Friday, March 26, 2010

How Important is Geography

When I was a student in grade school I never recall studying geography. I also don't know anything about geography! I cant tell you what country borders what country. I cant even tell you with any degree of certainty what state borders what state! Oh sure I know the states out here in the west where I live but I get totally confused when I head on into the midwest!

I want to rectify that with my own kids. Peter loves maps! He keeps old outdated ones in his bedroom which goes against everything I am about! I let him, though, all in the name of a good mother! Whenever we go on outings it's Peter who consults the map and lets us all know where we are going!

These last 9 weeks of homeschool I want to put a large emphasis on geography. There are basically three things every young student should know. These are:

1. The Worlds Oceans
2. The Continents
3. The Compass Rose

There are many ways to study geography. It's really easy to go too deep and find yourself in over your head. The information and the things you can study are just endless.

Some people choose to study Geography by going around the world studying the foods that are eaten in all the countries. Others study it by starting with a country and learning all the countries that surround it. Some just study the culture of one country; the dress, the terrain, the climate, etc.

I have wracked my brain this entire week of spring break trying to decide on just how to approach this study for my kids. I do think I have come up with the curriculum I want to use. I have pretty much decided that I'm going to use Trail Guide.  It comes with a Textbook and a CD ROM. The CD ROM has all the activity sheets and maps and things you will need to go with the Textbook.

What I really like is that you can make it span several grades. They have already done the work for you and have included map work and things for all the grade levels. It's pretty much recommended for grades 2-5 and that's exactly what I'm teaching.

For first grade through sixth I I found this wonderful set of books Cantering the Country. It looks like a lot of fun. I am wondering if any of you have used either of these and what you like about them. Is there another Geography that you like. If so do share in the comments below. I haven't ordered anything yet so I'm still open to suggestions!


  1. First of all, I love the new look here- I'm completely jealous! Second, I used the Trail Guide with my two oldest. I loved the map work, but it is the same for every conitinent, so we were only half-way around the world before it became a little tedious. My children did learn geography and I thought it was worth the money, you just might want to take breaks between continents, or spice it up in some other way to prevent boredom. I'm currently using Runkle Geography with my younger daughter because 1) she liked it and 2)it has a physical science emphasis which I needed for her.

  2. I have always loved learning about other countries. An easy way to learn more for us here in Germany besides school were actually board games. We have board games called something like "Travelling around Europe" and "Travelling around the world" - each player has a starting cities and then gets a stack of cards with other city names that he has to visit. Whoever completes first, wins. That was a fun way to learn more about other countries. Maybe there is something similar in the US?

  3. I do have a card game that goes around the world. Everybody has a country on their card and its played sort of like dominoes. The back of the card has the countries on a map that surround the country on the opposite side of the card. If someone lays down a country you can only lay down your card if it is a country that borders that country. I think too that games are a fun way to learn!


Thank you for taking the time to add to the discussion here. Your ideas and thoughts are always welcome!

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