Guest Author - Alissa Moy
National Geography Week is November 15th-21st,2009. Plan ahead for weaving Geography into your curriculum during that week, and beyond! Start by visiting "Geography Action 2009" on the web. This site is informative and full of free lesson plan materials for grades K-12. Sponsored by National Geographic, you will also find links to other Geography sites, like "My Wonderful World" and " National Geographic Bee". Plan to use these sites for not only homeschool, but also family fun. I plan to challenge my son and husband on the daily "bee" questions. We will have our maps and globe out to verify one anothers answers too. If you don't have a globe, now is a great time to invest in one. There are several well made globes, from Learning Resources to Leap Frog.
The kids National Geographic site has awesome games for kids as well. You will enjoy playing "GeoSpy" and "Copycat" along with them. Board games like "Do You know Where You Are?" are fun for children to learn about Geography while having fun. If you have a map at home, of any country or the world, try playing "Pin the State (or country, etc) on the Map". This is an exciting and physical game to get your homeschoolers to close their eyes and see the map and geography in their mind. Once you have found your places of interest be sure to mark their location, even finding Longitude and Latitude on the map. Map puzzles are another fantastic way to incorporate Geography into your homeschool curriculum. Younger children will enjoy map placemats, and you can even make and laminate them yourself. Reviewing states and capitals during snack time is always fun!
Be sure to always include geographical terminology and awareness in your daily lessons. When reading a story, find and discuss the setting or location on a map. In Science relate the topics to geographic locations, like a volcano experiment to finding Hawaii on the map. For History use the study of early civilizations to teach mapping skills. Have your child figure out how far away a specific country is, and even find out how long it would take if you were to visit there. The choices for incorporating Geography into your homeschool program are endless, so you can feel free to teach these skills all throughout the year. Happy traveling!