Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Teacher-Free Geography

I've been pondering this problem while I looked at the recommended curriculum plan in The Well-Trained Mind.  (One of the most brilliant modern books on parenting and education, in my opinion.)  How could I leave anything out?  My daughter is not being challenged enough in school in reading and math.  I need to provide that.  Schools don't really teach grammar any more, so I'll have to do that too.  Art appreciation is laughable, so add that.  History, Latin, geography, oh my!  This is not all going to fit.

So I decided to add some stealth geography education.  No teaching.  No worksheets.  Just plain fun.

US map
First, I tacked big maps to the wall.  Every time a place is mentioned in a conversation, we go look it up.

Then we played Pin The Continent on the Map.  Exactly like pin the tail on the donkey, only you're pinning up continents and oceans.  After about 700 rounds of this (and my deeply regretting I'd ever created the game) Crazy Bug knew her continents!  And it's still her favorite game.

Next, we read around the world.  We read stories that took place in different countries and made crafts and recipes from each country we read about.

Shifting to the US, we read The Scrambled States of America.  You can also watch the movie and play the board game by the same title.

I bought a US states puzzle and a world map puzzle.  Crazy Bug is currently puzzle mad.

Other resources you could try:
Great States Junior (ages 4-7)
Great States Card Game (ages 7+)
Our 50 States: A Family Adventure Across America (picture book, same illustrator as Fancy Nancy)

There are also computer games, CDs to listen to in the car, activity books, and sticker books.  You'll be surprised how much stealth learning you can include!

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