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One of the things my guys and I like to do is go camping. We tend to like camping in places where there are new things to discover like lakes, rocks and paths we haven’t previously taken. We have some favourite places to go like Half-Way Lake, Cypress Lake and Grundy Lake. Ways to explore geography, nature, swim, kayak and just have fun. Going up to the north gives us a chance to explore a very rocky terrain, so different from where we live, and there are small lakes everywhere it seems. It is so much fun.
Other than getting out there and seeing things, because honestly I can’t afford to fly around the world and see all the different things I want to see and to show my lad, how do I help him have a well-rounded sense of the world we live in? To delight with him over the wonders of creation and all the different ways the world has been shaped? To that end, let us learn all the ways you can study geography.
Country studies as a whole unit or by provinces or cities
Studying geography can take in you in many different directions.
You can do unit studies like these: Or focus on the food, the dolls, the bread, dances, music, or any aspect of their culture. You can even do a study focusing on the animals of different counties (like snakes, dogs or cattle from around the world).
One of the things we did was study countries for a week and then follow it up with a meal. So much fun to pull it all together that way. Here’s one we did on Azerbaijan and Finland. I did others, I just can’t find them all right now. 🙂
You might want to check out these Island studies and all that was incorporated. Looks like they had so much fun!
Geography often happens as by-product of history. It helps to see where history happens, and you can often understand why battles happen if you understand the lay of the land and the importance of it. For instance, if you don’t understand the inundation of the Nile you would never understand why the bulk of Egyptian life happened around the Nile River.
Next year my lad wants to study Canada and the wars, I am imaging that we will be making salt dough maps of countries, or making puzzles showing the lay of the land so we can understand why some battles were so fierce in the battles due to the advantageous positions they gave.
I’ve heard of several families that put a map on their kitchen table or some place where family regularly sits to social or do school work. “Pass the salt.. It’s sitting near Uraguay” type of things can be said. Another put a world map on the wall in front of the toilet, in a nice frame, but it’s another way to learn while otherwise occupied.
One homeschool mom even made a map of her town. Isn’t that a great way to learn some mapping skills?
Youtube has often come to my rescue when I’ve wanted something about a place or country. What you learn in one video can send you on a rabbit trail after idea and before you know it, you’ve filled up your day with learning.
Involving others as you learn geography can be a fun way to engage multiple skills. You could get penpals, invite international students into your home, arrange a postcard swap, send Christmas cards and more. You can visit people from other countries and learn about where they are from. We live in such a multi-cultural society, isn’t it a good thing to learn from them? When my sister moved out west she mentioned how much she missed having thunderstorms. Apparently in British Columbia you don’t get a good thunderstorm. I would never have known that if I had asked her one day what was bugging her. Connections eh?
We went caving two years ago in Pennsylvania (just a couple of guided tours). It sparked an interest in my lad and we’ve watched a few videos since then.
Oh, the geography you can learn from books! From learning about cities around the world like Rome or Tokyo, learning different ways you can travel (terrain matters), natural places, and so much more. You can also use a book like Penny’s World to teach map making skills. The geography book might be a useful additon. If you need some help choosing good books, some good advice. Visiting Europe might be just what you are looking for, I know it intrigues me for my lad’s studies next year.
Lizard Point Quizzes are fun, free, interactive map quizzes to help you learn about the world around you. Hundreds of map-based quizzes to help you learn countries, states, cities, physical features and more. It’s rather fun and certainly taught me how much I don’t know about where countries are! WOW I was surprised. Three chances you get followed by an opportunity to see the correct answer.
Some geography-based board games (just click on image to learn more)
You can use art as you learn. Making salt dough countries, volcanic eruptions, as well as flags. You could simply for a term, focus on doing an art project from around the world. Adding art just makes for a fun, hands-on way to learn about geography.
You could study how erosion changes the path of rivers (a science experiment that could also be an art project). Or using pastels as you learn about Nova Scotia. You never know what you might find that inspires you to dig deeper into the world we live on.
You could use a number of different subscription boxes to easily introduce food, art and culture from different countries around the world. There is little Passports (see a review), or (see a review). Other boxes that you might not know of: National Geographic, The Atlas Crate from KiwiCo., Mysteries in Time, and Junior Explorers.
Other Geography learning ideas.
Somtimes you just need something quick, here are 35 Hands-on Geography Activities to do in 15 Minutes or Less.
5 Ways to Raise a Natural Geography-Lover. Isn’t this what we want to do?
Geoscavenge – A Rock and Mineral Hunt. I thought this was an interesting way to make hunters think!
Geography Curriculum Ideas.
Want some worksheets to go along with all the learning you are doing?
Education.com, TLSBooks, 3D Geography, Student Handouts, and Help Teaching. There are oodles of places on-line to look, so suss out what you need and go looking for it. Chances are high you will find it. If you want to use NotebookingPages they have a large number of pages that will be useful for any geography project you have. This is a paid site though, just so you know. 🙂 Though as you can see, some of it is free. 🙂
And of course Schoolhouseteachers.com has an amazing geography section you might want to check out. Geography of the bible, living geography, everyday explorers (I’ve used this and found it thorough) and more.
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What geography resources have I missed? What are your favourites?