When I first started teaching geography, it was through country studies. We read beautiful, living books. We invited people into our home to teach us about places they lived or ministered in. We sampled food from around the world, coloured flags, dressed up and did some pretty cool crafts and activities.
But my children needed something more. Not instead of our beautiful country studies, but in addition to them.
They needed to learn to navigate using a map. They needed to learn about north, south, east and west. They needed to be able to interpret a map key and use a map grid. They needed to learn about different types of maps (street maps, physical maps, topographical maps, population maps, weather maps, etc.). These are practical life skills.
But how would I teach them?
There is one book per grade level, and each book divided into 36 week increments. Every week begins with a new map and some information on how to introduce that map to your students. Each day, students must answer two simple questions about that map, interpreting it carefully in order to find the answers.
Seriously, that’s it.
The questions are SO simple, and yet my kids have learned so much! It honestly floors me. They can also work independently on it, which frees up a few minutes for me to do other things. As an added bonus, these books are pretty affordable.
So what’s the drawback?
There’s only one that I can think of: EvanMoor does not have a Canadian version of this program. Although the mapping skills are universal, there are several state maps included in the book. If you want to add in Canadian geography, I highly recommend combining this program with Donna Ward’s materials.
My kids absolutely love their Daily Geography Practice. Here’s what they have to say:
“It’s my favourite subject. I learn a lot and it’s fun.” (P, age 6)
“I’ve learned about cities and states. I’ve learned how to read a map. … I love it.” (E, age 8)
Where you can find it:
I love that my girls are now able to read and interpret various types of maps. Since I’m more of a social studies person than a geography person, this has proven to be an effective way to fill in the gaps.