Skip to content

How we are doing geography

August 30, 2011

But let him be at home in any single region; let him see, with the mind’s eye, the people at their work and at their play, the flowers and fruits in their seasons, the beasts, each in its habitat; and let him see all sympathetically, that is, let him follow the adventures of a traveller; and he knows more, is better furnished with ideas, than if he had learnt all the names on all the maps.–Mason, Home Education

This year I wanted to blend wonderful storytelling with some geography. When I was looking at Ambleside Year One story list I realized we had already read much of it last year (fairy tales, etc), so I decided to branch out around the world.

I read online about using folk tales to teach the primary parts of geography

  • Location
  • Place
  • Human/Environment Interaction
  • Movement
  • Region

We obviously won’t be getting into all the nitty gritty at this stage, but I do ask him to look at the pictures and narrate about the story on some of these areas.

The plan:

We are spending 6 weeks on each continent (except Antarctica) beginning with North America. We will read folk tales from a variety of nations in each continent.  For example, right now we are starting off with Native American folk tales for two weeks then American Tall Tales followed by Caribbean and Mexican/Latin folk tales.

We also are looking at the map of North America with a little flip book I created (details to come).

Here are our current selections for Native American stories:

Coyote : a trickster tale from the American Southwest / told and illustrated by Gerald McDermott.

The first strawberries : a Cherokee story / retold by Joseph Bruchac ; pictures by Anna Vojtech.

The rough-face girl / Rafe Martin ; illustrated by David Shannon. (Cinderella)

Raven : a trickster tale from the Pacific Northwest / told and illustrated by Gerald McDermott.

Fire Race: A Karuk Coyote Tale of How Fire Came to the People by Jonathan London and Lanny Pinola. Illustrated by Sylvia Long.

The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush by Tomie dePaola (we also watched an episode of Reading Rainbow on this book that included a visit to Pueblo, NM and information about Native American cultures).


We really enjoyed each of these stories. We could talk about the importance of animals to the Native American culture as well as typical dress and homes. We also talked about trickster and origin stories as we will encounter these in many other cultures as well.

We are going to visit a local reservation in November for a cultural program. They also hold a PowWow in April that we attended last year.  The kids have a tiny amount of Cherokee blood running through their veins so this was interesting to them to think of it as stories of their history too.

Now we are on to American Tall Tales. I’ll post more soon.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 20, 2011 8:28 am

    What a great idea!


  1. Homeschool Carnival – Harvest Edition | Homeschool Bytes

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: