Without a doubt, one of the best ways for your kids to learn is to get hands-on and immerse themselves in a topic with practical work. Geography is full of opportunities for doing just that and as part of our Geography Homeschool Unit Studies, we include lots of practical geography skills for your kids to do. To help you get planning and started with these we’ve put together this article on tips and advice for doing practical work aka fieldwork with your kids so that they get the most out of the experience. So here you go our tips and advice for geography fieldwork for your homeschool.
Geographical Practical Work for Kids
Part of the study of geography is studying the connection between the physical world and our human activity, its impact, and our use of the world. To help geographers have developed lots of skills and techniques that you use to collect data and information and then interpret it.
From making and using instruments to study the world to observational skills in situ and map work with coordinates, scales, and measurements it’s using knowledge from other areas and putting it into real-world situations.
Equipment for Conducting Field Trips in your Homeschool
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A lot of the equipment for homeschool geography fieldwork can be multi-use in other areas as well as at home here’s just some of the equipment that we use and recommend. Within each unit study and the activities outlined you’ll find comprehensive equipment lists specific to those.
Basic Supplies for Homeschool Geography Field Trips and Practical Work
As well as your general writing and home supplies including computers and books there are a few specialist pieces of equipment it’s nice to get as well.
- A long tape measure ideal for measuring buildings or transects
- Thermometer although a digital is good it’s a fantastic opportunity to teach using scales so get an old style mercury thermometer that shows both degrees farenheit and degress centigrade as it will help to compare and constrast different areas of the world
- A basic compass, you don’t need anything fancy but a basic compass will do for lots of different areas of work that your kids will encounter in geography.
You’ll also need ways to record your findings a camera that includes a video function – your Smartphone is great for this, a sketchbook, and equipment for sketching with and it can be handy to have a clipboard that your child can keep everything attached to without it flying all over the place.
Tips for Geography Field Trips and Practicals
We’ve put together some tips to make it easier for you and your kids to make the most of field trips and practicals when studying geography.
Familiarise yourself with the equipment
Make sure that you know how to read and use the equipment. We borrowed a clinometer for measuring slopes from a friend and I really wasn’t sure at first how to use it properly so we spent a lot of time learning and would have had a better time if I’d taken a few minutes to read up about it beforehand.
Familiarise yourself with the area
Check out the area ahead of time, read up about it, visit it without the kids if you have the opportunity, and get to know the hazards if there are any and best areas to carry out your practical work.
Go with a specific focus
It can be really tempting to visit an area and do ALL the things. But instead, take your time to have a specific focus for your fieldwork, and spend time going deep into it rather than touching the surface your kids will get much more out of it than skimming and racing through lots of different things.
Don’t forget your snacks and gear
You’ve checked your equipment, know where you are going, and got your focus but don’t forget gear for you and the kids as well as food and drink. We like to make a day of it and yes we have been known to have a picnic in November and in the rain in the summer. Remember there’s no such thing as bad weather just bad clothing choices.
Have Fun and Learn Together
Most importantly remember to have fun and get to learn alongside your kids. As you learn and join in especially with younger kids they will develop the same love of fieldwork and practical work that you have.
Check out why we explore both physical and human geography in our homeschool!