homeschool geography
History and Geography

How I’m Teaching Elementary Geography

Geography can be such a delightful and rich subject to teach in homeschool. It can also be overwhelming if you try to do all the things! When I was planning out what I wanted to do for geography in the elementary years, I knew there were three requirements that my plan had to meet:

  1. It had to be simple.
  2. It had to be relaxed, with lots of time to linger on each continent.
  3. It had to be literature-based.

I decided we would take our time exploring one continent each semester, beginning with Africa this fall. I also decided to contain the majority of our geography learning during our bedtime basket–a relaxing and peaceful part of our homeschool day during which we read from a variety of books on a variety of topics just before bed. And, finally, I decided to keep my formula simple and hassle-free: read books, learn countries on the map, learn a few words in a foreign language, and the add occasional sprinkles when inspiration strikes.

Here is how I plan out a relaxed unit study for a continent, to be completed over one semester:

Step 1: Books

Choose enough books to read for 10 minutes, 3 to 5 nights per week during bedtime basket. Collect them from used bookstores, library, Amazon, etc. Clear a space on a shelf to house them all together for easy access. Keep the current book in the bedtime basket.

Step 2: Foreign Languages

Choose 1 – 2 foreign languages spoken on the continent. Learn how to count and say a few words and simple phrases. Teach and review after bedtime basket book most nights of the week.

Step 3: Maps

Find a small laminated map of the continent to use during bedtime basket. Whenever we read a story, we’ll find the location of the story on the map. We will learn 2 – 3 new countries on the map each week, and review all the ones we know 1 – 2 times per week. (We do this simply by pointing to them on the map.)

Extras: Videos, Music, Arts, and Cooking

A couple of times during the semester, we’ll spend a day watching videos, listening to music and looking at art made by the people that live on that continent, and cooking recipes from that continent. No pressure or stress here-just keep it relaxed and fun!

If you’d like to see how I’m applying this plan to our current unit on Africa, please check out the video below:


Here are the books we’re using for our Africa unit:

Africa is Not a Country by Margy Burns Knight

Anna Hibiscus by Atinuke

The Adventures of Spider: West African Folktales by Joyce Cooper Arkhurst

Beatrice’s Goat by Paige McBrier

Jambo Means Hello: Swahili Alphabet Book by Muriel Feelings

Moja Means One: Swahili Counting Book by Muriel Feelings

A is for Africa by Ifeoma Onyefulu 

One Big Family: Sharing Life in an African Village by Ifeoma Onyefulu

Why the Sky is Far Away: A Nigerian Folktale by Mary-Joan Gerson

Big Boy by Tololwa M. Mollel 

Chinye: A West African Folk Tale by Obi Onyefulu

Wangari’s Trees of Peace: A True Story From Africa by Jeanette Winter

Honey…Honey…Lion! by Jan Brett

Bongani’s Day: From Dawn to Dusk in a South African City by Gisele Wulfsohn

Brothers in Hope: The Story of the Lost Boys of Sudan by Mary Williams and R. Gregory Christie


What are you using to teach geography in your homeschool? Please share in the comments!



Get Your FREE Trial Issue of Book Seeds By Blossom & Root!

This FREE issue, inspired by the book The Three Sunflowers by Janet Lucy, includes two weeks of activities including nature study, STEAM, art project, recipe, and exploring language and poetry. Suitable for ages 3 - 8. Grab yours today!

We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit
Previous Post Next Post

You Might Also Like