Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Watching Geography

This year our geography studies are mostly visual. We've used various geography programs though the years, including the Trail Guides by Geography Matters. What I'd really like for my kids to do, though, is to make the connections between countries on the map (I really want them to memorize all the countries) and the various aspects of countries and their people that raise a spot on a flat map to an actual place in the world.

I wish we could travel. Having lived in Germany and traveled in Europe, I know that there is no better way to learn about our world than to touch it. But we don't have the finances to travel at this point in our lives. I hope we will before our younger kids head off to college.

So for now, we are watching our way through the world. Netflix is an amazing resource. I've added dozens of programs, including lots of IMAX, National Geographic, and PBS shows. I'd like to watch at least one or two programs each week, although we seem to average more like an hour each week. The kids really enjoy most of the programs, especially the IMAX ones.

The biggest problem with "watching geography" is that I want to travel. Desperately. My parents were avid travelers. They have been on repeated visits to several countries in South America, much of Europe, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Japan, and of course most of the U.S. and lots of Canada.

The photo above is of my parents nearly 20 years ago, when they spent 6 months in Australia. They would have been in their mid-60s then.

I was blessed to get to go with my parents to Germany when I was a junior in high school. We traveled extensively throughout Europe during those seven months. What an education!

That's my Dad and me at the Palace of Fontainebleau in France. I think of that time as the year I homeschooled myself, and that experience has proven to be invaluable to me in my life on so many different levels.

Someday, I hope, we can take a few trips with our kids beyond the borders of the U.S. And for that matter, throughout the U.S. Until then, I am grateful for Netflix and the global glimpses it offers.

How do you handle geography? Do you have any fabulous movie/program suggestions?

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  1. Netflix is a great idea! Although I agree with you, traveling yourself is the best way to learn.

    Thanks for visiting my blog :)

  2. We have just been doing Expedition Earth from www.confessionsofahomeschooler.com. But I like your idea of watching some videos, etc...I might start working that in there a bit too. The national geographic kid website has some very short clips on there.

  3. We're traveling out to DC this spring making many stops along the way. Have planned and anticipated this trip with the kids for a few years. Europe next? If not, Netflix sounds like a good substitute. Thanks for the tip!

  4. We enjoy Rick Steves and Pierre Brouwers (French language) videos from the library. IMAX films are available at the library as well.

    As you pointed out, watching geography is a reasonable substitute for travelling. Not great, but reasonable. LOL

    Annie Kate, dropping by from the Carnival of HS.

  5. One of my dreams is to travel with my family, too. I would love to hop in an RV and travel around the U.S. and also take a tour around Europe, too. I really hope we get to do this before my oldest leaves home. Only 8 years to make it happen, but I'm still holding out hope... :)

    Love your photos!


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