Do you skimp on geography in your homeschooling? Kids get some geography in their history studies and it’s easy to put it on the back burner when you’ve got math, language arts and science to teach. I happen to love geography and have discovered some excellent programs this year that not only teach world geography, but encompass and reinforce history, art, math and science.
Mapping the World With Art is a fantastic geography curriculum for grades 5 and up. The program comes with 30 history lessons, 30 corresponding map drawing lessons (video and hard copy), and more than 100 pages of supplemental activities like games, crafts, recipes, internet resources, review sheets and more. You can view one of the map drawing videos here.
I’ve been using this program since September with my son and a group of kids in our homeschool co-op and it’s been a huge success. The history lessons focus on the history of geography and map-making but include lots of general history, math and science. The map drawing lessons include all kinds of great tips and tricks to help kids remember the shape of a country, and they are wonderful art lessons, too!
For my younger child, I’ve been using the Trail Guide to World Geography by Geography Matters (recommended for 2nd grade and up). This program includes daily drills at three different levels so you can use it for children of different ages for many years to come. Children learn the basics of reading and creating maps, along with details of every continent. The program ends with a unit study using “Around the World in 80 Days” and includes mapping, arts/crafts, spelling, vocabulary, research and writing activities for each chapter of the book. It’s really an “out of the box” program that takes very little prep for you to use.
Those are my favorite geography curricula right now, but here are several more resources you can check out if you’re a geography buff like me!
- Expedition Earth: A Journey Through God’s World is a geography unit study that covers 31 countries across the world. It is designed primarily for K-3 students. (Tons more geography activities at Erica’s site, too!)
- I’ve heard a lot of good things about Galloping the Globe, although I haven’t tried it.
- Little Passports sends your child a special package every month with an adventure letter, souvenirs, activities and access to their online Boarding Zone full of games and activities. I just signed up and can’t wait to see this program!
- National Geographic Beginners World Atlas is a must-have for any homeschool library.
- GeoPuzzles are fun, as is Prof. Noggin’s Countries of the World card game.
- LizardPoint has a slew of online geography quizzes.
- LearningGamesForKids has some simple online geography games.
Please add your favorite geography teaching tools in the comments! Happy Travels!
Shannon Entin has homeschooled her 12 year old son and 6 year old daughter since birth. She’s an unschooler at heart who has recently discovered a love of planning classes and teaching for the fun of it. She also enjoys personal development, scrapbooking and skiing. Shannon blogs at The Discipline Project and Mom Improvement.