Why Should Teens Learn Geography?

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There are dozens of reasons why an 8th, 9th or 10th grader should spend one year completing an in-depth study of world geography.  Below you will find OTA’s top four.

It helps put the news in context.

If kids learn geography, then when they hear a story on the news from across the globe, they will actually have an idea of where Kenya, or at least Africa, is. They will also know that Africa is not a country! And if Ebola breaks out in one African country, that doesn’t mean that all of Africa is affected.

If teens learn geography, it will also help them learn history.

Understanding how close two places sit on the map can help kids see how and why different civilizations influenced each other as well as help them understand the significance of one civilization conquering another.

For example, why was the Panama Canal such a big deal?  What happens when a country doesn’t have access to a lake or river, if it is inland? All of these things affect us greatly. So, what does it mean in today’s life? What happens when a country like Israel runs out of fresh water? They innovate and start desalination processes. What happens if you cut off water from ISIS in Iraq? How does that affect who can win the war?

Learning Geography will help kids understand different cultures.

Being surrounded by water or being in the middle of a desert will drastically affect what a culture values, as well as how they live their daily lives. If kids learn geography from around the globe, they will have the opportunity to gain more of an appreciation for foreign countries and cultures.

It will also help them understand languages, which can shape cultures. Do all languages have a word for “snow”? How would you describe “snow” to someone who has never seen it, and never heard of it? Is it ice? Is it water?

Why do many languages contain words from other languages? For example, the word “telephone” – can you find this word pronounced differently in different countries? Why or why not? What about “tomato”?

What about what we consider to be ‘beautiful’ in the place where we live. Where does the idea of ‘beauty’ come from? Do all cultures see things as ‘beautiful’ in the same way? Why or why not?

Geography gives kids a better worldview.

Speaking of the globe, understanding where certain resources come from, or even just where certain places are, will help your child gain an appreciation for the world that goes beyond the borders that they live within.

EvaEva Goldstein-Meola is not only co-founder of Open Tent Academy, but an instructor as well as a former homeschooling mother. She has lived in New Jersey, Florida, Western Massachusetts, Northern Virginia and now resides just outside of Jerusalem. Eva holds a Master’s Degree as a Consulting Teacher of Reading and Writing, IEW certification and a Bachelor’s Degree as an Elementary Teacher. She has also been involved in education since 1986 as a Private Tutor, Teacher, Reading Specialist, Homeschooling Mother, Homeschooling Teacher and Business Owner of an Online Education Consortium.

Open Tent Academy offers High School Geography as one of its course offerings. During this twenty-week course, students will travel the globe studying both the geographical elements of each continent as well as the culture and the people who live there. Students will be responsible for learning the countries, major mountain ranges and bodies of water. As geography and history are impossible to separate, we will also learn some history of the land! Class will be made up of lectures, multi-media, discussions and open-ended questions. Homework will be made up of independent reading, map building, map quizzes, open book tests and a final and a mid-term. We have a lot to cover! Do you want to join us on our journey around the world? Come along – it will be fun! Taught by Jonathan Meola; for more information, please click here.

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