My daughter goes to school year-round. This makes it more difficult for us to plan long family vacations, but means I have more time to myself since I telecommute most of the time. The point of this post is that while other schools are just starting up, she is right in the middle of a geography unit in her social studies class. She came home last week all excited about the stuff she is learning. She even brought home a map that the teacher had them fill out showing all the counties and major cities in our state.
I’m really not sure when geography became synonymous with cartography, but apparently that is what they are teaching school kids these days. She doesn’t seem to be learning anything about climate, topography, crops, industry, or the major exports of China like I learned in my geography classes. She just spends hours staring at her new map of the United States and a bunch of Mexico maps that her mother had left over from a previous job assignment. I asked her what she was looking at and she said she just loves to see where roads intersect and how many different ways there are to go between the same two places.
I guess it’s a start. Maybe her curiosity will grow to more than just following lines and identifying rivers. Maybe she’ll start asking questions about the people, animals, and crops in the various places she’s investigating. Then she’ll really be learning geography.