Homeschool Geography – What To Teach In Primary School
In the primary years Geography a sub-strand of the Australian Curriculum’s Humanities and Social Science subject which also includes history and civics and citizenship. In high school it becomes a subject on its own.
Approximately 6 -10% of school hours are allocated to Humanities and Social Science which works out to be around 1.5 hours per week. During the year this subject is often rotated between the sub strands of history and geography or taught in blocks – a year of history or a year of geography. Civics is included from Year Three when symbols and emblems are discussed.
If you are interested in finding out how the Australian Curriculum and Charlotte Mason compare for geography – look here…
What Should Homeschool Geography Lessons Comprise
Geography is more than knowing where to find a country on a map and learning a bit about the culture. It is also learning about the physical attributes of the land.
Geography lessons are often boring for children if they are not taught with the pleasant padding that makes this subject interesting.
Pleasant talk about places is how Charlotte Mason described her geography lessons. I love this idea.
She doesn’t want children to be bogged down with geography facts. She wants children’s geography lessons to be something that will capture their interest. She thinks that there should be lots of pictures to look at and a story that will give them a sense of adventure.
Charlotte Mason’s ideas on teaching homeschool geography can be broken down into what she called the Panoramic Method of Teaching Geography.
- Nature Study – Charlotte Mason placed a great deal of emphasis on getting out in nature. I used to think that nature was just a science topic but I can now see that it fits in with geography just as much. When we explore nature we also explore the land, we note where things are found, we observe the weather and the climate. There is a good deal of overlap with earth science curriculum when studying nature.
“The first ideas of geography, the lessons on place, which should make a child observant of local geography, of the features of his own neighbourhood, its heights and hollows, and level lands, its streams and ponds, should be gained, as we have seen, out of doors, and should prepare him for a certain amount of generalisation––that is, he should be able to discover definitions of river, island, lake, and so on, and should make these for himself in a tray of sand, or draw them on the blackboard.” Charlotte Mason
- Maps and drawing maps “…geography should be learned chiefly from maps. Pictorial readings and talks introduce him to the subject, but as soon as his geography lessons become definite they are to be learned, in the first place, from the map.” Charlotte Mason
- Quality geography resources – geography living books by travel writers, travel brochures and today I’m sure she would include geography DVDs.
- Thoughtful questions about geography
- Geography notebooks.
It can be hard to find suitable living narrative styled books for teaching geography to young children. So Charlotte Mason wrote her own Elementary Geography Guide which we have updated to include modern discoveries.
Homeschooling Downunder Geography Resources
Begin your first lessons in Australian geography.
Foundation – Year 6
Year 3 to Year 6
World Geography Resources
World geography should be covered after you have done some local geography including basic Australian geography.
For more specific details on teaching geography and following the Australian curriculum see our guides.