Every day we hear stories about how our world is “getting smaller” and we are finding ourselves more connected to activities and events all around us. It is important for our children to know as much as possible about the planet we live on and how actions around the world can impact us right at home.
To help our students learn more about our global-minded world they should take at least one geography course during their middle or high school years.
But, what if you don’t feel prepared to teach this information to your kids?
Don’t worry, we have you covered! We have gathered helpful ideas and resources you will need to be an amazing homeschool geography teacher.
This post contains affiliate links.
What is Geography?
Geography is the study of the earth, its structure, and its inhabitants.
The study of geography can be divided into three categories:
- Geography skills – including map reading, using tools like compass, GPS, and atlases, and understanding cartography and navigation.
- Physical geography – including topics such as geology, meteorology, oceanography, ecology, and astronomy.
- Human geography – this is concerned with how people relate to their location and environment and includes topics such as sociology, culture, religion, transportation, and government.
How to Teach Homeschool Geography
My family loves to travel and learn about different countries and cultures. During our early years of homeschooling we informally included geography in many of our literature, history, and science lessons.
This year my kids asked if we could create a middle/high school level course specifically focused on studying geography. To ensure my kids could make the most of this learning experience I did some research and found some wonderful resources to make this class fun and educational for all of us.
Even if you have never taught geography before, don’t worry! Here are materials and ideas we found helpful. You can use these too to teach homeschool geography.
North Star Geography + WonderMaps
North Star Geography is the geography curriculum from Bright Ideas Press that has served as the “spine” of our geography course this year. These materials are designed for older students, but with the variety of activities included you can customize the learning for all ages and learning styles.
We completed this course in one school year — my kids LOVED it! We are very thankful for the many interesting discussions and research efforts this information has sparked in our homeschool. The best thing about this curriculum is the flexibility it offers. You can create your own course using these tools:
- The Student Reader – This book contains 16 lessons, usually around 10-15 pages each. The lessons address high-level geographic concepts and include sidebars with specific examples of selected concepts.
- Hands-on Activities – Each lesson includes 3-4 ideas for hands-on learning activities. See below for details of some of our favorites.
- Building Your Own Atlas – Students learn about the important features of each continent by drawing and/or labeling maps.
- Note-Taking Pages – Note-taking is an important skill for kids to learn and these pages serve as great models for teaching kids how to take notes on information they read and hear.
- Memorization Lists – Kids need to know where things are in the world! These lists help kids learn about 16 items per lesson.
- Research Questions – Questions are included to help students begin further research into topics they find interesting.
- Quizzes and Tests – These help kids review the information learned.
- Vocabulary – More than 450 terms are included and you decide how/if your students looking for definitions to these terms.
- Graphic Organizers – Several helpful “Fact File type graphic organizers are included for students to complete.
- WonderMaps – Customizable collection of over 350 downloadable maps.
Hands-on Learning Activities
No matter the age, students learn best when they have an opportunity to learn by doing. We have used many hands-on learning activities in our geography studies, including:
- 6 Family History Activities for Middle School Kids
- 10 Volcano Activities for Middle School
- Around the World in 80 Days – Book Study & Activities
- Celebrating Holidays Around the World
- Geography Activities: Atlas Scavenger Hunt [FREE Printable]
- Geography Activities: DIY Travel Journal for Kids [FREE Printable]
- Geography Activities: Geography Terms BINGO [FREE Printable]
- Geography Activities: How to Make a Compass & Determine “North” [FREE Printable]
- Geography Activities: Make a Homemade Weather Station [FREE Printable]
- Geography Activities: Make a Sugar Karst Cave (Sinkhole)
- Spice Up Your Geography Lessons With Regional Foods
Online Geography Resources
We have found a number of very helpful online resources for our kids to use to gather interesting facts about places around the world.
- 5 Handy Geography Websites for Middle School Students
- 8 Must-Try Online Geography Games for Middle School
- Starting Our Homeschool Day With CNN Student News
Learning Outside The Home
Travel is one of the BEST ways to learn about the world around you! Whether you travel around your neighborhood or across the country, there is always something new to see and experience.
- Add Geography Lessons to your Epcot Vacation
- Geography Field Trip: Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
- Geography IRL: Let Kids Help Plan the Vacation Agenda
- Homeschoolers Love to Learn at National Parks & Historic Sites
- Learn World Geography with It’s a Small World
- Learning on Vacation: Map Skills for Kids
A Few Helpful Geography Books
Here are a few books we used ALL OF THE TIME during our geography studies:
- DK Publishing Student Atlas
- Social Studies Actual Size
- National Geographic Bee Ultimate Fact Book:Countries A to Z
- The World Almanac and Book of Facts
A Little Help From Friends
Don’t feel like you have to teach geography all alone! We like to teach geography with friends.
- Join the Homeschool Flat Traveler Exchange!
- Learning with Other Families: How to Start a Geography Co-op
We hope this list has sparked an interest in geography for your homeschool! These tools and resources will help your kids learn about the world they live in and help you become an amazing homeschool geography teacher.
HOMESCHOOL GEOGRAPHY GIVEAWAY
If you are ready to get started on a Geography Journey, we would love to help you chart your course for success.
We are excited to offer this GIVEAWAY with some of our favorite Geography Resources!
This Giveaway, valued at over $100, includes: