Geography & Geology - Where to Go and What to Find
April 18, 2018
Hey Mama,

What do you think of when you hear the words “geography” or “geology”? Maps. Rocks. Or maybe TERROR at the idea that you’ll have to teach these subjects someday? (grin) Be at peace, Mama. There is a greater purpose behind these ominous subjects. They remind us that we serve a God of order, who changes not and has a flawless plan for absolutely everything—perfectly seen in geography and geology.

Still not convinced of your abilities to teach? You can do this. Yes! See what the experts have to say in these articles from The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine:


And remember, Mama . . .

John 14:27 speaks of peace. Christ gives us peace, not the kind the world has to offer but something far better, much stronger. Did you know His ways are higher than ours? We think we see everything that is before us, but He knows what is around the next corner. If only you could see around that corner . . . if only you could see what He can . . .

The good news is, He SEES. Not only does He see, He gives us peace because He cares—a peace the world can't even understand.

Don't focus on what's heavy right now, Mama. And I know it feels heavy. Set your eyes on Christ, His perfect peace, and KNOW in your heart (because it's true) that He works all things for good for those who love Him (read Romans 8). Your “around the next corner” is coming. Just wait . . . He will RIGHT everything. Every wrong. And even the things already right will become even sweeter. He is our joy! And He is just.

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” -John 14:27

Eyes on Christ. Keep Him ever before you. Guess what, Mama? His hand is (still) on your head today. 

Love, gena
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Sarah Wall
Geography and geology are sometimes confusing. But they are two separate (though related) studies of the earth. And they each require a slightly different approach to teaching and learning about them. 

What Are They?

Geography is the study of the people, places, and things on the surface of the earth. Literally, geography means “earth drawing” or “earth writing.” So geography is the study of the writing on the earth—the maps. 

Geology means the study of the earth. It’s also known as Earth Science, and usually covers topics such as the rock cycle, earthquakes and volcanoes, erosion and weathering, and rock classification. 

Both geography and geology will overlap slightly because you can study landforms, biomes, and climate regions while studying both subjects. There’s a slightly different approach to each—geography will study landforms and climate regions by where they are and what the boundaries are; whereas, geology will study landforms and climate regions by the factors that create the different features. 

Geography Studies

There are plenty of ways to easily study geography. You can get yourself a workbook and start memorizing place names and relative locations. There are geography “bees,” similar to a spelling bee, where students compete on geography trivia, and there are more hands-on ways to tackle geography. 

My kids’ personal favorite is what we call “the map ride.” I give one of my kids a road map to our local area and tell them they are the navigator. They get to tell me where I’m driving. On one trip, we discovered a local road that happened to be the same trail that the Canadian militias used in the War of 1812. We stopped and checked out cemeteries that were related to the War and read the plaques. 

Geology Studies

If you’re not into science experiments with large supply lists, this is the science for you. Geology lets you study rock collections, look for fossils, play in the sand, or try the classic volcano model for the science fair. You can learn history and science at the same time by studying famous earthquakes or volcanic eruptions. Watch Mt. St. Helen’s erupt on YouTube. Or if you’ve got a petroglyph park near you, you can look at the rock formations, too. 

Don’t be intimidated by Earth Science. Make it fun, and go geocaching! 
Sarah is a single parent of 6, from infancy to teenager, including two special needs children. She and her princesses live in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, where they enjoy homeschooling, playing, and growing together as a family. She runs ,  a virtual business support agency from home and helps other women start businesses. Sarah blogs at   and you can find her on Facebook or Twitter  @RaisingRoyals , or on Instagram or Pinterest  @xerarose. 
I’m all about “rocks and going places.” Now, I don’t know an Igneous from a Nimbus (which might be a cloud), but I’ve collected all kinds of rocks from loads of places I’ve visited with my family.

Join me on a little field trip to my “travel room.” It’s the spare room in our home, adorned with a giant map of the USA made from license plates, which houses all the rocks, soil samples, and other travel reminders of adventures taken with my family.

On one shelf are rocks from Hawaii, Lookout Mountain, Gravity Hill, and Prince Edward Island. I have sand from two dozen beaches, as well as dirt from the Mojave Desert, the Alamo, the Hollywood sign in CA, Valley Forge, Washington’s Crossing, and loads of other places. And these aren’t geological in nature, but I have water from Niagara Falls, Plum Creek (Think Little House on the Prairie), and the Like Like Waterfall in Oahu. I have fishing markers from Prince Edward Island as well as Hawaii, an old board from the dumpster at Duck Commander, and leaves from a magnolia that shades Walt Disney’s grave.

Each sample takes me back to a time when I scooped up the sample with my children and reminds me of those fleeting, precious adventures that we enjoyed together. They are my treasures and some of the few possessions that I care two-whits about. In fact, if the house were to catch fire and everyone was safe and sound, they would be some of the items I would try desperately to save.

They’re all easy to collect and help catalogue a lifetime of family travel. And they don’t have to be taken from distant, exotic places. I have rocks from friends’ yards and putt-putt courses that remind me of a fun time we had with fun people.

So let me encourage you to plan a little trip somewhere this spring or summer . . . but more importantly, to collect a rock, a pinecone, or some soil as a reminder of a wonderful place with a wonderful family.
Be real . . . and go fill up an empty water bottle,

One of my proudest moments was also one of my most embarrassing. One of our children was in the state finals of the National Geographic Bee. The moderator turned to our son and asked the next question. My heart sank. I know a lot of geography, but I had no idea of the answer. I heard our son give his answer and when the moderator called out, “Correct!” I nearly fell over.

The teacher next to me was just as amazed. “What school is that boy from?” she asked.

I ruffled up my feathers and said, “Oh, he’s mine. We homeschool.”

Her jaw dropped. “What geography curriculum do you use?” she asked.

Suddenly, I had to go to the bathroom. 

I was so embarrassed! I had bought a well-thought-of geography curriculum that year, but life happened, and we hadn’t actually done much of it. How on earth did he know the answer, you might ask? I was wondering the same thing; so I asked him.

“You know last week when you told me to stop reading and finish my schoolwork?” he said. “Well, I was reading a G.A. Henty novel, and it happened right on that plain they were asking about!” Oh. Well. Oops.

It was embarrassing all around, but it points out some important things about learning geography:

Geography is most easily learned in context. There are some great geography curricula out there, but the first and most important purchase you should make is a couple of nice big maps—one of the world and one of your nation. Then when places come up in your studies and reading, point them out on the map. Talk about them. The stories make the places come alive and will help you remember better, too.

There’s no substitute for curiosity and a love of learning. When we give our kids context through great stories, field trips, and hands-on activities, we encourage them to love learning. Kids that love learning will end up with a great education despite all odds. It’s what makes them read good books even when they’re shirking their schoolwork. Ha!

Geology is the same way. Put some rocks in a kid’s hands, and show him how to identify them, and he’ll chase the knowledge right down himself. Our friends at Lighthouse Educational and Northwest Treasures have lots of stuff to help you here.

Don’t be afraid to put the textbooks down and do what it takes to feed your kids’ curiosity. When they love to learn, they’ll learn, sometimes despite you. You know, I’ll take that kind of embarrassment any day of the week!

Your friend, 
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Danika Cooley
One of my very favorite memories with our younger two children is the crazy field trip we took by car through the Western United States. Our boys helped me plan the trip armed with maps and the internet, and then they tracked our progress in a giant package of maps I printed out for them (and for us . . . there was no internet for much of our trip).

In seventeen days, we traveled through fourteen states and the Navajo Nation. We went to ten national parks and monuments, two science museums, a ghost town, and three large cities. We saw a painted desert, mountains, tar pits, geysers, paint pots, enormous caverns, petrified trees, red rock arches and pinnacles, and the Grand Canyon. My boys experienced roaring waterfalls, huge rivers, and the California beach—which is altogether different from the beaches further north. There were dinosaur bones and wooly mammoth skeletons. We saw living wolves, elk, bison, and thousands of bats. We climbed inside Native American cliff dwellings, underground kivas, and big brick castles.

I will never forget the fun we had—my husband and I driving through the night and our family hiking and discovering during the day. My boys will also remember forever what they learned about the geography, history, and geology of the Western United States.

We learn about geography through maps, puzzles, games, and through praying for the nations. Our boys study geology facts in science class and in books and videos about the earth.

I've found, though, that one of the best ways we've been able to really help our kids understand geography and geology is to really get out and explore the earth the Lord has made. We're not in a position to take our kids around the world, but we really don't have to. We can take a day trip to someplace just a little different from where we live now, and our boys can take in the wonderful diversity of God's Creation. It helps expand their horizons and their knowledge a little at a time.

Let your kids plan a short trip somewhere new, and see what kind of wonderful things you learn along the way.

Grab your free My Field Trip and Travel Journal --it's a $15 value, and it's free only until May 15, 2018. Your kids can keep a permanent record of their trips while working on their map and writing skills!

Danika Cooley is an author and homeschool mother of four. Her passion is equipping parents to teach Scripture and Christian history to their families. You can learn more about Danika's popular  Bible Road Trip™  curriculum   and teen historical novel  When Lightning Struck!: The Story of Martin Luther   at  Thinking Kids .

You'll find hundreds of  subscriber gifts  there, too!
Pat Knepley’s warmth and engaging personality captures the attention of children, draws them into the learning process, and leads them through a successful drawing experience in every lesson.

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We’ve been given stewardship by God of this planet that we live on. Help your children learn more about our amazing world with the geography and geology courses on Our Geology course taught by Patrick Nurre begins with a study of the Creation and builds to include rock-forming minerals, identifying rocks by their minerals, types of rocks, and minerals and their families. It continues with a study of several national parks in the United States. Mr. Nurre helps students to see the connection between the Genesis account of Creation and the evidence that is found in Yellowstone National Park that supports the Biblical view. He moves on, in future lessons, to cover more than a dozen additional parks. 

Along with geology, your students can also learn from a dozen geography courses that explore Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the Holy Land, the United States, and more! 

If you haven’t yet joined, come give us a try. You can try the entire site for 30 days for $5! If you or someone you know would be interested in teaching or writing for us, let us know. You can email me at We look forward to serving you and your family! 

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