How the Habit of Observation Enhances Your Child’s Homeschool Geography Studies

How often do you find yourself wondering what just happened?

Maybe you were reading aloud to your children and you stopped to ask for a narration because you realized you weren’t paying attention. You hoped they would fill you in without realizing that you had no idea what just happened in the story.

Or, maybe you were driving around town and suddenly realized you were half way across town, but you didn’t remember actually driving there because you were lost in your thoughts.

How the Habit of Observation Enhances Your Child’s Homeschool Geography Studies

It happens to all of us. We go through the day on autopilot and don’t stop to actually take in our surroundings. We can all benefit from developing the habit of observation, but did you realize that developing this habit will enhance your child’s geography studies?

5 Ways Developing the Habit of Observation Benefits Your Child’s Geography Studies

Notice details during map drill

There are many ways of conducting map drill and we try to incorporate a variety of ways to keep it interesting. One that we particularly enjoy is map tracing. When students are tracing the map, they are forced to pay closer attention to the details. When my daughter was tracing the state of Texas for the second time, she suddenly cried out, “Mom! Did you know Texas has islands?!” She was paying such close attention that she noticed details about the coastline she had not seen before.

How the Habit of Observation Enhances Your Child's Homeschool Geography Studies

We added some variety to our map drill today and traced maps. It is a great way to get them to pay greater attention to the details as they trace the map. Click the link in my profile to read the post or watch the video to learn how to trace maps.

Notice geographical landforms

You can learn geographical landforms through a scavenger hunt, a study of landforms, or on a geography walk. If you are observant, you will find many landforms, on a smaller scale, all around town. One geography walk around our neighborhood yielded seven different landforms. We like taking The Geography Field Guide on our walks and on trips. When we find a landform with which we are unfamiliar, we can look it up.

Notice subtleties about cultures and places

Even though we incorporate living geography books into our studies on a regular basis, this is not the only time we learn about other cultures and places. We have learned a lot about China by listening to the biographies of Gladys Aylward, Eric Liddell, or Isobel Kuhn while driving around town. If we are intentional to listen for details about cultures and landscapes as we read, we can learn a lot without ever scheduling a geography reading.

Notice landmarks around town

One of the first steps in learning to navigate is to notice landmarks around town. Children learn quickly that they are close to their favorite restaurants or stores by noticing landmarks. You can cultivate this observational skill during your errands. Encourage your children to pay attention as you drive and see if they can tell you how to get to their favorite destination.

How the Habit of Observation Enhances Your Child's Homeschool Geography Studies

And today she is teaching her sister how to navigate around town…

Notice the position of the sun

Before playing games to practice the cardinal directions we first learn the cardinal directions by noticing the position of the sun—it rises in the east and sets in the west. Therefore, if it is mid-morning and the sun is on your right, you are facing north. When the girls asked which direction we were traveling while on an errands, I turned the question back to them and asked where the sun was relative to where we were. After they determined this, they were able to figure out which direction we were traveling.

What will you do this week to encourage your children to develop the habit of observation?


About the author

Crystal Wagner believes learning is not confined to a book or “school hours,” but is a lifestyle that positively impacts generations. She helps homeschool parents learn practical ways to simplify homeschool planning, make learning fun, and disciple their children.

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