Geography for Jesus

Today I asked my kids, “What is the real purpose of studying Geography?”  It took a little bit of drawing it out of them, but the 12yo did answer “in order to spread the Gospel.”  Which is exactly our focus as we study Geography.  They are learning countries in general and in association with history, but for the real meat of Geography this year, we are taking a country and studying it closely for 2 weeks.  The countries have been chosen to go along with our history so that they are in some context.

In History, we are studying Prince Henry the Navigator and how they went out exploring, but that the first stop was Morocco.  So, Morocco is the country that we’ve chosen for the next two weeks.  As Charlotte Mason suggested, we are using a Travel Guide to learn more about the country.  And, she is absolutely right that Travel Guides make the country so much more interesting!  Some of them use such wonderful vivid language that you really do feel like you are experiencing the place.

I don’t know about you, but we don’t really get excited reading about the major exports of a country or what the weather is like there (well, maybe a little bit on the weather one…) which seems to be the information that most Children’s Books feel that it is most important to impart.  I do however disagree with Ms Mason in that I think that books with pictures are a wonderful way to really get to know the beauty of a nation.  With the marvelous photography we have available to us, why wouldn’t you use it to make a place more real while being half a world away?

The trick is that you have to find an interesting travel guide.  I went to a local bookstore, took a seat in the aisle, and went through all kinds of different brands of guides to find the most interesting to read.  Some of the most famous names are just too “go here and see that – go there and see this” to be interesting to the person not actually touring the area.  But, I did find several Guides that did fit the criteria.  My favorite was the Insight Guides and a close second was the Lonely Planet Guides.   For Morocco, I decided to use the Insight Guide, but for future units, it may be another so that I can always try to choose the one that is more interesting for each individual country.

I happened across a wonderful website that describes the barriers of spreading the Gospel in each nation around the world.  They also show what religions are present in the nation and have links to the Joshua Project which shows the different people groups in each nation.  Operation World is great because we are able to find out specific prayer requests that we can focus on during the geography unit.  Otherwise, if it’s too general, it’s hard to really have it feel real.

To tie it all up, we are reading A Bachelor and the Bean: A Jewish Moroccan Folk Tale and Into Wild Morocco (did you know that there are many types of animals that ONLY exist in Morocco and no where else?)  I think that we’ll try to do this for each unit – have a book with a folk tale and hopefully one on the animals.  We’re doing this in depth study 2 times a week, so hopefully they won’t tire of the country but will get enough information to have a real glimpse of the country. 

My son is already talking about that we should be missionaries to Morocco, so I have high hopes for this method but I hope he continues to accept the answer that we will go if that is the plan that God has for us.

2 Thoughts on “Geography for Jesus

  1. Lindsey V on October 15, 2011 at 2:32 pm said:

    I love this idea of taking one country for 2 weeks! I have a HUGE fascination with geography and I LOVE traveling so I think it is SO beautiful that you are instilling this love into your children for the faces of the world that Jesus so loves!

  2. Gidget on October 15, 2011 at 4:58 pm said:

    Thank you, Lindsey! It really is awesome – Monkey is interested in learning Japanese sign language because we found out that that the Japanese Deaf is a 100% unreached people group (she was already learning Japanese and has an interest in sign lang). I LOVE seeing God work in my children's hearts!

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