Our view of the world is shaped by what we see in front of us, and what we see in front of us depends largely on how we've been taught to look. By calling geography a science, experts give the impression that it's also objective, as though we can investigate foreign regions apart from our own perspective and presuppositions.
While the world would be much more peaceful if this was true, the divisions caused by man's selfishness and rebellion preclude such a possibility. This doesn't mean by any stretch that studying geography is therefore useless, however. Far from it: the only way to reach across the walls of suspicion, fear, and prejudice is to truly understand other cultures, societies, and peoples.
Geography is, of course, more than the study of people and cultures. It involves the study of the earth itself, weather patterns and climate, habitability, etc. Yet, without an understanding of the human factor such information, while interesting, hardly constitutes a discipline of much interest to anyone but specialists and professionals.
As our world gets smaller and bold lines are blurred, the need for average citizens to be educated about geography increases. Not only are we confronted with intercultural relationships on a personal level, our jobs, education, and religious life now depend on our ability and willingness to interact sympathetically with those from backgrounds different from our own.
Studying geography by its various regions gives us the opportunity to see behind our neighbors' and coworkers' behavior, to look into their context and respond to them accordingly. As we look at regions and the peoples who inhabit them, we see more clearly the interplay of the land itself and the cultures of which it is the home.
Looking into other regions of the globe—whether by continent, country, or ecosystem—is also fun, and a bit like traveling. Books and maps are no substitute for getting the dust of Morocco on your boots or standing on a frozen fjord, but they will broaden your borders far more substantially than watching TV or playing video games.
The books you'll find here are of the resource variety; geography curriculum is found elsewhere. This is probably one of the most important but most overlooked areas of study for many homeschool families, and we'd like to encourage you with the availability and affordability of materials. Plus, this is one subject a lot of kids are drawn into by sheer curiosity, so simply providing the books for them may be all you need to do.
Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur.Read more of his reviews here.
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