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

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  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!

  16. I HADNT EVEN THOUGHT TO GEOGRAPHY YET! ANCIENT CIV HAS BEEN BAD ENOUGH, LOL
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  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.

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

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  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.

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    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!

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

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

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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.

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  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

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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.

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  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.

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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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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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