Teaching map skills in your homeschool can be done in a fun and natural way. With a plan and a few good resources, your kids will learn how to read a map and more about the world around them.
Scroll to the bottom to download a free geography map skills practice printable pack.
How to Plan a Map Skills Unit Study
The study we put together below can be completed in a week, two weeks, or even stretched out to last a month. All you need to do to start is set aside a time frame that you’d like to start it. If you’re already doing something similar in your homeschool, this will compliment it perfectly. You can also use this as a stand alone study and build on it.
The map printables mentioned below are all free homeschool resources, which means all you need to do is download and print! But before you do, make sure you take a look at what’s available.
Some map resources can easily accommodate multiple ages and grades, while others may be geared toward a specific grade group. Once you’ve selected a few resources you’d like to use, it’s time to print and plan when to do them.
Some homeschooling families do geography and social studies type classes two to three days a week. Whatever the case may be for your homeschool, plug in the resources on the days you normally do geography.
Be sure to switch it up to give your kids a variety of learning opportunities. For example, consider doing a vocabulary introduction paired with a YouTube video on day one. On another day consider doing a lapbook and an art activity. This will make the concepts fun to learn and easy to remember.
How to Put Together a Free DIY Map Skills Unit Study
Introduce vocabulary words.
When introducing map skills, it’s always a good idea to start with learning vocabulary words. Below are just a few to note:
- Cardinal Directions: The four main directions on a compass: North, South, East, and West.
- Intermediate Directions: The points between the cardinal directions: Northeast, Southeast, Southwest, and Northwest.
- Compass Rose: Shows directions on a map.
- Latitude: An imaginary line called a parallel that circles Earth from west to east and is measured in degrees north or south of the equator.
- Longitude: An imaginary line called a meridian that runs from the North Pole to the South Pole and is measured in degrees east or west of the prime meridian.
- Hemisphere: Half of a sphere.
To help teach vocabulary words, you can create a set of flashcards and use them as copy work. Older kids can take it a step further and illustrate what the word means and describe their illustrations in a few sentences. For younger kids, consider dictation (you write what they tell you).
Look at a variety of maps.
You can start with a map of your town, state, or the world. The idea is to help kids become familiar with the different parts of a map, such as: title, scale, compass rose, key/legend, and inset maps.
Here are some free printable map resources:
Free Resources About Maps – If you are looking for free map printables, map resources, printables for learning how to read maps, and more – you will find it all here!
How to Read Maps Printable Unit – Maps are important, and you can help them learn how to understand them with this FREE How to Read Maps Printable.
Over 1,000 Free Maps of Countries and Continents – Explore resources and tools to use over 1,000 free maps of continents and countries for your homeschooling lessons.
We love using YouTube as an educational source in our homeschool, and there is no shortage of resources about maps. Videos provide a great visual, especially when teaching map skills. There are tons of good videos out there, but here are some favorites:
Recommended: Geography Activity Pack (Full of World Geography Maps)
Students will explore every independent country in the world plus discover the most significant mountains, deserts, rivers, and lakes with this 124-page Geography Activity Pack.
Hands-On Map Skills Activities
For most kids, learning a concept can be fun when it’s brought to life. For teaching map skills, there are some cool activities that kids of all ages can do:
Books that Teach Map Skills
Another added bonus to homeschooling is being able to build an incredible library, or borrow books temporarily from your public library. There are also options for downloading via Kindle or finding some inexpensive options on other platforms.
Regardless of which route you choose, here are some must-have map skills books to consider putting on your bookshelf:
- The Once Upon a Time Map Book
- Map Keys
- Looking at Maps and Globes
- The 50 States Activity Book
- Follow That Map!
- Me on the Map
- Maps, Globes, Graphs
And there you have it! A free map skills unit study!
Use our free geography map skills practice pages alongside your DIY map skills unit study. Click the image below to gain access.
Carrie is the owner & operator of Homeschool Giveaways. She has been homeschooling for over a decade and has successfully graduated her first homeschooler. She has two girls and works side by side at home with her awesome husband. She has been saved by grace, fails daily, but continues to strive toward the prize of the high calling of being a daughter of the Most High God.