Carschooling Geography: Charting a Course

Encourage your road scholars to learn to read maps by letting them plot your route to wherever you are going. Tell them that you need to get from one city (or state) to another. Then ask them to look on a map, find the departure and destination points, and pick a course of roads and highways to follow. You can provide younger with extra help by telling them the names of cities and landmarks you will pass along the way, so they can easily locate the roads to follow on the map. If you have several children, imply divide the trip into segments and follow a route chosen by each child for a portion of your trip.

One carschool mom taught her kids to be navigators and said, “This method helped our children develop skill and speed at reading maps. They used their map to guide the driver and explain what road or exit to look for next. This process helped them to really understand distance as portrayed on a map and how that relates to real time traveling in the car. We tried to allow time to take back roads when they were chosen and discovered some off-the-beaten-path surprises and real educational opportunities as a result.”

This activity can be used for short in-town trips as well. Charting routes using local maps will help your children learn where they live in relation to the store, bank, post office, church, library, a park, or a friend’s house.

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