Geography is often placed on the back burner, a secondary subject to history. I am not sure why this is as I believe not only do history and geography go hand in hand, but that there is an importance to geography all by itself. So why teach geography in your homeschool?
You will often hear people talk about social studies or history as a subject on their school calendar. But do you hear someone say I am studying geography? Not usually. I believe we our doing ourselves and our children a disservice if we are not teaching geography along with history, and I will tell you why.
Geography helps you to explore not just the physical aspects of our world, but also the impacts of human values and culture on society, the environment and places.
Why You Should Teach Geography
1. Studying Geography Gives You A Global Perspective
If you never study geography you will never know where things are located. When you are watching current events and someone is talking about Sudan and the trouble in Darfur, you will have no idea where it is located. You won’t know that Darfur is even located in Sudan – a country that recently split in two over religious and ruling issues.
Knowing where things are located in relation to one another, as well as the overall concept that the world is not flat like a map but round like a globe help to give you perspective. If you are talking about wars in the middle east but have no concept of where the middle east is located, you might believe there is strife right in your own backyard!
When you shop at the grocery store and find that the cost of oranges has skyrocketed. If you don’t know that Florida is a large producer of oranges and that they had a bad year for oranges, then you won’t understand the shortage and price hike.
In this way studying geography helps you understand how things in the world are connected, and can influence each other.
2. Geography Offers Cultural and Climate Insights
What if Alaska was near the equator? What if Iceland was in Africa?
The location of these places has a great impact on the culture in these regions. (And any other region of the world.)
Things like the imports and exports will vary based on the physical convenience, as well as what the climate allows in terms of product creation.
Alaska is very near the North Pole and thus is cold, snowy and icy. Africa on the other hand has the Equator running right through it and thus has very warm temperatures and many more deserts than Alaska. All of this information can help link you to the how’s and why’s of the culture in these areas.
3. Geography Stands Alone
Teaching geography alone is important, without even addressing global or cultural factors.
Geography encompasses the use of mapping and navigation.
If you want to take a trip you need to know how long it will take, and what mode of transportation you will need to get there. You will need to know what to pack in term of clothing based on the climate, as well as available activities in that area.
What We Use for Geography
We are using North Star Geography in our house. One of the big pluses to North Star Geography is that it offers tons of different types of learning activities. From really in-depth and hands on projects ideas to straight forward mapping, labeling and memorization. You can check out how we are using North Star Geography, but keep in mind that there are MANY more ways to use it than just what we are doing.
So when you sit down to make plans for your homeschool. Be sure to consider adding geography studies in along with your history. I think it is a decision you will not regret!