Timeless Thursdays: Revisiting Some Archived Articles that Have Not Been Lost, but May Have Been Forgotten and Are Worth a Fresh Read
Editor’s Note: November 17-23, 2013 is Geography Awareness Week
Raise your hand if you had a course in geography in school. I suspect that very few of us would be able to raise a hand honestly. My own encounters with geography were spotty at best. I once made a map of the state of Oklahoma out of Jell-O for an Oklahoma history course, and I remember a handful of quizzes on unconnected geography terms. The other day, I leafed through a third grade geography workbook in the home education section of a local store. I was astounded to see that the geography course was actually a course in reading map legends of imaginary cities. The student assignments were to draw maps of places in their own neighborhoods or towns. Surely we need to recover the lost tools of geography!
Geography was once a subject which existed in its own right and required students to memorize countries, capitals, mountains, oceans, rivers, lakes, and geographic terms like peninsula, bay, and plateau. This study has all but vanished, having been replaced by social studies courses in which students learn how to read map legends and create maps to local places of interest. Instead of teaching young children about the wonders of the larger world, they restrict them to the narrow vision of their own neighborhood.