It took a second to regain my composure and it also took a little bit of mental strength to keep from bad-mouthing the school out loud. How could a 12-year-old not know that Canada is an entire country?! This moment cemented the fact that public schools are failing our children and I could do a better job teaching them myself.
There was a quote I read which said something like "If you aren't qualified to teach your children at home with the knowledge you received from public school, why would you send them to the same institution that failed you?"
It was a lot more succinct and elegant, but that's the gist of it. As a child, public school definitely failed me. I struggled through all of middle and high school with no help from my teachers. I find myself learning right along with my daughter each and every day, which I think is pretty cool!
Anywho, we are currently taking baby steps with Geography. I have a few different curriculums (or is it "curriculi," or "curriculume?" LOL) but have found the most effective to be something I just made up off the top of my head. With this way of learning, the facts and locations of countries are still fixed in Mari's head months and months later.
Here's what we do:
I pull up this photo of the world and Mari chooses a country she wants to learn about, then I have her draw the country and its flag at the top of her paper. Underneath her drawings, I'll write out about 10 questions for her to answer. Things like:
"Which hemisphere is your country located in?"
"Name 3 or more countries that border your country."
"What language do they speak?"
"Name four items your country imports and exports."
"When was the last war your country fought? Who were they at war with and why?"
"Who are your country's allies?"
"Are there any celebrities from your country?"
"What is the capital of your country and where is it located? (North, South, East, West?)"
Once she's done answering the questions, we go to YouTube and I will find a few videos that talk about the country's food (because Mari loves Food Network,) their people, fun facts, geographical information like climate, etc.
Our favorite Geography channel is Geography Now! because they discuss everything from the country's political climate to racial demographics, animal and plant life and so much more. Sadly, they record their videos in alphabetical order and they are somewhere in the Gs, I think. So we have to fend for ourselves when Mari wants to learn about Venezuela or Nigeria.
She is learning so much about the world this way... and so am I! And the best part is, she remembers it! She still tells people about Santa's mailbox in Greenland. We keep a little notebook filled with all of her Geography papers. She's pretty proud of them!
What are you all doing for Geography?