Homeschool Geography

With many different approaches taken to geography over the years, such as subsuming it in a social studies course, homeschooling parents may come to the subject without a great deal of background. As you prepare to homeschool, this article can help you get some ideas about approaches and strategies to use. One thing you should do as you begin your thinking is get hold of your state’s geographyhomeschooling curriculum, which you can reach through the United States Department of Education site:

The National Standards and Homeschool Geography

There are eighteen national geography standards grouped into six essential elements. The six essential elements that characterize the geographically informed person are knowing and understanding:

  • the world in spatial terms
  • places and regions
  • physical systems
  • human systems
  • environment and society
  • the uses of geography

Thus, rather than thinking of geography in terms solely of teaching children to read maps and globes, we are asked to instruct them in how to think about space and how we interpret it, how humans interact with their surroundings, and the application of geographical insights to interpreting the past and present and planning the future.

References for Homeschool Geography

References for homeschool geography include, but go beyond, maps and globes. Note that maps and globes that are even a few years old may be inaccurate. Many of these items can be found online, but for some classroom uses, having a tangible copy is valuable.

  • Maps of your city or town and state
  • Maps of the United States including a street map, topographic map, population map, satellite map, etc.
  • Maps of the world in different projections, that show the differing results if one chooses to preserve direction, shape, area, distance, or the shortest route.
  • Globe
  • Geographical Dictionary
  • Encyclopedia
  • Tour Guides/Travel Books
  • Google Earth
  • Newspaper or news magazine subscription

Supplies for Homeschool Geography

Supplies for geography can help you interact with geography tools.

  • printer
  • ruler, protractor, compass
  • tacks or pins with different color heads
  • yarn or embroidery floss in different colors
  • scissors
  • large bulletin board

Projects for Homeschool Geography

  • Find a copy of the game “Where in the World is Carmen San Diego?” Make a new version.
  • Hang a map of your state with lots of room around it on the bulletin board. When you find significant events reported in the news put a pin in the spot and run yarn or floss out to attach to the clipped news item in question. Depending on interest, you could focus on happenings of a certain type e.g., environmental news, farming news, etc.
  • Do the project above using Google Earth.
  • Hang a map of the world or your state, or even your city/town. Choose a tack color for each family member. Everyone should add tacks to show where they’ve been.
  • Do the project above using Google Earth.
  • Use printed maps or online maps to plan trips.
  • Use printed maps or online maps that have been printed out to guide a driver while traveling.
  • Research maps of the same place over time to judge changes.
  • Trace your family’s movement either as immigrants to the United States or within the United States.
  • Trace the Influenza H1N1 pandemic.
  • Select a fairly long trip in the US. Use at least three different ways to plan the trip and choose routes. You might try to find the shortest route, the most scenic route, and the route that will get you there fastest, using each method.

Web Resources for Homeschool Geography

National Geographic Website Lesson Plans

Nationial Geographic Website –

MapQuest –

Google Maps –

Google Earth –

Wolfram Demonstrations Project: Colorcoded Country Comparison –

Field Trips for Homeschool Geography

Field trips for homeschool geography can include any trip taken with a map, as well as trips to see geographical features – like peninsulas, islands, reefs, inlets, etc. – and trips to see outstanding geographical landmarks, such as the Grand Canyon, the Hoover Dam, the Everglades, the Rocky Mountains, Niagara Falls, the Pacific Ocean, etc.