Geography is the study of places and the people who live there. Since people and places are varied and fascinating, the study of geography should be one of the most interesting subjects we can study! We do a great disservice to students when geography is reduced to learning the state capitals and filling in locations on a blank map. So what are some simple ways we can make geography a joy to study?
Make Geography Literature and Visually Rich
It isn’t necessary to have a geography book or curriculum, especially when your children are younger. Libraries are full of colorful books about interesting locations around the world. The internet offers websites, videos and more that all bring the world right to your home. There are hundreds of picture books that deal with characters in different locations. Read aloud novels also provide an opportunity to learn about people and places. Learn about people and places using the most visually and mentally engaging materials available to you.
Integrate Geography with Other Subjects
Studying geography is far more effective if it is integrated into other subjects. Practically every topic students learn can be tied into geography.
- Learning about a scientist? Discover everything you can about where he/she lived and worked.
- Learning math? Use whatever skills the students are learning in connection with a map.
- Learning writing? Write to someone for information about the location you want to research.
- Learning music? Study the where the composer lived and worked. Or learn about unique styles of music and instruments associated with related areas.
Literally every subject can be tied into geography in some way since everyone lives and works someplace in the world.
Connect Geography to Real People
Places have far more meaning if you know someone who is there. There are many ways to think about this. Do you know someone who fits one of these profiles?
- Missionaries here or abroad
- A businessman or businesswoman who works or regularly travels abroad
- Friends who have relocated to another state or country
- Relatives or ancestors who came from another country
- Friends who have relocated from another state or country
- Favorite book or television characters from other places
Any of these people can become a launching point for learning about new places. You can write letters to the people who live far away. You can ask the travelers to bring back free information from the places they went. You can invite people who have relocated from other states or countries to come over for dinner and tell you all about where they lived before moving. Learning about real places from real people greatly increase the likelihood of students remembering what they learned.
Geography should never be dull! With a little thought, geography can truly be a fascinating study that brings joy to your learning endeavors.