Sharing ideas, teaching tips and resources for the homeschool journey.
“Geography rightly understood is the study of the world, its history and its geology: in a word, all there is of interest upon the globe- the work of nature and the work of man." Parents Review 1897
Teaching geography involves two main aspects; the physical geography of the earth, its make-up and position and human geography which studies lifestyles, beliefs, governance and cultural aspects of societies etc.
The Australian National Curriculum (ANC) for Geography is still in its draft stage but it teaches the traditional geography subjects. It has replaced the subjects formally known as ‘Human Society and its Environment’(HISE) or ‘Studies of Society and Environment’(SOSE). The geography content of this subject is filled with political ideas and, in the environment of home education, parents can navigate these topics as desired.
To simplify this topic I have broken the teaching of geography into four main ideas. These ideas cannot truly be divided, and they cannot always be taught sequentially but having a framework will help you with your lesson planning and curriculum choices. They can be molded to fit the Australian Geography Nation Curriculum if desired.
Begin by teaching the lesson of “Place”. What neighbourhood are you in, what are your family’s beliefs, what are the physical features of your local area? You then need to help them identify where their place is in Australia, if that is where you live.
To broaden and stretch your children in their geographic knowledge you can then begin to teach them about the geography of Australia.
Australian Traveller’s Map Journal and Downunder Geography Discovery Pages combine to introduce your primary aged kids to Australia’s geography and famous landmarks through simple observation and discovery.
Open their minds to other cultures and places that they have not experienced within Australia.
Australian Book Traveller is good for studying the human geography of Australia.
This is the study of the physical geography of the world. It can also be described as earth science.
In the Australian National Curriculum this world geography isn't really covered until Year Six. Of course as homeschoolers we don't need to wait till then.
Charlotte Mason wrote a reader for physical geography that I think is quite good, especially considering they didn’t have space travel or satellites. Suitable for primary aged children.
Here is a free download for Elementary Geography by Charlotte Mason.
John Tiner Hudson, a Christian author, also has good book called Exploring Planet Earth. It has 20 chapters and a quiz (with answers) at the end of each chapter.
Our geography booklists will also help you find many fiction and non-fiction books from different countires.
1. Travel and Travel Guide Shows
First hand learning is obviously one of the most desirable and enjoyable ways to learn about the world. Make the most of your trips.
The Lonely Planet and Pilot Guide also have some excellent travel dvds. Check out your library for these types of shows. They can be very entertaining.
2. Globes, Maps and an Atlas
Looking at the position of continents and their relationships to other countries will help them grasp the big picture.
The Australian Traveller’s map is an excellent map for young students studying Australia..
World maps are pretty easy to find. I bought mine at Australia Post.
3. Puzzles and Quizzes
A good puzzle is an invaluable tool. I have three world map puzzles at various levels and they have served me very well. I picked them all up cheaply second hand.
Online quizzes can also be fun for drilling facts. Try these;
4. Living Books and Unit Studies
“What then, we may ask, should be the aim and end of a geography book? It should be to give children living ideas connected with the world around them, enabling them to understand by the aid of books, the scenery, climate industries, and manners and customs of lands other than their own.” Charlotte Mason's Parents Review 1897
Plan a geography unit studies. Many people find combining history and geography to be the perfect unit study as you study the geography and history in context.
Australian Book Traveller is a literature based unit study that uses living books to teach Australian geography, history, art and science.
For world studies we have The World Geography Picture Book List that will take you around the world. As we read through these books we would make a little map marker with the book’s and stick it on our world map.
5. Geography Text
I prefer to use a geography text book as a resource for finding out facts rather than using it as a main text. Giving them a feel for the countries is the best input I hope for--learning facts and capital cities is incidental.
When you're a tourist it's always much better to get information from locals. They live there and they can tell you more than just the facts. If your interested in studying Africa this is the place to go. South African Homeschool Curriculum. They have lapbooks and literature based studies.