Geography is a much-neglected subject, and making it interesting can be difficult.  The best way, of course, is to travel.  This idea comes from my mother’s childhood.  Each summer, when they went on vacation, my grandfather placed my mother and her sister in charge of planning the route, determining which roads to take, what to see along the way, and how long it would take to get there.  I might suggest adding some more math to this by giving your children an amount of time that you can take to get where you are going.  This will also force them to choose the most interesting places to stop.

 Another fun thing to do with geography is to have a geography bee.  You need a map of the world or of the U.S.(ideally laminated), a wall to hang it on, and some Post-It Flags (or Post-It Notes chopped up), and something to hold the Post-Its. 

Write the name of one capitol on each Post-It flag, and put all the capitol names in a hat or box.  Have each child pick one Post-It, then try to find the place where it belongs.  You can make this easier at first by only using a fairly small geographic area, like Western Europe, or New England.  You can make it more competitive by using a timer to set time limits for finding each capitol.  Later, you can make it more challenging by increasing the geographic area and/or decreasing the time limit.  You can do the same thing with states, countries, rivers, and cities in your state.  A variation on this would be to have a list of places, and let the children find and write the names on a laminated map using dry-erase pens.

 Lastly, I recommend using the program, Mapping the World by Heart.  Here it is:  Mapping the World by Heart.

It was created by a history teacher who realized that his students couldn’t really learn history because they had so little understanding of geography. My husband is going through it with the children.  They started with Europe since we were finishing up European history, and now they are working on the states here in America.  It just warms my homeschooling mother’s heart to hear my 6-year-old point to and rattle off the names of the countries of Europe with ease, including all the former Soviet block countries!   I couldn’t do it nearly as well as she does.

It may seem like a daunting task, but the ability to know where something took place helps tremendously with the setting of history, and an on-going understanding of current events.

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