With our oldest stepping into Classical Conversations Challenge A this year, I may seem a bit obsessed with geography, but it’s for good reason. I’ve realized how challenging the geography (debate) strand can be.
Result: I’m starting to slowly equip our current 4th grader for it.
After asking our 9-year-old to trace South America daily for a few weeks, I’ve found the value in simply tracing maps to gain familiarity of world geography.
Aside from blob maps, map-drawing has seemed a bit elusive for him in the past, as he’s not much of a spatial reasoner. However, after just a few weeks of map tracing, he has memorized nearly half of South America (i.e., he can draw and label nearly half the countries freehand from memory). The surprising thing? He is loving it!
And aren’t we seeking to cultivate a love of learning?
We are taking it slowly, working through South America and transitioning to Africa later this semester. For those in Foundations, you might want to start with Africa at this point and transition to South America. Either way, I have a freebie for you, thanks to special permission granted from Daniel Dalet of d-maps.com. I’ve put together a simple atlas of maps that are easy to use with tracing paper. I’ve also included a map-tracing geography plan in the form of a loop schedule, the timing of which you can adjust for your own family’s needs or wishes.
My goal with this is not to produce mastery of world geography before Challenge, but rather to provide familiarity with the continents and countries to lessen the load when a student formally tackles memorization of the world. South America is one of the simplest continents to start with, so we’re starting there and working our way casually around the globe for the next two-three years using the maps below. My hope is that the daily exposure to world geography will provide him with familiarity that will help him later down the road when he is officially memorizing the world.
Care to join us? Let us know if you decide to try it out!