Most of what I learned about geography was as an adult when forced to look up locations on my own. I think as a child I remember learning about plateaus and — that is about it. I could be exaggerating a bit, but you get what I am saying.
I encourage you to teach geography in your homeschool; I will explain why in a moment. It really isn’t difficult to do at all. You can easily simplify geography by incorporating it with other subjects to form connections that stick.
I am sad to say that Americans are among the most geographically-illiterate people on the planet! I really hate the thought of that. America has one of the largest influences on countries around the world, so why is it that we don’t know much about them?
In a National Geographic Survey, it was found that 49% of Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 couldn’t locate the state of New York on a map of the United States. New York! It sounds unbelievable but it’s true. I can go into more stats about this survey, but I rather not. It’s quite embarrassing. Even in a homeschool setting, the most neglected subjects are writing and geography.
Now that I am older I see the significance of geography in respect to history and how events relate to each other depending on location. More importantly, now that I am a Christ follower, it is essential to know the geography of where biblical events occurred and what that means to us today.
Technology has made it instantaneous to know what happened across the globe, making geography relevant and an important subject to explore.
There is an easy way to teach geography that doesn’t include carving out another few hours during the week to teach it on its own.
Incorporate geography into other subjects in your homeschool. It will make a world of difference.
Mathematics and geography – Yes, math. Math can come together for kids when they use what they have learned with geography to describe scale, distance between two points, area, bearing, finding coordinates, and more. It is proven beneficial to use real-world applications with math to make associations that kids can remember and relate to.
Science and geography – This combination is a little more common than the others. Subjects like geology study rocks, minerals, and physical components of matter. Geology is dependent upon a substance’s geographical location. Likewise, ecosystems and climate observations cannot be described without exploring their location.
Character training and geography – It is important for our children to know that all wars that have been fought in history have been in some way or the other over geography. What other reason would this be, aside from greed? Think for a moment about how geography has caused people and whole nations to act upon who has enough power to control another. Psalm 34:14 tells us to turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.
Geography can be a great teaching moment when teaching our kids about the ramifications of greed and the benefits of pursuing peace.
Political Science and geography – According to the National Geographic in a survey conducted in 2002, only 17% of American young adults displayed the ability to locate Afghanistan on a map. The United States has earned its label as a geographically illiterate nation (National Geographic).
As much as Afghanistan has been in the news in our recent history, it is astonishing that our kids don’t even know where it is. We can select news articles, help our kids learn about what’s in the news, where and why the event is occurring, along with how it relates to America.
Sports and geography – Some of you may have read the How Unit Studies Can Break up the Monotony in Your Homeschool article a few days ago. I speak about how my kids love Muay Thai so much that I developed a unit study around the martial art where they learn about Thailand, missionaries there and more.
You honestly can do this with any sport that is huge and associated with a certain geographical location. Argentina and Soccer, New Zealand and rugby, Canada and ice hockey, Japan and judo; the list goes on and on.
Fine Arts and geography – Does your child love photography or visual arts? There is no doubt you can take advantage of the imagery and visuals readily available to us through technology in relation to where the images are located. There is a great influence of geographical factors on the fine arts. For instance, The Nile River influenced the content of Egyptian art as boats with many oars were common in Predynastic art.
You can weave in geography through multiple subjects to make real-life connections that your kids can appreciate.
You may even realize that you are doing it already; the key is to be more intentional about maximizing your child’s learning experiences. Although it goes hand and hand, history isn’t the only subject that can lend itself to teaching some aspect to our world’s geography. Whether it is cultural, political and cartography, geography has a place in your homeschool and can be included in various subjects to expand learning.
Even just keeping a globe handy, can bring learning experiences almost daily. Places across the country have never been so close and attainable than now in this technological age.
Teaching geography opens up a world of possibilities for kids in learning. If you love to find ways to use maps in your homeschool, you will probably really enjoy this post: All About Maps FREE Printables and Resources
Explore some new geography terms for your lessons this year with the Geography Terms Notebook – A Visual Notebooking Adventure.
Grab some geography tools for your home here:
BEST LEARNING i-Poster My USA Interactive Map – Educational Talking Toy for Boys and Girls Ages 5 to 12 Years Old – Ideal Gift for KidsOregon Scientific Smart Globe Discovery Educational World Geography Kids – Learning Toy10x Inflatable World Earth Globe Atlas Map Beach Ball Geography Education ToyIlluminated World Globe lamp- Larger Size 12
Jeannette is a wife, mother and homeschooling mom. She has been mightily, saved by grace and is grateful for God’s sovereignty throughout her life’s journey. She has a Bachelor in English Education and her MBA. Jeannette is bi-lingual and currently lives in the Tongan Islands of the South Pacific. She posts daily freebies for homeschoolers!
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