You know Americans have a bad rap for being terrible in geography, right? I really don’t want to perpetuate that idea, but wow, we have made some pretty big mistakes. If you’re a regular reader of Middle Way Mom, you must be thinking we fail all the time. We’ll talk about successes again in a bit, but it’s time to get a little real.
Here are some surefire ways to get your kids to have geography:
Buy your core book without looking on the inside
Sure, the Amazon reviews are great. Other people said it’s a fantastic book that gives the child a nice baseline in geography, and it has really cool projects! Well, isn’t that a homeschoolers dream! Cool projects they can tell their friends and family about, and they’ll all say, “I wish I was homeschooled, too!” Sure, the book had great content, and the projects looked cool, but did anyone look at the supply list? Cinder blocks?! A 50 gallon aquarium?! Who is going to buy these things for one school project? I’m sure as heck not going to. Goodbye, cool projects. Hello boring, rote reading assignments.
Jump in mid-curriculum
In my defense, Kira went from public school to virtual school, so the curriculum was not my choice. She had absolutely no geography in public school, and then started geography in virtual school with a curriculum that started years earlier. It assumed map reading skills she did not have, and tears were shed. Oh, the puberty tears over geography were hard to watch.
Don’t own a big map
Make sure that countries like Lichtenstein are absolutely impossible to find in your placemat-size map. Oh, tiny text on everything makes it better. Breaking routine to go from your books to your computer desk to figure out where in the heck something is for your assignment is great fun, and a fantastic way to make sure it takes twice as long to finish the assignment. For my younger kids, we may invest in a mural-size world map… kinda kidding.
Stop, start, stop
Geography one year, she didn’t really get it, so we took a break. Then, start again the following year, hoping all the info she didn’t really get two years ago is still magically in her head. Sad truth? We’re taking a break from geography again this year, and hoping for it to pop back up next year. *blush* When will I learn?
I swear, I will not allow Kira to get through life without having some sort of baseline of geography. It can not happen!
So, this reminds me to be on the search for a really great geography curriculum this summer! Any suggestions?
This post is part of iHomeschool Network’s blog hop. Click on the link below to check out the other great bloggers in this fun blog hop!
Jenny Bergren says
I don’t have a really great curriculum suggestion, but I have been collecting geography links. I just learned about livebinders (love, love, love it!) and am putting what I find there. Here’s my link http://www.livebinders.com/play/play?id=1332601 .
I think that one way to make geography applicable is to link it with the culture and people of the region. There are two great books that I plan to use: Material World and What the World Eats. And, of course, biographies are great, too.
I’m leaning towards North Star Geogrpahy from Bright Ideas Press. It’s new (due to be released in July) but I like what I’ve read and seen. We have their Ultimate Geogrpahy and Timeline Guide which is great but this looks more structured which might suit you – and might be what my Miss 13 is looking for if she decides to formally pursue geogrpahy at highschool level. Up until now we’ve done lots of informal stuff – postcard exchanges, reading, putting places of interest on a map, some workbook pages for fun, apss and online games etc.
Shannen Espelien says
I’ve heard about that program as well. We definitely need structured around here because unstructured gets forgotten about and left behind. I like the informal list you gave. That sounds like a lot of fun!