3 Reasons to Teach Geography to Your High School Students

At the end of our last school year, my oldest daughter asked me if she could take a geography class this school year- her senior year- in high school. I wasn’t too surprised that she wanted extra classes. She’s my academic kid who loves school work and loves to challenge herself. But the topic surprised me.
Geography program for high school students

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Geography? Why geography? But as we began to talk about it, I understood.
I’ve done an extensive geography course with my younger girls. In fact, it was our spine for the school year a few years ago. We not only learned where different countries and regions were on the map but also studied ecology and learned about cultures all over the world. But I’d never really done that with my older kids.
Sure, we labeled maps when we talked about different countries or events in history. But we’ve never taken time to truly study world geography. And my older daughter feels the lack.
Of course this gave me some homeschool mom guilt. I’m sure my younger kids have more advantages and learn more earlier on than the older set did. After all, I learn as I go along, and the younger kids get the benefit of the homeschooling experience I now have under my belt. But… now that I know of the deficiency of my geography instruction, I’m out to remedy it.
As I talked to my daughter, I realized that there are several important reasons why high school students should study geography.  And I’ve chosen the North Star Geography course from Bright Ideas Press for her to complete this year. She’s going to work through the book with the online course. This curriculum fits perfectly with those reasons that I’ve come to realize about why studying geography is important for high school students.

Learning about ecology and regions of the world gives kids a better understanding of science.

It’s one thing to read about weather patterns and types of rocks and volcanoes and extreme storm systems. But when students learn to make connections between these topics of earth science and certain regions of the world, they will better understand the reason behind learning them. Students also understand more about different plants and animals when they have an understanding of where in the world those things live.
North Star Geography teaches students about the different physical features of the earth and where these can be found. It covers topics such as climate and weather in different places around the world, types of bodies of water and where they can found around the world, and where various plants and animals live. Learning these topics in a geography class helps a student to make connections with the information he’s learned in science classes.

Learning about various people groups gives students an appreciation of the many diverse cultures in the world.

I have to admit that my family doesn’t live in a very diverse place. When we’re out and about, we usually don’t hear different languages. Most of the people act and speak in a similar way.
I’ve tried to look for ways to make the kids- and myself- more aware of different people and different cultures. We’ve helped in our local college’s international ministry and met students from all over the world. We’ve befriended missionaries who minister in a variety of countries. We’ve long been on a prayer list that includes needs of people all around the globe. And when the kids were very young, we “adopted” a child who we support each month. He lives in the Philippines, and we’ve had the opportunity to see pictures of his area and learn about his culture.
North Star Geography introduces students to a variety of cultures. It covers the development of societies and population. Written from a Christian worldview, the book addresses our responsibility to   reach out to meet the needs of struggling people groups.
For high school students to learn about various cultures around the world gives them the opportunity to learn about and appreciate the differences and similarities to themselves. Studying geography gives them this opportunity.

Learning about the location, history, and government of different countries can give students a better understanding of world events.

One of the main reasons my daughter brought up for wanting to study geography this year is because she feels lost when she hears or reads of current events. She often doesn’t know where the places being discussed are or why there is conflict or what historical events have led to the current situation. I had to admit to her that I was often pretty lost myself. (In fact, I’ve just about convinced myself that I need to take geography as well!)
North Star Geography deals with the government of various peoples. It also addresses topics like climate change and environmental stewardship that are often hot topics in the news. Again, it comes from a Christian worldview and guides students in thinking about what our response to these topics should be. Knowing where news events are happening and understanding the history behind them helps students understand what is happening in world events.
Kathryne is looking forward to studying geography this year. I’m excited about the North Star Geography course because it’s a very comprehensive course that touches on many topics in the study of geography and because it’s presented from a Christian worldview which will help her begin to consider and think critically about world events and her response as a believer.
I’m convinced. High schoolers need to study geography. My subsequent children- who aren’t all as fond of learning as the first- may not appreciate my new insight when I add geography to their high school course list. But I think it’s a valuable thing to study.
Geography for high school students

More about North Star Geography… 

  • is a full high school credit
  • is written from a Christian worldview
  • covers physical geography and human geography, as well as geography skills (such as map reading)
  • includes a companion CD that includes lesson plan options for a variety of ways to cover the course; hands-on activities; printable outlines, maps, and resources; quizzes and more
  • is also available as an online course

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