Geography is an important element in our homeschool. We feel having a solid understanding of the world allows for a deeper and more thorough understanding of other subjects like Bible, history, economy, and even literature.
We begin geography lessons from the start, familiarizing the student with maps, globes, and the names of continents, countries, and major mountains, oceans, rivers, and areas. There’s always a map hanging on the wall or a globe, atlas, or geography book around.
If you are looking for ways to incorporate more geography into your homeschool, here are some basic suggestions on how we have included geography in our homeschool.
LEARN THE CONTINENTS – We start of littles with the continents song. Here’s a link to a good one to start with. But, seriously, just pick one, there are so many and work on it. Keep it simple for the kids to remember. We give them a small map or place mat and sing the song and point to the corresponding continent. It’s that simple to start. Here is a fun Learning World Map Placemat that is great to have around. You would not BELIEVE all the conversation we have about geography over a breakfast or lunch with these placemats as conversation starters. If you are studying US Geography this year, consider this Learning Map of USA Placemat.
LEARN THE MAJOR OCEANS – Next we learn the major oceans, while reviewing the continents of course. I’m sure there are songs but we didn’t use one, which, quite frankly, is odd because we typically use a song for memorization. Anyway, we just learned them by drilling and pointing on our maps. Again, this Learning World Map Placemat is a good one that has the oceans clearly marked. You might also enjoy this book on Oceans, which we used to review oceans as well.
DRAWING THE WORLD – Our ultimate goal is for the kids to draw the world by heart. So to begin, we do map tracing. Each year, or semester, we focus on an area of the world. Last year Africa, this year Europe, etc. We trace the area, including major rivers and oceans and identifying countries. For my early learners, we just trace the world, identifying the continents and oceans. Once they have this down, we begin focusing on countries. Once the older kids have traced for 4 to 6 weeks I have them try to free-hand while looking at their map. Be second semester I have them draw what they can from memory then use a map for reference to complete. The year end goal is for that area of focus to be free-handed from memory. If you would like a more pre-planned curriculum for drawing the world, take a look at Drawing Around the World: Europe: Geography for Kids (The Geography Drawing Series). There is also a Drawing Around the World: USA book as well.
PLAY GAMES – We love to play geography games as well. It’s a fun family time and, I will be honest, they are starting to legitimately beat me at some of these games. Playing games that focus on geography will give them a passive interest in geography. They don’t know they are really learning and they are having fun. Here are some of the games we like to play to review and work on our geography – Scrambled States, Talicor Where In The World, Map It World, and Brainbox All Around The World.
My kids actually like map tracing and drawing and seem to like geography overall. I get very little whining ever about geography. Their familiarity with their world is clear and the understanding it brings to other subjects really shines through. Playing games and having fun makes geography less mundane and more like having some fun!
What do you like to do to include geography in your school?
Be sure to read my post Why Studying Geography is Important to learn more hints for integrating geography into your homeschool.
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