My experience of geography at school seemed to have very little to do with what I understand the term ‘geography’ to mean.
My knowledge even of the features of my own country (rivers, lakes, mountains as well as regional boundaries such as country borders, counties, cities towns and villages) is so poor that I feel it is something we should concentrate on, if possible by witnessing them first-hand.
Method of Study
A literature approach (reading biographies and fiction from or depicting different parts of the country and the world) is a good starting point, but we also back this up with some textbook work, and occassional projects.
We have done several ‘country’ projects (including Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan, South America and more), a project on Rivers and one on Volcanoes. We also incorporate arts & crafts into our geography projects.
We also try to incorporate the study of ‘culture’ into country projects, so for example we’ll listen to music, look at national dress, food and more.
We generally study geography alongside history, using Sonlight Curriculum titles, keeping maps, globes & atlases to hand throughout.
I am so impressed that this hands-on, fun approach to geography has already given our children a greater knowledge than I had at their age, and also – even more important – a love for the subject!
Some Project Themes for Geography
* Continents * Countries * States * Provinces * Regions * Counties * Cities * Towns * Villages * Suburbs * Natural/ Political boundaries * Capitals * Landmarks: towers, walls, forts, castles, etc. * Oceans * Lakes * Rivers * Streams * Resevoirs * Canals * Waterfalls * Glaciers * Geysers * Mountains * Hills * Valleys * Volcanoes * Craters * Caves * Coasts * Cliffs * Geology * Mines * Land-use: Farmland, Marshland, Forests, Jungles/ rainforests, woods, plains, deserts, etc. * Natural/ Man-made features * Mapping your house & environs * Weather & Climate * The Earth in the Solar System * The Moon * The Sun in our Galaxy * etc.
Recommendations for Literature, Textbooks and Resources
Look around in charity shops as well as bookshops, toyshops and of course Amazon.co.uk. If you have supportive grandparents, you can always drop hints with specific isbn numbers 😀
Atlases, including the Rand McNally & Anchor ones, as well as other resources are available from Greenleaf Press, who advocate a “literature approach” to geography and history.