Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Teaching Geography

Our family loves to travel which is a good thing because we do quite a bit of traveling or maybe because we love to travel we travel. Oh well, it doesn't really matter the fact is we love to travel and we travel. We have driven across the USA a few times and we have flown around the world. That is part of the education and learning through living, but we else do I want to teach and make sure the children know about the world around them.

I want to make sure they know geographic terms.
Do they know cove, bay, peninsula, mountain? To help in learning these terms, we have done some hands-on projects. Here are some of the hands-on projects that we did. Here is a link to some land form cards and another link (personally I like the 2nd link best).  I also found some Montessori cards that have the terms and photos and I laminated those. Using both sets of cards, we would quiz to see if they could tell me what the land form is.

I want them to have a big picture of the world. I want them to know the continents. I want them to have an idea of where various countries are located and historical significance or other facts. If someone is talk about Jordan, I want them to know where it is located and a bit of information about Jordan.

I want them to know more details for specific parts and peoples of the world. Mainly the places where they live, the people we minister to, and their passport country as well as a bit about the country of their birth. (Totally random fact is both of my children were born outside of the US.) They should know the US states and capitals, major cities, major land forms, rivers, etc. They should know some of China's geography which they have learned some during our trips. We will add UK geography to the list of things they need to know in detail. This also happens as we meet people from various places. Miss K knows that Dom lives in Switzerland and that cheese and chocolate are from there. She also knows that her friends Grace and Faith live in Japan as well as the capital is Tokyo.

Traveling down the Li River in China.

I want them to be able to pray for people around the world. It might be missionaries around the world and the people living there. Having an understanding of geography helps us to pray with knowledge.

What do we use to teach geography?

Traveling is a big part of that. Layovers have taken us through Malaysia, Iceland and Japan. A missed flight resulted in being rerouted through Honolulu. Our time in England as well as our drives across the USA taught us geography.

Landing in Iceland

Books and resources help as well. I need to say that I have had some different curriculum on my shelves, you know the curriculum that I am talking about, yes, I had the big ones and got rid of them, sold them. They just were not what I was looking for. We are using Memoria Press' Geography I this year. Maybe it is because I decided that I didn't have time to write my own, but really I think it gives us what I am looking for. This gives us the overview of countries and regions. I add a bit more to the country if I want. We are studying the Middle East right now and learning quite a bit about that part of the world.

We have a big huge atlas as well as a pocket atlas and a few paperback ones as well.  Geography from A to Z: A Picture Glossary by Jack Knowlton is a great resource especially when learning the geography terms. I will add more of the resource books when I unpack our boxes.

This article gave some thoughts about developing geographic awareness. I like the list of books that can be used to teach geographic awareness. We have read a number of these books and I do agree that books can help to teach geographic awareness.

Puzzles, maps, and games are great for learning and reviewing geography. I have found some puzzles at thrift stores. My kids have gotten puzzles for Christmas. We have a flags of the world puzzle that we bought at the thrift store. Some of the games that we have that teach geography include Where in the World is Carmen San Diego and Touring England are just a few.

Stamps, coins, and geography boxes are hands-on items. Bob has a stamp collection and he will spend time with that looking on the map. We have a can of coins and we will look on the map to see where the countries are located. We have a few things in our geography boxes and I am excited about the things that we got this summer to add to the boxes. These are fun things to look for when I am in a thrift store.

Here are a few things that we will add to our geography boxes from this summer -- the fun thing is how we acquired each of these -- the fan was a gift from a Chinese girl, her father made it, the Singapore flags were something that we were given as we went through the Botanical Gardens as it was just before National day. The koala bear was a gift from an Australian child care worker, and the cowbell from Switzerland was a birthday gift to Miss K from a child care worker from there.

I enjoy geography and enjoy exploring our world literally with our passports in hand or figuratively through books and other methods.

What are your favorite geography teaching aids?

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  1. Thank you-this is useful. I've just pinned this post.
    We did a box exchange which was a helpful way of exploring different cultures, of course, rather skewed to more developed places. Learning about the missionaries that our church supports has also been helpful.
    We like to cook food from different countries-this has been particularly popular!

    1. You are right, finding things from undeveloped places is hard. I wonder what we have in our boxes that would be the most unusual country. Thank you for reminding me about food from other countries. I think in our house that is just our way of cooking -- Monday was Chinese, Tuesday was Indian and Thursday is Mexican.

  2. I've found a few geography games at thrift stores that my children really love. We have several maps up, including in their bedrooms over their beds, which help a lot. The World Book DVD ROM helps too, but we don't buy specific geography curriculum. My ten year old son loves maps and geopraphy and wants to be a cartographer.

    Love this post...lots of good ideas.

  3. That's awesome how you are so hands-on about geography! I personally don't love to travel, but maybe I will discover that my kids do! I agree that knowing general info about all parts of the world is a great thing! Thanks for sharing!

  4. How wonderful to be able to learn geography the best way possible... through traveling! We've used books, atlases, large maps, and lots of labeling.

    Thanks for sharing with the Geography Blog Hop!

  5. What a blessing to be able to teach geography through traveling! It's been a dream of my husband's and mine to be able to take the children around the world someday and see the sites we've only seen in books! Otherwise we use a lot of books, atlases, maps, and documentaries to teach geography in our homeschool.

    Thanks for linking up at the Geography Blog Hop!



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