What to Look for in a High School Geography Curriculum

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What To Look For in a High School Geography Curriculum

Many people mistakenly grow up thinking that geography is solely about knowing where places are on a map or the capitals of states and countries. When a famous person, or say a Miss America contestant, flubs a geographical location, his or her knowledge of geography will be called into question around the internet for days, further strengthening this misconception. But when a celebrity doesn’t correctly identify the climate of a region or the religion of a people group, we aren’t as quick to blame weak geography skills.

While capitals and country locations are definitely a part of studying geography, this is not the whole of it.

What is geography?

Geography is simply the study of the earth, the places and people in it, and their relationships. It could be defined more deeply and specifically, but that’s geography in a nutshell.

Maps, continents, countries, capitals: this is just the beginning of a good geography study.

Elements of Studying Geography

Obviously, our simple definition of geography is quite broad. There are various elements of studying geography that fit inside this larger definition.

  • Physical Geography – the physical structure of the earth, the continents and oceans, the different types of land masses and habitats found on the earth, for example.
  • Political/Economic Geography – the different regions found around the world, their countries, capitals, and their government and economical systems.
  • Human/Social Geography – the different people groups, their cultures, religions, social structures and traditions.
  • Geography Tools – Maps and atlases and how they are made, map making and navigating tools, modern day tools such as GPS and Google Maps.

Simply studying where a country is will tell you very little about the climate, the people, their culture, their relationship with the countries around them, or their economic and social structure. Minimizing the study of geography to maps and atlases won’t help you understand the bigger picture when you study history, economics, or government. Instead, a solid geography program will dig deeper.

What to Look For In a High School Geography Curriculum

While a simpler approach to geography is suitable for younger ages, for a high school curriculum, you want a study that will provide a strong foundation for these almost-adults who will soon be setting out on their own and taking on the world. Even if your child never becomes a celebrity, a game show contestant, or Miss America, a general understanding of the world and everything in it is tangibly useful.

In everything from job interviews to mission trips, from understanding politics to parenting at the playground, your child’s geography skills (or lack thereof) will play a role in how well he or she is able to take on these tasks.

1. Choose a Geography Curriculum That is Diverse

Whereas most of the emphasis may be on physical and political geography, you want a curriculum that at least touches on human and social geography as well. Likewise, you need a curriculum thorough enough and containing enough material to count for a high school geography credit.

2. Choose a Geography Curriculum That is Structured For Independent Learning

At this age, students should be able to tackle subjects independently with very little assistance. A curriculum that speaks directly to the student and is geared for independent learning will only make that easier. A curriculum which also has further suggestions of things to read, research, or otherwise dig into, is even better.

3. Choose a Geography Curriculum That is Non-Consumable

With good geography skills being so important, it stands to reason that you’ll want to teach geography to each of your children. If you have more than one child, a non-consumable curriculum is the clear choice so that you can reuse it with each successive child, saving time and money.

4. Choose a Geography Curriculum That Has a Solid Worldview

It should make sense that worldview would influence the study of geography and should be considered when choosing a curriculum. The worldview the text is written from might influence your decision when choosing.

North Star Geography is a junior high/high school curriculum that contains all of the above qualities and is structured for independent learning. The text covers three main areas of geography: geography skills (such as reading maps and navigation,) physical geography, and human geography. It is written from a low key but clear Christian worldview, without any preference for denomination or theology. It is also offered as an online course.

Teach Geography With Confidence

Knowing that geography is more than studying places on a map doesn’t have to make it scary. It helps to remember that you could never possibly teach all there is to know about the world in one course. With a good curriculum, you can give your child a broad but firm introduction to the study of geography.



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This Post Has 133 Comments

  1. This would be a great addition to our homeschool. The Wondermaps would be especially beneficial.

  2. This looks like a magnificently comprehensive curriculum! This would be such a blessing to won!

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  4. I think this is the company that does Mystery of History! Awesome!

  5. This looks like a fun curriculum to use for geography.

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  7. I love geography and would love to use this for my kiddo!

  8. I would love to win this because it looks like such a great curriculum and would benefit my children. I love that it has hands on projects.

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  11. I’ve had my eye on North Star Geography for a long time. Planning on using it during the 2018-2019 school year. Would love to win it!

  12. As kid number 3 enters the high school years, I am realizing we didn’t cover geography as thoroughly as I had hoped, with the two oldest.

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  14. I’d like to win because I’m terrible in Geography. I’ll need all the help I can get in order to teach my kids!

  15. This giveaway is just in time for my son’s middle school years. He loves learning Geography. This curriculum includes topics we haven’t covered yet, so I am excited to see it!


  17. My young children already have a love for geography! This would be a great win!

  18. My kiddo loves geography, and this set includes a ton of digital maps. He’d be in heaven if we won this! Thanks for this opportunity!

  19. Geography has always been one of those things we just sort of talk about. My son has learned his state capitals, he know his directions, and whenever we read a book, I make sure to show him on our maps where it takes place. I have never been able to find a geography curriculum that is adaptable to my son’s needs.

  20. I love Bright Ideas Press and this would be a fantastic addition to our homeschool.

  21. My daughter and I love to travel, and this curriculum would help bring to life the places we visit ☺

  22. We love traveling and teaching our children about the world. Geography is so important!

  23. I’d love to win this geography curriculum because I’ve been liking for a good geography curriculum for my oldest & this sounds like just what I’ve been looking for

  24. My daughter loves geography and we are starting it this year. I’d love to use this.

  25. Not only would it simplify my planning but it would expand my child’s mind and view of the world.

  26. I have a son who loves geography and likes to compete in geography bees. This would be perfect to continue his learning!

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  28. I have had such a hard time finding a geography curriculum that I like. This would be a big help in our homeschool.

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  33. I Need so much help with everything outside of math and English. This looks like a great geography program.

  34. I have home schooled for 16 years and have yet found a geography program that I love. This looks like it would fit the bill.

  35. I’ve looked at North Star Geography for a couple of years now but haven’t purchased it. I’d love to have it in our homeschool.

  36. I would love to win this giveaway because we don’t cover geography the way we should be and this would give me something to use, so we do cover it and it will give my high school boys the knowledge they need before they graduate.

    Lisa Joy Starr

  37. This is perfect! I was looking for something for my oldest, now that we are moving past the more elementary Evan Moor books!

  38. I was looking for a good High School Geography just this morning! It would be wonderful to have.

  39. A friend will homeschool this year.

  40. Geography is something we haven’t really done. This curriculum would be a good thing to add to our schedule:)

  41. Very interested in this program. I love that it is comprehensive and covers the full spectrum of what geography is.

  42. This looks like it would be a great addition for us!

  43. This looks like a great option to go further in depth with our geography studies!

  44. Love geography! Thanks for a chance at this terrific prize!

  45. I could use this for my high school student.

  46. Geography was one of my favorites. Hopefully my kids learn to appreciate it as well.

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  49. I would love to win this giveaway because I, myself, struggle with geography so it is always a struggle to put together some lessons for the kids and try to give them a rounded view of it. This would help so much.

  50. Looks like a great resource! We’re ramping up to junior high pretty soon here (two years or so).

  51. Thank you for the chance to win! Happy homeschooling!

  52. I would love to use this curriculum with my daughters. We aren’t quite to high school yet, but we are getting close and looking ahead. This is the geography curriculum that I keep coming back to.

  53. Oh, my 7th grade son would be SOOO in love with this. He has loved Geography since he was 2! 🙂

  54. Geography is one of those subjects that I always want to get to….but never do. Having an actual curriculum may help us 😉

  55. I could use many of the offerings for multiple levels. . which would take less instruction time as well as take up less space.

  56. I would love to try this curriculum. It looks great!

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  58. I’d live to win because I’ve been looking at North Star Geography for several years now and would love to use it for a student needing highschool credit.

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  60. We’re going to be tackling Geography this year, so winning this curriculum would be wonderful!

  61. I would love this for my 2 high school age daughters.

  62. I would love to teach this to have a thorough curriculum for my child.

  63. This looks fantastic!

  64. I’ve been looking for a good Geography curriculum to use this year. Thank you.

  65. I have been looking at NorthStar Geography for my oldest who will be a 9th grader this year. I haven’t ordered it yet. Waiting for the funds to purchase it. I’m so excited to use this geography this year. Thanks for a chance to win.

  66. Thank you so much for the chance to win. We neglect geography and are hoping to put it front and center in our homeschool this year. This bundle would be a real blessing. Thank you!

  67. We have not found a geography curriculum yet for my son, so I’d love to try this!

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  81. I would love to win this because – I am homeschooling my 9th grader, and we received a copy of a public school Geography book, with all the supplemental work. It’s a snoozer, and WAY TO EASY. We actually had to check to insure it wasn’t a 6th grade book. My budget is beyond tight, and I have to use what we have.

  82. I want to win this soooo bad!! My 14 year old needs a good geography curriculum, she is a missionary and wants to do full time ministry. She wants to learn all about this amazing earth, because she knows God could send her anywhere.

  83. I’d love to win this package because it would help my children learn more about our world. It looks like a really great resource. To win would be a blessing.

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  90. The human social geography looks interesting.

  91. I would like to win this giveaway for 2 reasons. 1. I have looked at North Star geography for several years and thought it looked good, but just haven’t been able to fit it in my budget. 2. I had Wonder Maps on my computer and used it all the time, but lost it when my computer crashed and died. I haven’t had the money to replace it.

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  98. I would love to win this giveaway, because I just recently wrote a blog post about how it’s hard to find freebies that are meant for junior high and high school ages. My oldest is going into seventh grade (help me!), and these materials would be fantastic for him.

  99. I think this will be an excellent course for my highschooler. I have been trying to find a really good one for him

  100. geography curriculum looks great

  101. This would be a wonderful curriculum for our homeschool!

  102. Would love to add a good Geography class to our homeschool.

  103. Good high school curriculum can be difficult to find.

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  107. Love the tips on choosing a good geography curriculum!

  108. We would love to use this as part of our curriculum! Especially since we currently dont have much on this subject.

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  110. I love Geography, but need great resources to help pass that love to my children.

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  116. This is great! We could use more geography in our homeschool. I feel we don’t know this subject well enough.

  117. This would be great to use with my son. Geography is one of our favorite subjects.

  118. Would love to find a better way to teach geography.

  119. My highschooler struggles with geography and this curriculum would help him to understand and hopefully enjoy it.

  120. I would like to win this for my son who lives anything to do with maps.

  121. We love Bright Ideas Press! We’d love to add this resource to our homeschool and use with the Mystery of History

  122. This curriculum would be great for my 9th grader!

  123. My oldest is nearly a high schooler and this would add to the quality curriculum needed to school him.

  124. My son loves geography and maps! He would be so excited to win this. Thanks for the opportunity!

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  126. I would Love for my children to be able to use this curriculum! thanks for the chance.

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  128. Last year we winged it with geography, with no curriculum to go off of. This would be nice to receive to give a more well rounded study.

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  131. I want to win this giveaway because I have been looking at Civitas card game and would like to have a copy of it.

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Hi, there! I’m Heather Bowen, and I am so glad you’re here.

My passion lies in helping homeschool moms balance marriage, motherhood, homemaking, and homeschooling all while remaining sane!

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