Maggie Hogan, author of Hands-On Geography, and Cindy Wiggers of Geography Matters have combined their wisdom and experience to put together this resource book for teaching geography to children in kindergarten through twelfth grade. The new Fourth Edition (2018) includes free online access to 180 printable pages that are essential for the activities in the book.
It might take a bit of time to explore the wealth of options found here, but there's a shortcut on page ix. A one-page "Yearly Guide" shows on a chart which pages to use with five different age groups over a school year. Younger students will do much less than older students. The chart also schedules activities so that there is little overlap from year to year. You might go through the book with the same student two or three times, shifting to other activities each year while reviewing or going further in depth on basic information.
The first chapter, “Getting Started,” suggests basic teaching methods, describes notebooks that students might create, and recommends basic supplies. Chapter 2 is a primer on geography. It covers basic terminology and concepts, including the five themes of geography identified by the national standards for geography: location, place, relationships, movement, and regions. Hogan and Wiggers show you how to incorporate the five themes into your studies. Next is a chapter on maps: different types, how to use them, map games, and more. Chapters 4 and 5 focus on fun, games, and food as tools for teaching and enjoying geography. Here’s where you can learn about letterboxing, geocaching, and trucker buddies—all of which sound like great fun. All this is in just the first of five chapters!
Chapters 6 through 10 teach parents how to teach geography through other subject areas. This is especially important since Hogan and Wiggers are unit study fans and see the inclusion of geography as an important element of such studies. To help you get into unit studies, the authors include two complete unit studies, one on volcanoes and one on the book Hans Brinker or the Silver Skates. Chapter 11 adds tips on teaching geography using the internet. Updated in 2018, this chapter has seven pages of specific recommendations including YouTube channels, reference sites, and many sites listed under geography, history, and science.
Chapters 12 through 14 present what most people think of as the nuts and bolts of geography: mapwork and study of geographical features, climate, vegetation, natural resources, etc. Chapters 13 and 14 both cover the continents but with different assignments suitable to each level. Many of the printable pages that you access online have the maps and specific assignments for these two chapters. Chapter 14 includes sets of questions for students to answer plus ten essay questions from which teens can choose (or a parent can assign) two or three.
Chapter 15 is all about timelines. It explains why to use them and how to create them. Printable pages for the timeline itself, timeline figures, and timeline games are included. An especially fun feature is the “Who Am I?” game for which you use some of the printable pages to create game cards.
In addition to resources for timelines and map work, the printable pages (online) include record keeping pages plus activity sheets for games, weather reports, research, and other activities.
The appendix includes still more useful resources. There are two lists for the timeline figures (on printable pages), one arranged alphabetically and the other chronologically. These lists should help you easily identify appropriate images as students create their timelines. Answer keys are included for the question sets in Chapter 14, and there is a geography glossary, a book index, and an index to the digital content.
While The Ultimate Geography and Timeline Guide requires more work on the part of parents, it provides a flexible, customizable way to teach geography to all ages that should be both interesting and enjoyable for students.