Teach Geography the Fun Way
It would be wonderful fun to travel to every nation on earth to meet the people, explore the sights, and taste the delicious food. We could climb mountains, sail lakes, travel across deserts on camels, and wander through the tall prairie grasses of the world.
Rats! There’s not enough money in my bank account! How about yours?
Well, we can still teach our children geography the fun way by exploring the land, meeting the people, seeing the sights, tasting the food, and mapping it. Let’s pretend we are on a trip to another country.
See the Sights
Start your studies with the exciting things tourists visit. If we are studying England, we might see Big Ben and the Parliament Building, the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, and Kew Gardens. We can see everything online on websites, photos posted on Instagram, YouTube, and coffee table books you can check out from the library. We actually have 12 DK Travel Guides on our geography shelf!
Meet the People
Next, we meet the interesting people. We can read about leaders, stars, authors, missionaries, and pastors in biographies, biographical sketches, or interviews on YouTube.
We ask the question, “Who are the people making news today or in the past?”
Explore the Land
Now let’s check out the mountains, lakes, rivers, forests, and meadows. We can look at photos and then read all about the beautiful places we have seen. I would start with the Thames River and Sherwood Forest if we were studying England, because they are well-know to my children.
We love to explore the land through living books, especially literature set in other places. Here are some posts about books we have explored the land with: Review of the Himalayan Rescue, Review of Alaska by the Way, and Review of Around the World in 80 Days.
Taste the Food
This is my family’s favorite part; we try out new recipes or visit a restaurant. If our country is England, we will enjoy food like fish and chips, bangers and mash, shepherd’s pie, toad in the hole, steak and kidney pie, bread pudding, and trifle.
Blank Outline maps are one of my favorite teaching tools. With a real map that is bright, cheery, and easy to read in the center of the table, I pass out blank outline maps and we get to work. I ask my children to create maps that are neat, tidy, easy to read, and something they would like to show their children one day. We have created some beautiful maps at home, and in the process, those countries are forever embedded in their minds. We use blank outline maps for continents and the world, too.
If we are studying a continent, I often give each child their own country to research, and create a project to share. There are so many options for research: books, travel videos, YouTube videos, blogs, friends who travel, and people who live in other nations. Interviews, especially with missionaries on furlough, are a great way to learn about other places.
Books, lovely books, are my favorite way to learn. We dig into old geography books that have been passed down from my grandparents. We also love historical fiction, biographies about missionaries, cookbooks, creative picture books about different countries, and beautifully illustrated atlases. Our bookshelves are bursting with geography books and we love them all!
When it’s time to teach geography, we teach it the fun way!
Until next time, Happy Homeschooling,
Meredith Curtis, homeschooling mom, writer, speaker, and publisher, loves to encourage families in their homeschooling adventures. She is the author of Travel God’s World Geography curriculum, Celebrate Our Christian Heroes, American History Cookbook, Let’s Have Our Own Medieval Banquet, and Travel God’s World Cookbook. You can check out her books, curricula, unit studies, and Bible studies at PowerlineProd.com. Free Reading Lists for all ages are available at JSHomeschooling.com. Read her blogs at MeredithCurtis.com and PowerlineProd.com and listen to her podcast at Finish Well Radio.