I have a couple of geography resources on the shelf, but mostly we cover geography by integrating it into our other lessons. And more often than not, it is not planned.
Case in point: yesterday’s study of the Strait of Magellan.
In Sprite’s proofreading practice (Evan Moor Daily Proofreading, grade 6) she came across strait of magellan which had to be capitalized. She didn’t realize that it was a specific place. In fact, she didn’t even know what a strait was. And she had forgotten all about the explorer Magellan.
At that point I had a choice. I could simply tell her that the Strait of Magellan is a place on the tip of South America and it should be capitalized. Or I could take this natural opportunity for a mini-geography lesson.
Yesterday I chose the latter. (I don’t always, by the way. Sometimes you just have to say no to a tangent.)
We started with the atlas. Amazingly we couldn’t find Strait of Magellan in the index! I didn’t want to just tell Sprite what or where it was, so I suggested the dictionary next. She looked up the word strait and wrote down the definition. Then she looked up Magellan in the dictionary too. Based on the information she found there, she was able to figure out that to find the Strait of Magellan in the atlas we would need to look at the South America page.
To solidify her understanding, I asked Sprite to draw a simple map of the Strait of Magellan below the definitions she had looked up. And then that page went into her geography notebook. Voila! Geography lesson is done.
For more details about this style of sneaky teaching without a curriculum, see my Teaching Reference Skills series at The Homeschool Classroom.
- Part 1: Why and How
- Part 2: Using a Table of Contents and Index
- Part 3: The Atlas
- Part 4: The Dictionary
By the way, if you do want a more direct approach, this workbook is good — World Map Skills, Grade 6. It is serving as an occasional geography supplement for our Beautiful Feet ancient history study.