It often surprises me that high school students are not required to take a geography course. With the technology that exists today we can quickly and easily travel to other cities, purchase items from another country, and witness events happening around the globe. We live on a plant where people are better connected than in any time in history. Teens should study geography to help them understand and appreciate the world they live in.
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What exactly is Geography?
Geography is broad subject that encompasses the study of the earth, its structure, and everything that lives on the earth. According to the National Geographic Society, Geography is:
A knowledge of place names, location of cultural and physical features, distribution and patterns or languages, religions, economic activities, population and political systems.
Because geography is so broad it is often included with more traditional subjects such as history and science. I would recommend, however, that due to the importance of the subject matter, students should take a geography course in order to best understand and discuss the relationships of the people, places, and activities taking place on Earth.
3 Reasons Why Teens Should Study Geography
Understand Current Events
Teens today are connected to the word around them by phones, computers, and other electronic devices. When an event happens in another part of the world it does not take long for news to travel quickly around the planet via news services and social media channels.
Teens will see these images and hear various accounts of what is happening. An understanding of geography will help students put the information they are hearing in context so they can further research the story, identify where the story is happening, and determine what other people and/or systems (environmental, political, social, etc.) system may be impacted.
Being familiar with many places and cultures will give teens the tools needed to ask questions and have knowledgable conversations about the events that impact them and their world.
Appreciate Other Cultures
As our world is getting better connected our teens are given more opportunities to be introduced to different cultures. In past generations children often lived close to older relatives and those family members could help to share customs and traditions from countries and cultures they had experienced. Because many family now move to new areas for jobs or family reasons, teens have opportunities to meet new friends and neighbors who can provide information about different cultures and backgrounds.
When teens have the chance to travel to different cities, states, or countries they can learn about traditions, locations, and historical events that make communities unique. One of my teens’ favorite activities is to learn about holiday traditions from different countries by researching customs, celebrations and especially food!
By learning about different cultures teens can expand their understanding and appreciation of the things that are important to the people around them.
Connect to Their Community
Teens are very important members of a community. There are numerous things teens can do to learn more about the neighborhoods they call home. The decisions teens make about how to become involved in their communities can impact not only their own futures, but also the future of those around them.
Topics such as location, environment, government, economics, and transportation are all part of human geography. These are topics that impact our lives every day.
As teens get older they will begin to think about possible career options, getting their driver’s license, and registering to vote. It is important for teens to be well informed so they can make sound decisions as they move toward accomplishing these goals. Teens might chose to volunteer within their community to help support causes that are important to them or help them learn about a potential career interest. They can also research how their local government operates so they understand their responsibilities as a productive citizen.
By asking questions and giving of their time teens can become active, informed, and supportive members of their community.
Geography Resources for Teens
We have been actively including geography studies in our homeschool for many years. You can find a wide variety of articles including geography tools, hands-on projects, printable, and more by exploring the Geography section of our website.
You can find even more great ideas from our iHomeschool Network friends at The Massive Homeschool Geography Guide.