that I love as well.
Holling's books are wonderful living literatures which goes lovely with any U.S. geography study (we will be reading these next year). Each one talks about a different part of our country geographically but with such vivid language and description. These are a real feast for any child to hear or read.
These are bright and colorful little books that are great for any child to look at. Maps and Globes give a great overview on how to read a map, what longitude and latitude are, etc. Geography from A-Z is a great reference tool (the older ones still reference it from time time to time) with its many geographical terms - what is an island, a continent, a bluff, a river, and many many many more.
Another great DK book is Children Just Like Me. Kids are seen from around the world doing every day things that any kid does. It also talks about their food, their homes, their schools, their way of dress. As with all DK books, they are chocked full of pictures which helps a child really grasp what life is like for that child. I love using this in conjunction with Galloping the Globe and whatever country we are learning about. Google Earth is also wonderful to use in conjunction with this.
Give Your Child the World is a very recently published anthology of children's literature talking about the different cultures around the world. The author is very culture conscious since all of her children are from different countries of the world. She also enjoys globe trotting. She has brought her love and research into this book and it is a gem to own. Full of books divided by continent and covers all grade levels, it is worth owning in your library. You won't lack in literature here.
Last but not least, here is fun YouTube channel which is full of fun songs and other things to help a child learn different geographical regions. I was introduced to it by a friend. You will also see it has way more than just geography. Its a great little channel to subscribe to for learning period. I will be doing a post on using YouTube for school. What a blessing YouTube can be, but we will save that for another time.
What do you do for Geography? Please feel free to comment. Happy Trails!!!