How to Teach Geography Without Using Curriculum

Published:
September 26, 2019

Contributor:
Jeannette Tuionetoa

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Using a geography curriculum can be a challenge for some kids, especially for those who struggle with paying attention — as my son does. We can learn how to teach geography without using curriculum to make sure our kids grasp concepts more effectively. 

Be sure to scroll all the way down for 15 FREE Geography Resources!

How to Teach Geography Without Curriculum

Raise your hand if you have learned more while homeschooling your kids than you did in your own school-age years. I am typing with one hand right now because the other hand is raised. That is so me. I was amazed by how much I do not remember or how much I just never learned while I was in school. Geography is one of those subjects that I just can’t recall learning at all.

It’s quite embarrassing. How is it that I don’t remember much about geography? It is said that Americans know less about geography than other nationalities do. Although this is statistically correct, I have actually witnessed this first hand.

I do some contractual work for another country’s foreign affairs department. The people I work with there are NOT shy to tell me all the things they do not like about Americans. Of course, we would never know this unless we are able to visit other countries and get their views. As I continue to defend my country and talk about how remarkable Americans are, they do have some valid points.

One thing I found quite accurate is the lack of general knowledge we have about geographical locations around the world. 

The GAO (Government Accountability Office) of the U.S. released a report that explains why I, and many others in the public school system, may not recall much about geography. The GAO reported that over half of all social studies educators spend 10 percent or less of their time teaching on geography.

Can you imagine how much information is missing in the minds of our children when it comes to geographical knowledge? In school, the subject is called social studies, yet there are so many sub-topics that need to be covered under the umbrella of social studies. Kids would study civics, economics, history, government, geography, and other topics.

Geography is a subject that many times gets overshadowed by the others. This is true in BOTH traditional schools and in homeschool. In 2013, only 17 states were mandated to provide a geography course, and only ten states require a geography course be taken as a graduation requirement.

That is concerning to me. The Department of Labor has stated that the employment of geography specialists is projected to grow 29 percent from 2012 to 2022 – this is faster than the average 11 percent growth for all occupations.

Since we are not confined in our teaching approaches, we can learn how to teach geography without using curriculum. Using various resources to teach geography can enrich our kids with this crucial subject in our homeschool setting without limitation. Better yet, we can create learning experiences that help them remember and internalize geographical information for lasting memory and knowledge.

How can we teach geography without using curriculum?

Teaching geography doesn’t have to be complicated at all.

We can teach geography without curriculum by using various resources and pulling them together for a well-rounded approach versus using a text-only or course only options. Using a sole source approach could quite frankly be a little boring to some kiddos. Who are we kidding – too many kiddos it can get dull, quickly.

These are a few resources you can use to teach geography without a curriculum:

Teach geography with globes and maps.

Read about these five ways to use globes in your homeschool. Displaying a globe or map in a living space at home opens up the opportunity to talk about geography all the time.

 

Edu-Toys EDU36899A Desktop Political Globe, 11-InchEdu-Toys EDU36899A Desktop Political Globe, 11-InchAdvantus 12 Inch Desktop World Globe with Blue Oceans (30502)Advantus 12 Inch Desktop World Globe with Blue Oceans (30502)image of a globeUSA Toyz Illuminated Constellation World Globe for Kids – 3 in 1 Interactive Globe with Constellations, Light Up Smart Earth Globes of The World with Standimage of a globeTTKTK Vintage World Globe Antique Decorative Desktop Globe Rotating Earth Geography Globe Wooden Base Educational Globe Wedding Gift with Magnifying Glass

 

Teach geography by incorporating it with other subjects.

Read all about how to incorporate geography to other subjects in your homeschool.

Teach geography by traveling.

No, I don’t mean you need to save money every year and head out to a new country to learn geography. Yes, we can learn geography by traveling at times to somewhere in the United States. If you are on a budget, this may not be possible.

We can, however, hop on YouTube and take our kids on a virtual tour of just about any area, city, country, landmass, and topography in the world.

Captivating Compass has some great resources about worldschooling!

Grab Your Passport! Let\'s Go! text with image of rolled up maps

Teach geography as you pray for nations or studying missionaries.

Missionaries in other countries have always been an intriguing curiosity in me and my kids alike. We are interested in the mission fields and what types of geographical and societal challenges they may encounter. Praying for nations and studying geography can be as simple as pointing to a map and doing some research.

Teach geography by discussing the news.

Watching the world news is easy, peasy for older kids to learn about geography. In one sitting, kids can locate a geographical location in a news source on a globe or map, right summaries, or opinion papers. 

Teach geography with games.

Games like “What is the Capital of?” or board games like Continent Race or What on Earth? will be a hit to get kids motivated about geography.

 

Scholastic Race Across the USA GameScholastic Race Across the USA GameBoard Games for Kids 7 and Up - Educational Games for Families and Kids - Fun, Interactive Geography Games for The Whole Family - Cards IncludedBoard Games for Kids 7 and Up – Educational Games for Families and Kids – Fun, Interactive Geography Games for The Whole Family – Cards IncludedGamewright The Scrambled States of America GameGamewright The Scrambled States of America GameOutset Media - Explore the World - Test Your Knowledge and Learn Interesting Facts from Around the Globe - Ages 7+Outset Media – Explore the World – Test Your Knowledge and Learn Interesting Facts from Around the Globe – Ages 7+Brainbox All Around The WorldBrainbox All Around The Worldimage of a map of the United States of AmericaU.S. State Capitals!!! Learn the Capital of Each of the 50 United States of America! Perfect USA Geography Games Quiz & Mobile Trivia App, Free and Fun Facts for Kids!Winning Moves Games Game of The States, Can You Sell The Most from Coast to Coast? Game Board GameWinning Moves Games Game of The States, Can You Sell The Most from Coast to Coast? Game Board GameWhere on Earth?: The Ultimate Atlas of What's Where in the WorldWhere on Earth?: The Ultimate Atlas of What’s Where in the World

 

Are you ready to get equipped with all you need to teach geography without a curriculum?

Check out these FREE resources to get you started:

FREE Geography Unit Studies

Longitude Latitude Geography Mini-Lessons (FREE Calendar)

Geography Terms for Visual Learners

Cultures and Geography

World Maps Geography Mini-Lesson

World Geography Unit Study – 7 Continents

FREE Geography Terminology Notebook

Geography Research Journal Series

FREE Reading Comprehension Packs Series

FREE Printable Maps – Geography Resources

FREE Global Geography Quiz Game

Geography Resource A-Z

Geography Curriculum options

Geography Books for Your Homeschool

Living Geography Book Series

FREE Geography Copywork – Scotland

Geography is the study of places and the relationship between people and their environment. As you read the definition, think for a moment for how important that is.

 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. This is New York, folks.

Not teaching geography to our kids is a disservice to them in a world that seems to get smaller and smaller with the real opportunity of travel and the access to technology.

Our students may know what New York is, but if you give them the “Where is New York?” test and they fail, you may want to get back to these simple ways to teach geography without a curriculum to get them on track. Let’s do better homeschoolers. We have all the tools we need to do it and do it well.

How to Teach Geography Without Using Curriculum

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