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Homeschool Resources to Teach Geography to Young Kids
Geography isn't taught in any real depth in many American elementary schools. If you want to teach it at home, it can be a bit of a challenge to find good books for kindergarten through 2nd grade students. There are many more options for 3rd grade and up. Geography can be the most challenging subject for homeschooling or afterschooling parents to teach due to a lack of ready made curriculums. If you're homeschooling, you'll most likely have to put together you're own curriculum. You'll want to cover countries, states, geographical features and maps.
Library used book sales and bookstore clearance sections can be a great place to pick up affordable geography books. I recently got an excellent book called The Encyclopedia of Amazing Places from the Barnes and Nobles children's clearance section for just $10. The book, which introduces kids to dozens of amazing places around the world, could be used with K through 5th graders.
In addition to books, apps and TV shows can make learning more enjoyable. Stack the States and Stack the Countries are two great apps that teach state and country facts using a fun game. Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego is a great DVD series that makes learning about the world fun.
State and Country Books
Your local library or Amazon are the best places to find books on various states and countries. Many of the elementary level books are aimed at 3rd to 5th grade kids. These books will often cover topics like history, people, animals, environment, natural resources and the economy. It's best to cover a particular region over time. For example, you can cover all the countries of South America or all the western states. Then move onto a different continent or US region. You may not be able to find books for all countries or states. But cover as many as you can.
How to Use a Children's Atlas
There are several good picture atlases available for kids. I cover one section of the atlas each week. As an example, we just covered Scandinavia. I read this section in the atlas on Monday. I also made some simple exercises to help my child remember the names of the Scandinavian countries and their capitals. On Wednesday, we watched some videos on YouTube. One we watched was on Lapland. On Friday, we did some mapwork, which also went over country names and capitals. You should do regular monthly reviews as well.
The Everything Kids' Geography Book
The Everything Kids' Geography Book: From the Grand Canyon to the Great Barrier Reef - explore the world! is probably best for 3rd grade and up. It may have too much information for a younger child. It covers all of the continents and includes puzzles and activities.
Geography from A to Z
Geography from A to Z: A Picture Glossary is appropriate for 1st grade and up. This is a very colorful book with definitions of geographical terms. Each page is devoted to one definition.
The Geography Book: Activities for Exploring, Mapping, and Enjoying Your World
This is an activity book with dozens of projects. Some examples are finding directions using stars and mapping your neighborhood. It also includes natural geography or Earth science covering topics like the formation of various landforms and erosion. This is a great option for hands-on learners.
Daily Geography Practice
Daily Geography Practice by Evan Moor is available for 1st through 6th grade. This is ideal for both homeschooling and afterschooling.
Beginning Geography, Grades K-2
Beginning Geography, Grades K-2 by Evan Moor is an excellent introduction to basic geography for preschool to 2nd grade. You don't really have many choices with this age group, so this one is worth getting.
Around the World Coloring Book
Around the World Coloring Book is very cheap to buy and another great way to introduce geography to preschoolers. It's definitely another must have for this age group. But this book is great for all elementary ages. It's a good basic introduction to countries. This book is also very affordable.
The Complete Book of Maps and Geography, Grades 3 - 6
This is a thick book and could be used over a couple of years. It's a workbook, so again it's great for homeschoolers. It covers topics like creating and interpreting maps, continents and oceans, US geography and world geography. It also covers geography terms like hemispheres, latitude, longitude, and time zones.