Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Geography Ideas

Continent Boxes: (ala Maria Montessori) - Here is a neat Montessori idea that is easily adapted to a Catholic homeschool environment. Use a clear plastic Rubbermaid tub (approximately shoe box size) for each continent. Find artifacts, coins, Saint cards, and photos of art and architecture from the appropriate continent to fill each box. We started with just a box for Europe. We really enjoyed our little "Treasure Hunt" to see what things we could find from Europe that we already had in our house. We were pretty successful...we found a handful of coins from Portugal (my husband visited Fatima with Fr. Fox in high school), postcards of Churches and other buildings in Fatima and Rome, several holy cards of European Saints, a small pewter statue of St. Patrick, pictures of some famous European Cathedrals (from an old calendar), a bit of sod from Ireland (my husband had requested this when his parents visited Ireland a few years ago), a beautiful old pillbox made in Italy, postcards of several famous paintings and statues from the Louvre in Paris and the Vatican Museums and...you get the idea. My 6 year old daughter really took to this idea. She's very careful about how she treats the pieces and must keep them altogether and put them away when she's finished. We both decided that it would be fun to get a simple map of Europe so that she could sort the artifacts into their appropriate countries. I think we'll try Asia next. See "Montessori Cultural Lessons" from Michael Olaf for more details (Alicia from WI)


How about painless geography lessons?! Stealing the idea from another homeschool mother, I put a huge world map on top of my kitchen table. Then, I bought a sheet of HEAVY GAUGE clear plastic (at your local hardware store), and covered up the map. Tuck the ends up under your table with thick tape (to avoid the spills dripping down the plastic sides). Voila! The kids, mom, dad, and visitors will soon be pouring over the table, looking at the world map. For several weeks, we had a daily list of places to mark on the map (use small amounts of playdough or sticky tack). It became a race, with my three oldest, to find the twenty locations in the quickest time. One week, they tried to stump mom. Great fun, and educational (but don't tell the kids!) (Kathie from Canada )


Create a Little Museum in Your Home: We recently turned our dining room hutch into a mini "museum" by collecting all of our geography books, travel guides, atlases, coins from various parts of the world, postcards (and other interesting things that the children can touch) and organizing them in an appealing and accessible way. One thing I put together is a stack of images of Our Lady from various parts of the world. Since we've been doing a lot of geography study as a family this quarter, we also picked up some inexpensive travel videos (at Sam's Club) and made up lists of the countries of the world (organized by continent) and their capitals for the children to memorize (we offered each of them an extra credit "prize" for accomplishing this). Taking a page out of the 1950 Cheaper by the Dozen movie, we posted these lists near the children's beds and in the bathroom. The children are really enthusiastic about this project and we're really enjoying studying this as a family. (Alicia from WI)


Making more room for home-made maps and charts - There never seems to be enough wallspace for all of our homeschool needs - particularly since bookshelves and bunkbeds take up a great deal of what wall space we have. We came up with an idea that has worked well for us. We took a number of pieces of poster board (card-stock thickness rather than foam board), punched three holes along the tops of them, and put binder rings into the holes on either side. The middle hole is good for hanging this poster book up on a wall. All of this poster space gave us lots of room for our favorite geography projects (like drawing a map of each continent and labeling it with pictures of people, places, bookcovers, etc. related to each country) and we can flip it to the appropriate page and hang it up from there whenever we like. (Alicia from WI)

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