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Sunday, January 15, 2012

Learning Geography at Our House

Geography is kind of a hit or miss subject around here. We have tried many different approaches, and they all seem to last for a short while. We have done the scripted daily curriculum where I present a lesson to each child and they complete some sort of activity. We have done the standard workbook approach, and while that seems to work, I have stopped that approach. The main problem with the workbook approach is two-fold. One, workbooks tend to be too easy and the kids are motivated and finish the entire thing in a month. Fine, except the books we were using were $10 to $25 each. That can get pricey when you are spending up to $75 a month for geography. The other issue we have run into is that many times workbooks are designed for classroom use. A whole bunch of kids, roughly at the same level, are needed to complete this or that activity. I can't mimic that at home, therefore sections of the book are useless to us.

Enter Geography Through Art. This is what we are currently using. I can't say it is the best program I have ever used, but it works right now so I am a big supporter.

There are so many things to recommend this book. One, it covers two subjects at the same time: geography and art. Two, it is designed to teach multiple levels at the same time. Perfect for the homeschool classroom. The cost is fairly low, always a bonus. And although I don't think the learning level is anything that will help you get into Harvard, the lessons are engaging and informative enough that the kids are getting excited about geography. They walk by the large wall map and say, "Hey, here's Africa! Remember those masks we made?"

In addition to Geography Through Art, I also purchased an additional text, Eat Your Way Around the World. We haven't used this book yet, but it is intended to compliment lessons in the Geography Through Art Book. A lesson will alert you when there is a recipe that corresponds with that region or country. A great way to extend the learning.

Although I obviously look to books designed to develop geographical awareness, I also use many casual/ non-classroom ways to teach geography. The best way I have found to learn geography around here is through reading. My kids love to read and we always have a large atlas available for them to explore after reading about a foreign place. We are also avid travelers and allow them maps in the car. We encourage their curiosity about faraway places and check out books at the library.

Geography may take a back seat when it comes to our homeschooling goals, but I find at this house exposure and interest are key to success in this area.

Other Moms are also writing about the social sciences this week. Head on over to Homeschooling Hearts and Minds or click one of the links below:

Beth @ Ozark Ramblings

Christine @ Crunchy Country Catholic

Leah Courtney @ The Courtney Six Homeschool Family

Angie @ Petra School

Jen @ Forever, For Always
Cindy Horton @ Fenced in Family

Nicole @ Schooling in the Sun

Melissa @ Grace Christian Homeschool

Pam @ Everyday Snapshots

Lynn @ Ladybug Chronicles
Brenda Emmett @ Garden of Learning

Letha @ justpitchingmytent

Laura O from AK
Joelle @ Homechooling for His Glory
Debbie @ Debbie's Digest

MissMOE @ Homeschooling While Living the Life of Easier

Christa Darr @ Fairfield Corner Academy

Disclaimer: I wrote about these things because I wanted to, and I received nothing but personal satisfaction for my efforts.


Susan said...

Looks like geography is fun in your house. ;0)

Thank you for sharing with the Virtual Curriculum Fair.

Pam Barnhill said...

Do you find the art project good for younger kids? We will be exploring world geography next year and I am trying to decide between that book and two others. My kids will be 7, 5, and 3. Thanks!

Modest Mama said...


Yes, most definitely! I have a 3, 6, 8 & 9 and we do all the art projects together. The 3yo has done every single project except the paper mache globes, and that was because she was at a playdate.

All the best, Jessica

Unknown said...

Right now we are using Teaching Astronomy Through Art. I love it. :)

Unknown said...

Great ideas! Thanks for sharing these resources. I have a homeschool blog roll on my blog and would love it if you have the chance to link yours up.

SurvivorBlessing said...

I own this book but I have not used it yet - thank you for tickling my 'taste butts' - I will pull it out over the weekend and see if I can start using it. We have done workbooks so far and my son thrives through them. But I (!) feel it can be so dry....
Thanks for sharing this.