We started fairly strong in Geography this year, and then in the final term it kind of became one of those subjects I didn’t have a good game plan for. In addition to using our map to locate places mentioned in the books we were reading, here are some other resources we used specifically for the subject of Geography:
- Paddle to the Sea by Holling C. Holling
- From Abeku to Zapotec by June Hathersmith
- Barefoot Atlas iPad app
- Elementary Geography Lessons Book 1 by Charlotte Mason (lessons 1-11)
- TapQuiz Maps iPad app
- Leap Frog World Floor Map
- Bold Believers – India by Voice of the Martyrs
- Wildest India documentary on Netflix
And here is how we used those resources…
We started the year reading our way through Holling C. Holling’s book Paddle to the Sea (just a chapter a week) and learned lots about the Great Lakes region. Luckily, we were able to keep renewing/borrowing this title from our library for the whole term. We concluded by watching the National Film Board of Canada’s somewhat cheesy film about Paddle. I would say it’s a bit of a disappointment after reading the book, but the kids seemed to enjoy it.
This is a book published by Wycliffe Bible Translators. It goes through the letters of the alphabet, corresponding each one to a people group yet to have the Bible available in their own language. After reading about the people group for that week, we would look up their country on a map and try to find out a bit more about the place. The next resource was fun for this purpose!
Awesome app! The kids could sit for hours with it, learning about all sorts of places. I love how it gives the sense of the globe, not just a flat 2D map. Honestly, if you have an iPad, check it out!!
Elementary Geography Lessons
We worked through the first eleven lessons in Charlotte Mason’s Book 1 of elementary geography. I liked how it included poetry to go along with the topics and did a good job of explaining complicated subjects in a way that a child could visualize and understand. It is available for free here.
This the kids received as a gift last Christmas and played with for awhile, but like so many Christmas gifts, it was soon cast aside. I should dig it out again, although they seem to enjoy the iPad for map work.
Speaking of the iPad, another app (this one free!) that I plan to use a lot more of next year (with my 4th grader for weekly practice) is called TapQuiz. It’s really simple, doesn’t tell you anything about the topography or culture of the countries, but is great for general knowledge of naming and placing countries around the world. You can choose which continent you want to focus on and whether the app should give you hints or not. My daughter loves it, and works to beat her score. I’m planning for her to use it about 10 minutes/week next year.
Another really neat resource I discovered this year is the Voice of the Martyrs downloadable Bold Believers booklets for kids. They have books for many different countries and are available for free when you register at Kids of Courage. We got part way through the one about India near the end of our school year. I love how they weave together interesting facts about the country and its culture, stories of brave christians who live there, and fun activities and puzzles for the kids.
While learning about India, we also enjoyed a few episodes of the documentary Wildest India on Netflix. I’m not sure why we spent so much time on India this spring, but it was a place the kids were interested in, and we just ran with it. Maybe that’s why geography felt a little “willy nilly” near the end of the year to me.
Tell me, what resources do you use for Geography in the early elementary years?