Teaching Geography When You Don't Love Geography -
5 Tips to Jump start Your Own Love of Learning
Are you that mom? The one who doesn't "get" the love of geography? You never understand directions involving North, South, East, West. Give me a landmark, already!
Further, it was enough to wade through history and you're not interested in adding all that geography into the mix.
Makes sense. Especially when you consider that geography and history are often taught in isolation. It's difficult to understand the relatedness of geography to the whole of history if you've resigned yourself (and your children) to memorizing a list of countries, states, and cities.
The good news is it doesn't need to be taught or learned that way. You really can learn to love geography, or at least appreciate it!
Here are 5 things you can do today to jumpstart your own love of geography in your teaching.
Cue the Fun
Search out a family friendly geography curriculum with a variety of activities and games. Why not learn alongside your children. That's one of the perks of homeschooling! Games, puzzles, cooking, and even drill type games involving map labeling can make geography come alive.
Geography is important because of its relationship to history. Seeing the big picture of why a place was important in a history event can solidify the learning and require less work to learn. For example, did you know that without the work of the Romans in developing roads, the Gospel might have taken a different direction (geographically)? How might this have impacted history? As the saying goes, "Location, location, location."
Mix in Some Food
There's truly nothing more fun that eating local food. You likely can't travel the world to taste the variety of cuisine, but you can certainly whip it up in your own kitchen. A geography curriculum that includes recipe suggestions to take you around the world is a great way to learn geography. You're not likely to forget a Kentucky Hot Brown or Hoosier Chili. Become a geography foodie!
All Together Now
Keep your family together when studying geography. Look for a geography curriculum that gives everyone a role in learning and is perfect for multi-level teaching. This keeps things simple for mom and gives plenty of opportunity to use the other tips in this article- cooking, games, and working in history - to foster a love of learning geography in everyone in your family.
Curl Up with a Good Book
A read-aloud or audiobook can bring the entire study together. Places tend to come alive when we can visualize the people who lived there, the type of work they did, and experiences they had. Studying the geography of a literature book is also gives a backdrop to understanding more about the story. Win-win.
Trail Guide to Geography
The Trail Guide to Geography books are family-friendly, multi-level curriculum guides for students in 3rd-12th grades to learn geography. With its trail markers directed at three different grade levels, each book can be used for more than one academic school year and works well with a number of different student abilities learning together.
With the Teacher Guide, required atlas, and printable student notebook sheets, students learn basic geography skills through:
- Daily Practice Using an Atlas
- Weekly Map Labeling Activities
Using additional optional recommended resources students deepen their study. Choose from weekly list of other projects and activities such as:
- Research and Reporting
- Maps and Charts
- Designing a Travel Brochure
- Art and Cooking
- Creating an Illustrated Geo-dictionary
- Games and Puzzles
Assign as many or few each week according to your objectives and how much time you allocate in your schedule for studying geography.
A read-aloud Literature Review Unit wraps up the 36-week lesson plan.
The Trail Guide to Geography curriculum guides use additional resources which make for an interesting year of geography studies. Most can be used again when students have moved up a level.