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One of the awesome things about homeschooling is that we can add in subjects that tend to be neglected in other educational environments. A quality homeschool geography curriculum is one of those subjects that I include all year, every year. It is pretty easy to even create a homeschool geography curriculum.
When people hear ‘geography curriculum’ they tend to think about geographical or political features such as mountains, oceans, borders, or memorizing capitals. They expect it to be boring.
It can be so much more!
A good homeschool geography curriculum exposes students to other cultures. It prompts children to try to understand people that might be different from themselves. It encourages a global mindset – realizing that we are all in this together.
Pretty powerful stuff for a subject that is so often neglected.
You can easily add these ideas to a purchased curriculum. Or do what I do and combine all of these ideas to create a homeschool geography curriculum. In my experience a homemade curriculum can just as effective as purchasing a geography curriculum.
6 Things to Include in Your Homeschool Geography Curriculum
At first glance, taking field trips around the world feels out of reach. Who has the budget or time for that? Instead we need to think outside of the box.
There are two ways we can add field trips to our homeschool geography curriculum without hopping on a plane:
- Virtual field trips – Find virtual field trips through a simple online search. Look for webcams pointed at interesting things such as zoo animals native to the geographical region. Google Maps Street view is a great way to visit a faraway place. Enter the place you want to see into the Google Maps search bar. Then just zoom in until you can select street view. Take a virtual walk around the area. We ‘visited’ the great pyramids and sphynx in Egypt without leaving our house!
- Cultural Festivals – Find cultural festivals in your area by checking with your local arts council, visitors bureau, or the calendar of events section of your favorite local mommy blogger. They know about all of the fun things to do around town
Need field trip inspiration? Check out this list of homeschool field trip ideas!
Books can provide facts, but also expose students to another human experience. When possible, include a mix of non-fiction and fiction. Biographies can also be great.
I like to reserve a bunch of library books that are either about the region or are set in the place we are studying in our homeschool geography curriculum.
Try ‘New’ Foods From the Region
My children seem to learn through their stomachs, so I include food whenever possible. Eating regional food teaches children about the agricultural products of an area in a natural authentic way. Cooking and eating foods from another area is a great combination of studying the people and studying the landscape of a region.
Ask your children:
- Why do you think they eat this sort of food?
- What must they grow or raise?
- What can you deduce about the lifestyle based on the food choices?
Food can even be a great way to begin a homechool geography curriculum unit. It creates interest and invites children to learn more. We are studying Asia this year because of my children’s new found love of Thai food.
Board games and card games are a fun addition to any homeschool geography curriculum. Kids are learning about the physical geographical feature of a country while having fun. After a few rounds they will be amazed at what they learned without even trying.
The games we use in my home are:
- Professor Noggin’s Geography of the United States
- Ticket to Ride
- Ticket to Ride Asia
- Scrambled States of America
Puzzles are also a good low-key way to learn geography.
Learn a Few Words
Learning a few words of a foreign language can be a wonderful way to connect with the people of another region. Unless your child has a long term interest in studying this particular foreign language, stick with key phrases. I wouldn’t expect anyone to become fluent in 5 languages, but learning a few phrases is much more reasonable.
Helpful foreign language phrase include:
- Thank You
- Good morning
- Good night
Practice Map Skills
While my focus in creating a homeschool geography curriculum is learning about the people, it is also helpful to learn about the geographical features that make up a country. There are many ways to do this, but one my favorite ways to learn about geography is to create a Rice Krispies map. This can also be done with cookies, but Rice Krispies treat hold their shape a little better. Use frosting and candy to mark the mountains, oceans, rivers, lakes, large cities, and other landmarks.
What do you include in your homeschool geography curriculum?
Share this post with your friends! Every parent can incorporate these ideas – even if they don’t homeschool!