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Geography loving kids and Geography or History Championship


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My 7th grader is obsessed with geography and cartography.  He spends all his free time drawing maps and learning about historic geography.  Does anyone else have kids into these subjects?  Has anyone participated in the United States Geography Championships or something like it?  Do you have any other suggestions of additional activities?


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Yes! My younger boy pours over maps all day long and loves learning about complex issues that have no right answers. He has decided to major in geography in university. We are in NZ so no championships here.  As for extra activities, I'm not sure this is what you are talking about, but we have put full focus this year into research papers which both he and I have found difficult and fascinating. We are also heading down to the south island this weekend to see the High Country, Braided Rivers, and Damn/canal system he has been writing about. 

Here are the research papers he has done this year (10th grade, so older than your boy). Geography is so big with so many wonderful things to study.  Notice the breadth of locations and topics in this list. We LOVE geography!

Explaining the difference in the timing of the demographic transition between Maori and Europeans in NZ using historical, social, and economic causes.

Explaining how the 2004 Tsunami impacted the social and economics of Ache Indonesia. And explaining how reflection, refraction, diffraction, and interference of the initial wave caused the varying intensities of the Tsunami hitting the countries throughout the Indian Ocean.

Comparing the perspectives of tourism operators, farmers, and environmentalists on the ethics, laws, environment, and economy concerning the greening the the MacKinsey Basin in the South Island.  

Evaluating the sustainability of the hydroelectric damn system in NZ and its impact on the environment and economy of the region.

Evaluating the limitations of economic metrics.

Comparing the economic and social development of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to Botswana and explaining it through differences in history, location, and culture. 

Hope this helps,

Ruth in NZ


Edited by lewelma
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41 minutes ago, C&W'sMum said:

Our boys sound like two peas in a pod!  You have given me great ideas how to translate his love of geography into writing.


The research/writing projects have revolutionized our homeschool.  3 hours each day over an entire year leads to an awful lot of learning. I am considering this kind of project based learning to subsume the traditional silo-ed subjects of English, History, Economics, Government, and Geography. So when it comes time for a transcript, we will have the credits.

Also, you should note that we are doing some projects in physical geography and some in cultural geography.  In addition, we have had different focuses for the different projects: perspectives, interactions, and change. 

Perspectives - cthe greening of the Basin

Change - demographics over time

Interactions - development economics of DRC/Botswana

I am just working my way through the NZ geography curriculum.  There are about 8 different papers per year on offer - so I have about 24 ideas to try.  The curriculum gives you the goals, but then you get to pick the topic/country.  There are exemplars so you can see what people chose, but you can do what ever you want. For the exam based ones, we do them as research papers rather than exam essay style work. We do not use a textbook, we are question driven,and writing focused. Here are some links to get you thinking:

These are the level 1 (10th grade) exams and papers. 



Level 2 (11th grade)



Level 3 (12th grade)




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If you are talking about the Nat Geo Bee, homeschoolers are only allowed to participate if a homeschool association (this is a very loose definition, pretty much any sort of homeschool group would work). The tricky part is that a minimum of 8 privately homeschooled students must be compete. They must reside in the county or surrounding counties in which the assocation exists. Students can be 4th to 8th grade and may not turn 15 before 9/1. The organizer may not be a parent of the participating students 

Locally, it has been near impossible for me the past several years to get enough participation for us to get the 8 minimum students.  

Hope this helps!

Edited by calbear
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I didn't see the history part. The History Bee is much easier to pull off doing as you can qualify as an individual. You just have to do the option of the multiple choice qualifying test versus a school competition bee if the rules didn't change from the last time I looked at them. The website did get signicantly revamped, but it might be worth digging through as their rules are far more accomodating to individuals than the Geo Bee. 

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