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bluejay

Geography and History.

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Hi.  I think my post about this got lost.  I apologize if this is a repeat post.  I've been really busy, too busy to participate in the forums as much as I'd like.

 

I was wondering how you all teach Geography in first grade.  Do you teach it alongside Ancient History?  I thought about doing this, but it seems confusing to the child to be introduced to modern countries, flags and cultures at the same time that he's discovering history.  I'm now leaning toward introducing our eldest to basic political geography first (countries, flags, languages, cultures, basic map work) like in the last two parts of the "Usborne Book of World Geography."  Once he has a grasp of that, we're going to introduce history, so he figures out where and how it all started and how things came to be as they are now.   We will save natural geography like weather, phenomena, etc. for the second year.  How do you folks do it?

 

We will also use the "Evan Moor Beginning Geography" workbook.  Just ordered it.

 

Another issue we have is how to teach U.S. history to make sure the kids meet annual testing requirements.  Are children expected to know about U.S. government and history as early as first grade?  If so, how do we teach history like in WTM?  I'd prefer to just teach ancient history for now.  We live in Washington State.  Our eldest is 6 years old.

 

Any advice would be most welcome!

 

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My daughter (my only child) is in K this year, so I'm not speaking from years of experience or wisdom here ;)

 

This is what we've done/are doing:

 

For geography, we're using Evan Moor Beginning Geography. The first part of it focuses on map skills, then moves into basics like continents and oceans. We may take two years to completely go through this workbook, but I think it's providing a solid foundation for understanding other geography concepts when we get to them.

 

We're studying ancient history now, even though we're only in K. I show her on the globe where different events happened. I say things like, "Today we're going to read about ancient X. It's located here," (point on globe) "in a place that we now call Y. But back then, it was called X." I'm not introducing modern flags, cultures, or languages as part of this, just physical location. My daughter already has a decent understanding that places are different countries, and have different cultures, and are symbolized by different flags because of our lifestyle (diplomatic family that moves to a new country every few years--she understands countries better than American states; from what I can tell, she thinks of each state as a different country), so I don't feel any need to stress that right now.

 

Because we started the history cycle in K, we may take a year off history at some point down the road to focus on cultural geography.

 

I can't speak to testing requirements, as I don't have any state requirements to test and so haven't looked into it. My cover school will require annual testing, but not until third grade.

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Beginning in grade 1, dd was doing the map work associated with SOTW. I don't think she retained a whole lot, but she liked it so we did it anyway. Otherwise, geography has been rather eclectic. I had her memorising famous landmarks. I have had her colour in blank maps as she's been able to identify each country. We've watched a lot of travel shows and random youtube clips. We have worked our way through geography themed Brainbox games, one card per day.

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I wouldn't worry about it being confusing, but I also wouldn't worry about teaching too much of it all at once.

 

Conversations about cities, states/provinces and countries come up regularly around here.  We spent a lot of time around that age trying to master the difference in size.  The idea that no, when we go to visit Grandma we're changing cities, but NOT countries!  It seemed to take a lot of doing to realize that countries contain provinces, provinces contain cities, and moving cities stays inside the same province and the same country.

 

But equally, we couldn't *avoid* those discussions just because our cities, provinces and countries didn't exist in ancient Egypt, you know?  The modern stuff needs to be addressed at the same time, really, because that's what we're living in.

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We just do informal globe studies. My kids ask me about countries on our globe and we Google them and learn about them and their cultures. They are printable crafts from around the world. You can can dishes from around the world also. We have both a US and a World map puzzle. I figure we will do more geography when they are older and can read it themselves. I've heard of people putting a world map on their dining table and covering it with plastic or glass. That would be cool!

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For history, we have watched some videos, read some living history story books, studied explorers and Native Americans (History for Little Pilgrims as a spine) and did some related crafts (made an igloo out of sugar cubes, etc.). This was super easy and very memorable for my child: http://www.amazon.com/Plains-Indians-Punch-Out-Panorama-Paper/dp/0486277410/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1451782639&sr=8-5&keywords=punch+out+native+americans

 

Brain Pop and Brain Pop Junior have some great history videos.

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We use Visits To... from SCM.  It focuses on learning modern countries and cultures.  I have a wide range of ages using it.  My 6yo just points to the country as I say the name, while my older DC write in the names of the countries.  We sometimes add in a Geopuzzle for fun.

 

For our history lessons, we've been using the maps from SOTW.  My DC are really enjoying them.  We also try to locate the places we read about on a world map or in a historical atlas.  

 

 

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Another issue we have is how to teach U.S. history to make sure the kids meet annual testing requirements.  Are children expected to know about U.S. government and history as early as first grade?  If so, how do we teach history like in WTM?  I'd prefer to just teach ancient history for now.  We live in Washington State.  Our eldest is 6 years old.

 

 

A few things:

 

You do know that your child isn't compulsory school age yet, right? Which means that testing is not required yet.

 

When you test, you don't have to submit test scores, so it doesn't matter how your dc does on the test.

 

You can choose tests which are basic skills, e.g., math and English, no science or social studies.

 

You would want your dc to know U.S. history and geography whether they're tested or not.

 

U.S. government questions don't usually turn up until high school level.

 

Personally, although  I understand WTM's four-year cycle and the reasons it is recommended, I love American history too much not to do it with my dc all the time; for children as young as yours, that would include historical literature (fiction as well as non-fiction), field trips, media, and so on. Happily, since we live in the U.S., it's pretty easy to do those things even if you're following WTM. :-)

 

We used a geography program called "Sing Around the World." I still sing the songs when I'm trying to identify a country in Southeast Asia or South America or the Middle East. :-)

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We just do informal globe studies. My kids ask me about countries on our globe and we Google them and learn about them and their cultures. They are printable crafts from around the world. You can can dishes from around the world also. We have both a US and a World map puzzle. I figure we will do more geography when they are older and can read it themselves. I've heard of people putting a world map on their dining table and covering it with plastic or glass. That would be cool!

 

Thanks!  Good ideas, but we don't do a lot of crafts-- it's messy! There is supposed to be a Flags of the World placemat on Amazon.  I wonder how big it is though.  There's  map placemat too, I believe.

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Thank you, everyone!  So good to know that you all are finding different ways to teach geography and history.

 

We are getting a desk globe to help with these subjects.  We also do coloring pages and puzzles.  Another thing, our son likes to study animals.  So I think I'll plan a lesson where he can find different animals around the world.

 

We have family around the world, so the map helps us show how far away this or that relative is from where we are.

 

I'm kinda in a rush now, but I will be sure to check out your ideas!  Thanks!

 

And yes, no compulsory testing yet.  But I'm planning ahead!  Are you from Washington too, Ellie? 

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And yes, no compulsory testing yet.  But I'm planning ahead!  Are you from Washington too, Ellie? 

 

No. :-) But I do have friends there, and the law is easy to read and understand. :-) And also we've had this conversation more than once. :-)

 

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