Teaching Textbooks

Antarctica Geography Printables – Free Printables

Antarctica mini unit study

Our recent geography study has taken us to Antarctica and that involved some more updated printables for Kaleb. While Antarctica isn’t a country and doesn’t have a government per se, these were helpful to us in our learning. Below too you will find additional helps for learning tools, lesson plans, and a book unit from other moms to help you out as well. 

Antarctica homeschool printables

The Antarctica Geography Printables include the following worksheets:

  • an Antarctica mapping sheet {map mountains, oceans, ice shelves, science station, and other geographical information}
  • an Antarctica factsheet to write down information about Antarctica including current population, climate, type of government, and more.
  • an Antarctica flag coloring page (both unofficial and proposed)
  • an Antarctica flag information sheet and notebooking page

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Antarctica geography printables from Homeschool Creations_edited-1

We’ve been using the below books to help us fill in the information blanks with our pages: 



 

 

 

Here are a few helpful sites to look at in your Antarctica studies:

More Geography Resources

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FREE Continent Fact Files

Don’t miss these FREE geography printables listed by continent…

world flag cards for matching free homeschool geography resources 10 tools for teaching geography - hands on ways to incorporate geography learning

Click on one of the globes below to search for geography resources by continent. Each page has downloads for flag coloring and information pages, mapping pages, and links to blog post full of lesson plans and additional information.

Africa   Asia   Australia
Europe    North America    South America
 

We also highly recommend taking part in a Little Passports subscription! Not sure which adventure to choose for your explorer? Check out these Little Passports website for more information. 

Australia Geography Printables – Free Printables

australia-geography-printables

In our geography studies this year, I have been updating and adding to our printable collection. Today I have a few new and updated printables to share with you based on the country of Australia. If you are working on a geography unit for Australia, these printables will be a fun addition to your learning. Don’t forget to check below too. There are links to several helpful art projects and lesson plans from other homeschool moms to help you out as well.

Australia Mapping Page, Country Factsheet, and Flag Printables

Flag of Australia printable

The Australia Geography Printables include the following worksheets:

  • an Australian mapping sheet {map rivers, countries, mountains, and other geographical information}
  • an Australian country factsheet to write down information about Australia including when it became a country, current population, climate, type of government, and more
  • an Australia flag coloring page
  • an Australian flag information sheet and notebooking page

 

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Download button

 

We’ve been using the below books to help us fill in the information blanks with our pages: 


 

 

 

More Geography Resources

Here are a few helpful sites to look at in your Australia studies:

Don’t miss these FREE geography printables listed by continent…

continent-fact-files-and-flash-cards-from-homeschool-creations_edited-1

 

world flag cards for matching free homeschool geography resources 10 tools for teaching geography - hands on ways to incorporate geography learning

Click on one of the globes below to search for geography resources by continent. Each page has downloads for flag coloring and information pages, mapping pages, and links to blog post full of lesson plans and additional information.

Africa   Asia   Australia
Europe    North America    South America
 

We also highly recommend taking part in a Little Passports subscription! Not sure which adventure to choose for your explorer? Check out these Little Passports website for more information. 

Continents Fact Files Printable – Geography Printables

continent-fact-files-and-flash-cards-from-homeschool-creations_edited-1 

This year Kaleb and I have been wandering around the world via books, Little Passports, and various other things we come across in our travels. We have a slew of resources and to go along with a few of our books, I put together some printables where we could track important information related to the countries. 

continent-fact-files-printables-from-homeschool-creations_edited-1

 

There are several pages for each continent: a blank continent image, one showing countries/territories within the continent, and another labeling each of the countries/territories within the continent (Antarctica only has one page). 

All continent fact pages were designed using the traditional Montessori colors: Africa (green), Antarctica (white), Asia (yellow), Australia (brown), Europe (red), North America (orange),  and South America (pink). 

Each page has room to record the following information and also shows where that continent is in comparison to other continents: 

  • Size/Area
  • Number of Countries
  • Population
  • Highest Point
  • Place with Most People
  • Climate
  • Top Landmarks
  • Natural Resources
  • Nearby Oceans

We’ve been using the below books to help us fill in the information blanks on each continent fact file: 


 

simple-continent-cards-from-homeschool-creations

The set also has seven half-sheet printables we recommend printing off onto cardstock and laminating. Use them as larger flash cards to show the various country/territory divisions on the continents. We have a copy in each of our continent boxes and will put them on the wall above our map when we are studying the continent. 

We also highly recommend taking part in a Little Passports subscription! Not sure which adventure to choose for your explorer? Check out these Little Passports blog posts and learn more about their four subscription options:

Download the Continent Fact Files & Continent Cards

Your family is more than welcome to download the 23 page Continent Fact Files as well – and we hope they are a help to you!

 Download button

 

More Geography Resources

 

world flag cards for matching free homeschool geography resources 10 tools for teaching geography - hands on ways to incorporate geography learning


Click on one of the globe to search for geography resources by continent. Each page has downloads for flag coloring and information pages, mapping pages, and links to blog post full of lesson plans and additional information.

Africa   Asia   Australia
Europe    North America    South America
 

10 Tools for Teaching Geography & Exploring the World

10 tools for teaching geography - hands on ways to incorporate geography learning

We are barely finished with this school year, and over the last few weeks (ok, months) I’ve been piecing together what we will be doing during the upcoming school year. One of my initial plans for this past year was to work on world geography with the boys. Unfortunately, I went a little overboard in my mind and it was put to the side – mainly because I wanted to reinvent the wheel and put together a billion ideas (which were all good) into creating our own curriculum. 


Rather than running myself ragged – and truthfully in an effort to keep it more simple – I’ve decided to use something that is already pre-planned – Elementary Geography and Cultures from Masterbooks. It’s a curriculum I’ve been eyeing for quite some time (thanks to my friend Carisa) and includes the books Passport to the World and the Children’s Atlas of God’s World .  Yes, I will likely end up reworking some of my past geography printables and also create a few additional go-alongs for what we are doing, BUT I am so very excited about this one year world geography plan. 

Now, while having a curriculum framework to follow is great, the most effective way to teach our kids geography is through the hands-on tools that go along with ANY curriculum. Here are 10 tools for teaching geography – all things our family has used (and will use again) to keep learning fun.

10 Tools for Teaching Geography

10 tools for teaching geography and exploring the world

1 // Read Lots of Literature (and then some more)

One of the things we enjoyed the most our first geography go-round were the many books that are available based on the countries we studied. From missionaries that served in the country to picture books about artists or scientists, there is an amazing abundance of books to read and learn through. If you’d like to see the books we read through before, check out this page and click on the continent link to see favorites by country. 

2 // Play and Learn Music

Music can be one of the best tools to use for children to memorize things. Our girls used Geography Songs and we’ll use that again for learning countries, bodies of water, and continents.

Also spend time listening to composers who were born in the different countries or music that is native to the geographical areas. Take a trip to your library and check out a few CDs or have fun browsing YouTube to see traditional dances. 

3 // Create Art

Amazon Animal Chalk Pastel-17

Learn about artists native to the country you are studying or special art styles that are based in a geographical region.  When we were studying the Amazon, we used chalk pastels to draw frogs, toucans, and other animals from the rainforest. They were some of our favorite drawings we’ve done! 

4 // Create Continent Boxes

Put aside and group all of the hands-on materials you collect into boxes (or bags) based on countries or continents. Over the years we’ve collected many fun things (some from our subscription to Little Passports) and also some new materials (I am absolutely in love with TOOBS and their animals and landmark figures). I’ve purchased seven photo storage boxes to keep all our materials in one spot. (Thanks to Counting Coconuts for the idea.)

5 // Learn about the Animals

Include a little science learning into each geographical area you study by looking at animals that are native to to that country. Our girls loved learning about kangaroos and koalas when we studies Australia, peacocks when we learned about India – and there are so many more. Learn about their habits, diet, and classification. We often created lapbooks and those stayed on our shelves to review for years to come.

6 // Eat and Cook a Special Meal Together

 

Cooking is not only a life skill for kids to learn, but it can be a memorable way to learn about a country. Depending on the country you are studying, pick a recipe or create a meal that would be native to that country (granted Antarctica might be a little hard…), but snow cones might be a favorite! Every now and then we would treat the kids to a special meal out if we had a great restaurant in town, because sometimes the cultural experience is equally (or even more) fun. If Pinterest is too overwhelming, the book Eat Your Way Around the World is full of recipes to try.

 

7 // Put a Puzzle Together

While you are reading out loud or keeping fidgeting kids busy, pull out a puzzle and work on it together. We have all of the GeoPuzzles and absolutely LOVE them. Rather than being regular shaped puzzle pieces, each piece is shaped like the countries within that continent. 

8 // Make Lego Creations

Using Legos in the Classroom

Legos may never leave our home. Our kids have a plethora of them, and we will definitely be incorporating them into our geography time filling out blank outline maps, building famous landmarks…or getting a good laugh in when the kids depict the most hilarious historical scenes with LEGOs. (Sometimes you just have to laugh even though beheading are no laughing matter.)

9 // Draw Through the Countries

Have a child that loves to draw? Pull out the Draw Write Now series and let your kids illustrate their way around the world. Use the Draw and Journal pages to draw a picture of an animal or landmark in that country and write down a few facts to go along. Our kids love to draw while I’m teaching – and it can help them remember facts better as well. Geography Through Art is another great book that includes art projects using different mediums – from all around the world.  

10 // Use Geography Printables

free geography resources

If you know me well, you’ll know that I love creating printables that help our kids in the learning process. Over the years we have used a variety of printables, both ones I’ve pulled together and ones from other blogging friends. Here are a few free geography resources

 

Those are a few of the ways we incorporate fun into our geography studies – how has your family expanded geography learning together? 

 


Home Hydroponics Experiments

Several months ago our oldest worked on a fun project to go along with one of the chapters in her  North Star Geography curriculum. We’ve mentioned several times that this class was one of her favorite classes last year, particularly because it included many hands-on activities as a part of the curriculum.

simple home hydroponics experiements using plastic bins, plastic bottles, and yarn to feed plants



The second part of the year  involved learning about agriculture and building a home hydroponics system (lesson 12). Laurianna decided to build two different types of hydroponic systems as part of her hands-on projects, one fairly simple system that used an empty soda bottle with yarn (to absorb the water from the bottom of the bottle) and another more elaborate system that involved some help for her dad to cut the lid of the bin she used. You can see the various ideas for home hydroponics systems here that she gathered while looking for systems to build.

Soda Bottle Hydroponic System

soda bottle hydroponics system using inverted soda bottle with yarn to absorb water and feed the growing plant-1

After looking through the different ideas online, Laurianna started with a simple soda bottle hydroponic system based on this pin. The pieces needed to get started were very easy to find:

  • an empty soda bottle
  • yarn
  • potting soil
  • seed or seedling
  • water

Laurianna cut the small soda bottle and inverted the top section into the lower section. She poked several holes through the cap of the bottle and threaded yarn through the holes, making sure they were long enough to be immersed in the water. The top part of the bottle was filled with potting soil and her seedling.

On the side of the bottle you may notice a blue line. This was her water gauge line to make sure the water was at a high enough level for the yarn to absorb the water. If it was below the line too much, the yarn had difficulty feeding the plant.

This was a super-easy system to implement and she was able to work on it independently and complete in a fairly short time frame as well. The hardest part for us was finding a good window with light to keep the plant growing well because many of our window sills are not quite wide enough to perch the bottle without the danger of someone knocking it off and making a huge mess.

Plastic Bin Home Hydroponic System

plastic bin hydroponics system using inverted soda bottles with yarn to absorb water and feed the growing plant-1

Based on an idea from this pin, Laurianna built a larger hydroponics system in a plastic bin using the following items:

  • a 10 gallon plastic bin with lid
  • 3 empty soda bottles (cut in half)
  • yarn
  • potting soil
  • 6 pepper plants
  • air filter our old fish tank
  • water

example of inverted soda bottle hydroponics system - bottle drops into lid of plastic bin-1

above you can see the yarn that she fed out through holes in the lid

My husband, Rick, helped Laurianna cut the holes in the plastic lid of the bin because it was a little tricky (and we also wanted to be sure all of her fingers and appendages were still in place at the end of the project. Laurianna then cut each soda bottle in half and poked holes in the caps of the tops of the bottle or holes in the bottoms of the bottles to thread yarn through (similar to this idea here). Once the yarn was threaded through, she filled the bottle half with potting soil and planted a seedling in the bottle.

plastic bin home hydroponics project - soda bottles are dropped into the top of plastic bin and fed with water from the bin-1

Water was added to the base of the bin and plant bottles were placed into the six holes of the bin lid. Laurianna measure to see how high the water needed to be in the bin so the yarn coming from the bottle bases would touch and absorb the water. At least half of the yarn needed to be in the water or it wouldn’t absorb well.

home hydroponics project using plastic bin and soda bottles - North Star Geography activity-1

The fish tank filter was added about a week after she started the experiment because the yarn wasn’t being oxygenated enough. To add the filter, she cut a small hole in the side of the bin and fed the filter through the side of the bin. That helped tremendously (she was hoping to get by without needing it).

The plastic bin hydroponics system was definitely more complicated to put together (although complicated is fine in her book), and it yielded some great a results. All six of the plants began to thrive once the water filter was added to the bin and were later transferred to our garden when they were budding and large enough to grow peppers. Since their transfer to the garden they have been producing like crazy and Laurianna is now in habanero and cayenne pepper heaven. (grins)

Hydroponic System Results

The soda bottle hydroponics system was simple to make and  overall worked well for the one plant that she grew using this method. Unfortunately someone (namely a high schooler) forgot to put water in the base of the bottle when we left for vacation, and the plant dried up and died while we were gone. The water in the bottle base needed to remain at a certain level or the yarn wouldn’t absorb the water correctly, so no water = a not happy plant that shriveled up to nothing.

The plastic bin hydroponics system was by far the favorite method of growing plants although it did require a bit more work (and cleanup – especially because salamanders seemed to think it was a fabulous place to crawl into and die). Most likely results were skewed based on the massive amounts of spicy peppers that were produced as well, but Laurianna was definitely proud of the work she put into it.

Overall the projects were both successful and now other children in the house are now anxious to have their turn at North Star Geography – and you have to love that! Quite honestly, it has me thinking about ways that we can better grow some of our favorite plants (or continue growing) through the winter months with a little less care on our part – so maybe it was good for everyone in the family.

Have you tried hydroponics at home and found a method that works well for you?

Find out more about North Star Geography HERE.

North Star Geography Online Course

We used the hardcover version of North Star Geography and are thrilled to see it is now also available as an online course from Bright Ideas Press! The new self-paced option also includes audiobook and instructor help!

”Homeschooling

North Star Geography Online Course

One of the best programs that we used last year was North Star Geography. We were just venturing into the world of homeschooling high school and hands-down it was Laurianna’s favorite class of the year. This wonderful class is now available as an online class as well, so if you have a child that needs to earn a high school geography credit, you can take advantage of this new format!

North Star Geography Online Course

 

Course Content

North Star Geography is a one-year class that offers a full high school credit upon completion. It’s more than just maps and remembering where places in the world are, but looks at how geography impacts us every day. The 16 lessons include:

  • Downloadable lessons in ebook format – students can read the lessons, and an audiobook version of the Student Reader is also included.
  • Hands-on activities and projects (this was one of our favorite parts) – each lesson has various ideas and activities to go-along with the learning. Choose what projects you would like to complete.
  • Map work, memorization, and research questions (don’t worry – they have the answers too!). We created an atlas with all of reference maps created over the course of the year.
  • Notetaking pages & graphic organizers – all the visual organizers and help you need is included in the program

    Online Course Benefits

    While the format of the physical version is wonderful, there are some added benefits to using the online course:

    • Learn at your own pace – although there is a suggested schedule for the class, you are free to work through the class at your own pace.
    • Tests and quizzes are graded for you – yes, please. It’s one less thing you have to do. Amen.
    • Support from the author – Tyler Hogan is available if you get stuck and need help. Consider him your personal helpline.
    • Immediate feedback – as soon as you take the quizzes and tests, you’ll know the results!

    If thinking of teaching a high school class scares you, the online version of North Star Geography is a wonderful way to put those fears to rest. We used the physical version of the program last year and cannot recommend it highly enough. Hands down, it is a class that your kids (and you) will enjoy because it is extremely organized and well thought out (which makes a mom like me very happy). There truly is a little something for children with different learning styles as well, from hands-on projects to auditory learners.

    Find out more HERE.

    North Star Geography Online Course