Geography, as it is traditionally taught, can be a cringe-worthy subject! The memorization of states and regions, facts and facts, can drain the joy out of learning faster than an eight-year-old can spell M-I-S-S-I-S-S-I-P-P-I. But, after going through Home Education again, to understand Charlotte Mason's recommendations from this volume, the idea that geography doesn't have to be tedious and boring was reinforced in my mind.
A few months ago, I wrote about what Charlotte Mason's suggested for playful, outdoor-based geography. We will continue to do that next year, But, we'll also follow her recommendations found later in Home Education.
Like I've mentioned before, I'm choosing to hone in only on the recommendations from her first volume to create our curriculum for our first year of homeschooling. I did this for simplicity's sake. I don't think Charlotte Mason intended for her philosophy to be a set of rules, and that the fact that there are additional recommendations make these less worthy. You can read the rest of my posts in this series here.
"We begin to see the lines we must go upon in teaching geography: for educative purposes, the child must learn such geography, and in such a way, that his mind shall thereby be stored with ideas, his imagination with images; for practical purposes he must learn such geography only as, the nature of his mind considered, he will be able to remember; in other words, he must learn what interests him." Home Education, page 273
Geography is not an area that I feel fondly towards, although I love exploring different countries, learning different languages, and reading books about foreign lands. Thankfully, the recommendations in Home Education for geography appeal to my favorite things about foreign lands, and steer away from the memorization of states, regions, etc.
What she did recommend in this volume is:
Reading several well-written travel guides-"Supposing that between the child's sixth and his ninth year half a dozen well-chosen standard books of travel have been read with him in this way, he has gained distinct ideas of the contours, the productions, and the manners of the people, of every great region of the world; has laid up a store of reliable, valuable knowledge, that will last his lifetime; and besides, has done something to acquire a taste for books and the habit of reading." Home Education, page 276
Maps- "Maps must be carefully used in this type of work,--a sketch-map following the traveler's progress, to be compared finally with a complete map of the region; and the teacher will exact a description of such and such a town, and such and such a district, marked on the map, by way of testing and confirming the child's exact knowledge..." Home Education, page 275
"The child who gets no ideas from considering the map, say of Italy or of Russia, has no knowledge of geography, however many facts about places he may be able to produce. " Home Education, page 278
Read books that feed their imagination- "I know of nothing so good as the old-fashioned World at Home by Mary and Elizabeth Kirby for children between six and seven. As they hear, they wonder, admire, imagine, and can even 'play at' a hundred situations." Home Education, page 276
Observation- "But definitions should come in the way of recording his experiences. Before he is taught what a river is, he must have watched a stream and observed that it flows; and so on with the rest." Home Education, page 277
Geography Curriculum Choices
I've used affiliate links to share these books with you. You can read more about them in my policies.
One thing that Charlotte Mason mentioned that stood out to me is that we have the freedom to skip passages and pages that don't interest young children, or that aren't appropriate for them. She called this "judicious skipping." In this way, books that are geared towards adults aren't "too much" for young children.
These are the travel guides I've chosen:
Baedeker's Travel Guide, China (with judicious skipping)
Like I mentioned in our literature selections, we are reading
Little Pear by Eleanor Frances Latimore (set in China)
The Family Under the Bridge by Natalie Savage Carlson (set in France)
I'm looking forward to learning about these countries right next to my daughter!