When I first started homeschooling, I made my list of subjects the girls needed to learn for the year. I sought to find curriculum for their education. I needed a book for every subject…… or so I thought!
Was I wrong! On all sorts of level. Let’s take for example geography.
Geography classes were a drudgery, throughout my education. For me it was sitting in class learning the different states, provinces or regions with their capitals. There seemed no substance to the subject. We would watch a badly translated documentary in an attempt to bring more material into the day’s topic.
So, not knowing anything else, I started doing the same thing with my kids Homeschool. It is what I knew.
Oh No! Was I wrong! Their interest level went from bad to worse. Just like mine, from years ago in class. They got discouraged. I was getting frustrated. I was failing to successfully teach geography to my children, a subject they needed to learn and understand.
So mid-school year, I did a 180° shift. We went back to basics. What do they want to learn? What were they curious about? In regards to Geography that was.
Then it dawned on me. When we were in Europe, they asked the same question. No matter where we were, big cities or small towns, the first thing they asked was:
- Where are we going?
- How do we get there?
My oldest rapidly figured it out. She needed a map, like I had, and she asked for one, too. Our first city was Rome, so we grab an extra map and out we went….
She had no idea how to use it!
Now began map skills learning. Where are we, where do we want to go, how far is it? Landmarks to keep in mind and so on….
She was off and orienteering. Every walk we added a little bit more. We put her more and more in charge of how we would walk somewhere. She even saved the day once, because she paid attention to landmarks and knew where to turn…..
Kids 1, Parents 0
So how did I incorporate a life experience into our learning?
We reviewed MAP SKILLS. I Applied them to MAP ACTIVITIES and finished the whole thing with CRAFTS.
First question to the girls was what is your favorite place in the world? We took 2 maps one from ROME and the other one was Magic Kingdom at Disney World
- Time to review our Cardinal Directions, so we built our Compass Rose.
- Learning some vocabulary: Longitude, Meridian at Greenwich Latitude, Equator
TIP: To remember which one is horizontal “latitude ➔ flat”
- Other components that you will find on a map ➔ Key and scale
To practice this, we did some “fun school” (no worksheet we use what the kids like, example a map of Disney World) Map Activities
A “scavenger hunt” through a map of the US where they needed to find a city according to coordinates.
That one was a big hit.
We went back to our Rome map and we started playing around to practice the grid
What is located in B4? _____ and so on.
After a few weeks of fun schooling with these Map Skills, we started to build our own globe. We have been learning about The Circles of Latitude
And again, we will go on a “scavenger hunt” as before…to find which of these countries is in the tropics……
We will be finishing our year with landforms and what there is to know about all of them.
That was our crazy switch in geography this year and for the best. They now feel confident and understand what the material is, I am showing them…My children have taken ownership by seeing geography in their world.
Or… We are now ready for next year’s geography and how it is related to civilizations around the world
This is what I found to teach my children. You may have a different solution. The key is to know your children’s learning habits.
So, when you find yourself frustrated and your children discouraged, remember one thing…We all started Homeschool to better our children. You make a difference every day for your children’s education. You are the answer to their learning. Learning is about asking for more. All I did was change how I presented the subject to them. They are asking for more…