Crimea and Malaysia are all over the news lately. Can your kids find these places on a map? Can you? Studies show that Americans–young adults in particular–are geographically illiterate. Fifty percent of 18 to 24 year olds can’t locate New York. These statistics though embarrassing, aren’t meant to shame—but rather inspire everyone to sit down and get to know the world we live in.
Like any other course of study, it’s best to break geography down into smaller parts. Start early with the kids but remember it is never too late for anyone to learn. States and their capitals can be a good starting point for everyone. Keep it fun, and make it a family affair. World puzzles are a way to spend time together and start a discussion.
Planning a trip? Be sure to bring out maps and have the kids help plan the routes. How many states have they been to? What’s the best way to drive across the US?
Be sure to tie geography lessons into whatever subjects kids are working on in school. Learning math? Make sure they can find Greece and Egypt on a map, then talk about Archimedes and Euclid and their advancements to the subject. Literature, Art, Science all have ties to geography and when we point them out, we create a visual and lasting lesson. Having a sense of where we are in the world; where we come from, is crucial to critical thinking. Not to mention never having to stop and ask for directions again.