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Curriculum-Free Geography? How to Get it Done and Have Fun!

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Not sure how to homeschool geography without the fill-in-the-blank workbook? Bethany’s fun curriculum-free geography ideas will help you tune in to the world around you without ever cracking a dry, dusty textbook.

Written by Bethany Ishee of BethanyIshee.com.

If you’ve homeschooled for a while, you may be starting to wonder if all this curriculum is really necessary. Or maybe life has thrown you a curveball, and new curriculum purchases are on hold for a bit.

Whatever the reason you’re considering going curriculum-free, it can be helpful to view curricula as a tool and not a requirement.

Geography is an excellent subject to try out schooling without curricula.

Curriculum-Free Geography? How to Get it Done and Have Fun!

Diving deep into writing or math without the safety net of a curriculum can feel too daunting. Geography provides a fun, low-stress option for those looking to make that stack of textbooks a little bit shorter.

So how do you homeschool geography without all the memorization and workbooks?

Paying Attention Doesn’t Require a Curriculum

Paying attention seems obvious, yet many people seem to pride themselves on their lack of geographical knowledge. You must almost intentionally ignore the world around you to remain geographically illiterate.

So pay attention, be interested, and share that enthusiasm with your children. Our world is so connected today, and we have opportunities to learn everywhere.

  • Locate Olympic and world sporting event locations
  • Talk to people you meet from other places
  • Visit the ethnic markets in your area
  • Have everyone list all the states and countries they’ve visited
  • List all the sites you would like to visit
  • Plan a road trip

Not a day goes by that you don’t encounter something of geographical note. We’ve got to demonstrate interest and curiosity. It’s hard to get our children interested in something we aren’t interested in ourselves.

Curriculum-Free Geography for Homeschoolers

Explore the World Through Stories

How many lands can you travel to through a good story? It’s impossible to count.

It isn’t challenging to find books that will give you a glimpse into life in another place. When we read A Long Walk to Water, we pulled out an atlas to see where Salva’s journey took him. From Sudan to the United States, his story was frightening and uplifting at the same time.

Nearly any story will take you someplace new. Do a little investigating to make it come to life!

We also enjoy Around the World Stories, which are original audio tales especially enjoyable for younger kids. Each installment is about 30 minutes long, so they are perfect for playing in the car on the way to homeschool activities.

Every story has culture, geography, and history woven throughout, which will have your kids learning while they listen. There is also a parents guide, which will give you ideas for building on the tale or digging deeper.

Why read a dull textbook description when a colorful story can bring a place and its people to life?

If this sounds like something your kids would enjoy, check out my Around the World Stories review.

Curriculum-Free Geography? How to Get it Done and Have Fun!

Homeschooling Geography Can be Fun and Games

Sometimes we take homeschooling a little too seriously, but geography is an excellent subject to cut loose and have a little fun. If you could play a game and learn, why wouldn’t you?

Games and puzzles provide a unique opportunity to learn while also creating memories and fostering family togetherness. It isn’t too difficult to find a few board games that will keep the entire family entertained and expand their geographical knowledge.

A few of our favorites are:

We’ve also found puzzles to be a great addition to our homeschool for many subjects, but geography is one of my favorites. Fitting those puzzles pieces together and seeing states and countries connect is a great way to make geography lessons tangible. We often put together our U.S. map puzzle or world map puzzle to get a better look at where everything sits.

Another fun idea is to participate in the Journey North Mystery Class. Never heard of it? It’s a global game of hide-and-seek that uses latitude, longitude, and universal time to discover mystery sites around the world. We’ve had such fun with this project, and we learn something new every year.

Don’t worry and get overwhelmed by all the information provided. It does seem complicated at first. It took me several years to finally take the leap. To make it easier for you, I’ve published two blog posts to outline everything you need to know and provide some helpful resources. Just dive right in; it’s a lot of fun.

So don’t be afraid to call off regular lessons for a little geography gameschooling. Games and puzzles are the makings of homeschool memories.

Curriculum-Free Geography for Homeschoolers

Geography Can Be Learned Curriculum-Free

If you want to become less dependant on curriculum in your homeschool, geography is the perfect place to start. If you live in this world and take notice, you can’t help but learn about all its amazing places along the way.

So don’t be afraid to drop the mapping skills workbook and plan a trip, or maybe forget the state capital flashcards and do a puzzle.

Geography is a subject that can be so much fun if we embrace the freedom of homeschooling. What ideas do you have for making geography fun and relevant?

Follow my Pinterest geography board for more geography ideas to add to your homeschool.

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Bethany Ishee is the mom of six, always-homeschooled, children, who one day realized she'd lost herself in the process, probably under a pile of laundry. Her eclectic style of homeschooling draws upon Classical to Unschooling and everything in between.  While homeschooling her children and writing about learning outside of school, she tries to find time to read a book, drink coffee, and pay the bills. Find Bethany at BethanyIshee.com or on Facebook.

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  1. I’d also recommend checking out Postcrossing. It’s a website that allows to you share and receive postcards from members around the world. For every postcard you send, you’ll receive one in return. Once you receive a postcard, just look up where it came from. You also get tidbits of culture from the postcard or what’s written on it. And it’s a chance to get fun mail once in a while. If you’re interested, the website is postcrossing.com. It’s free to join and participate – you only need to pay for the postcards and stamps. Send as many or as few as you want.

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