Geography


September 17

Planning to take 2 paths through Geography this year. One is to simply work through this course.

The other is to work through the Trail Guide to US Geography.  We did the World one years ago and it was a bit of fun. We’ll do crafts and cooking alongside too.

Aug 16

Like History I am planning one long project this year.  Planning to look at Asia.  We will look at an overview of the continent using a study guide from Evan Moor. Plus reading from the Usbourne Geography Encyclopaedia and Asia Encyclopaedia.

We will look in more depth at the geography, culture and history of a few countries; India, China, Japan and the Middle East.

As we go through the year I am hoping that we can look at the physical geography of mountains and deserts but I think that will depend on how we embrace lapbooking again (have a bit of a love/hate relationship).  I am hoping to look at the history of countries via lapbooking and have found some for the physical aspects but will wait and see how we go.

Aug 15

The extra Geography bits like postcrossing and flat travelling never really worked last year.  Flat traveller never returned from first journey out and we never heard anything back from the culture swap.  Time to give up on them I think.  It’s Sam’s lack of enthusiasm that torpedoed Postcrossing.  Personally I think it’s a bit of fun but if he doesn’t no point.

Projects alternating with History worked very well for us though.  As did the idea of planning a project each on the 3 diff areas of place,  physical geog and human geog.

The topics lined up for this year are:

Europe

Rivers

Water (access to clean/sanitation etc)

Aug 2014

While we have been having great fun with our Geography group, I want to cover more and different aspects so we will move back to studying Geography individually.

Planning two ongoing projects;

One is to get an idea of where places are in the world.  We will start Postcrossing again (although limit the cards we send – last time we got carried away and costs very quickly mounted up).  Postcards sent and received will be marked on a world map.  We’ve also signed up to the World Wide Culture Swap, although waiting to be allocated a group.  We’ve done a few mini-swaps and loved it.  Also plan to make regular use of these games to practice locating countries on the world and at continent level.

The other is to get a sense of the geography of Britain.  Sam has expressed a keenness to begin ‘flat travelling’ again.  The idea behind flat travelling is based on the Flat Stanley books, a ‘flat traveller’ (small card figure – we have had penguins and monsters in the past) is sent to a host who take it round their local area, take photos and then post back, usually with a journal and other little souvenirs (often just free leaflets etc).  In the past we’ve done international swaps, but when I was asking for groups to swap on on a forum I had an offer to swap from the UK and must admit I am quite taken with the idea of trying to visit as many UK counties and cities as possible.  Hoping they will be more likely to make it home too as postage is lower and less opportunity for parcels to go astray.  We will have a colouring map of the UK and colour in counties as we visit, keeping a folder of returned ‘journals’.

I bought this book, potentially to use as our main programme of study but really to see what sort of things would be covered in school at his age.  As I suspected not a lot!  Book is about 6 years old so maybe things have changed but not banking on it being much better from experience of what Jack is being taught.

Anyway have come to the conclusion that I will never find a decent Geography curriculum for primary level so need to construct it myself.  Therefore the plan is for 3 half term long Geography projects a year, alternating with the History projects.  Well maybe not alternating as History is tied to exhibitions so has to be fitted in to tie in with them, but 3 of each in a year covering one at a time.

Planning to cover one project based on place.  This year we will do a maps theme working through an atlas workbook supplemented with practical activities.  In the future we will hopefully work on continent studies from Prime-ed.

Another on habitats/ecosystems/physical features – this year we will look at Rainforests.

The third project will be on human geography.  This year will hopefully be farming.  Probably in the summer term as a good one for days out :).

Jan 2014

Following two strands for Geography

Charlotte Mason’s Elementary Geography

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Geography is one of those subject areas where home ed resources are thin on the ground and what is available is very American.  Of course it is easy to cobble together projects on countries and landforms but I have been looking for a more cohesive, flowing approach.

I came across this – based on the original work of Charlotte Mason

Well it definitely won’t be to everyone’s taste!  Not surprising for a resource written by Charlotte Mason it has a Christian bias.  I am not Christian but am very open minded about religion, suppose my religious views are best described as agnostic.

Anyway the book is a mix of poems/readings designed to spark discussion and non-fiction texts with questions to follow up.  Definitely not a full ‘curriculum’ more of a discussion starter to be followed up by reading around, watching videos etc.  With a groaning bookshelves all over the house this approach works really well for us.

Having dipped into it more than when I first wrote this I’m finding bits of it irritating – saying to children something is complicated and you won’t understand!  But persevering, not reading those bits aloud and using it very much as a discussion starter.

Supplementing with other books, these two in particular, and following up sometimes with an art/science project where appropriate.

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England project

The school curriculum (and therefore textbooks etc) focuses very heavily on human geography, how we influence the environment and very little on establishing a sense of the actual layout of the world.  Home educators tend to go the other way, looking at individual countries as projects.  We tend to, if not forget to look at our own backyard, struggle to find the resources from which to do so (most being American).

So as so often I find myself constructing a ‘syllabus’ for myself.  Have a small group of friends (children 61/2 to 8yo) joining us to work on the the project which is nice and will hopefully keep us both motivated.  My aim is simply by the time we’ve worked through it that they have a general idea of where some of the landmarks and major towns/cities are and little mental ‘hooks’ to give them a little context to places and that they have had fun, very hands on approach.

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This book forms my basic guide.  It is a story told in the form of a poem about a pair of children flying around England in a dream, it takes them to visit lots of places and gives little nuggets of information.  I have to say it is not quality literature but the idea is nice and it gives us a start every week and a route to follow.

In the group we are reading the part of the book that ties in and then doing some hands on activities to tie in.  Planning as I go, if you click the link on the right under categories you can follow where we have gone so far.

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