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geography

The following is a Guest Blog post from Homeschool.com reader, Cindy.  It’s a fun homeschooling activity.

One of my favorite things about our “eclectic” approach to homeschooling is the opportunities we get unexpectedly.

I am a totally schedule oriented kind of person and I admit, one of my favorite things to do is lesson plan and scour the endless world of curriculum.  However, this came out of left field and has worked out quite nicely.

I found the book, National Geographic Kids Beginner’s World Atlas at our library and picked it up.  I thought it was a beautiful book – its size only adding to this fact –  but still a little too in depth for my guys just yet.  My goal, really, was just to introduce them to the continents and the four oceans.  I think it’s important for them to start their education with the proper perspective; to see how big God’s world is and what a small portion of it we really take up.  This is the same reasoning I have for planning to start World History before American History.  But, I digress.

I spent just one day a week on each continent plus I did an introduction.  Total, it came to about a nine week study.  In the book, each continent takes up about four pages; two for the people, two for the land.  Beautiful pictures show culture, land regions, climate, plants, animals, countries, cities, language, and products.  This could easily be expanded into a full year curriculum by digging in depth to each continent by getting creative and adding examples from the Internet, books, and even food!

Using a felt board and felt, I made a hands-on map that we can add to each week after we finished reading about a particular continent.  The boys got a big kick out of this part and it almost worked like a reward for them.  I made a game of it, I had them find the continent we’d just talked about and then fit it onto the board like a puzzle.

Here’s the directions to make it, along with a list of what you’ll need–

The Atlas book mentioned above, or one similar

1 large blue felt board
7 different colored felt squares
1 dark blue felt square (circles for oceans)
Scissors
Pencil
Black Sharpie
Tracing paper or wax paper

Open the Atlas to the inside cover.

With pencil, freehand the outline on the felt board.  Do not be intimidated by this…I promise you, I am no artist.  The proportions do not have to be perfect, either.  The idea is just to give an outline version of the world.

Once you feel confident about the spacing, go over it with your black sharpie.

Next, make the continents on different colored squares of felt.  You can use tracing paper or wax paper to help.  I wrote the first initial on each continent to bring attention to the words, as well as the shape.  Make four circles out of blue felt to represent the oceans.

I let the boys play with it before we started the reading (the picture accompanying this post), which they loved.

I hung it next to our “real” maps and referenced our world map frequently.

Have Fun!

*update…after using it a while I ended up adding the rough side of velcro to the back of the continents for re-enforced sticking

To read more, visit Cindy’s blog at http://lifeasarinnagade.blogspot.com.

 

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