Epcot is a wonderful place to instill a love of geography. There is so much to see and do in the countries. You can taste, see as well as experience things that would normally be out reach without traveling. When you have extremely visual children like mine, you must incorporate something to make it come alive for them. The different festivals also bring countries to us that we would never be able to experience. Epcot works perfectly for incorporating geography.
Geography of course is not only map reading. It’s the study of maps. physical traits of the earth and the study of humans. Map reading as well as map labeling can be the driest part of a geography curriculum. For this purpose , we have made geography journals. Each child has theirs set up a little different. Madison , the artist, draws her map in the sketch book, labels it as well as draws pictures about the country. Logan glues his map, labels it then lists facts. We get all the maps we need from Wondermaps. It has every map you will ever need in your homeschooling career.
Here’s where Epcot comes into play. Our geography curriculum, North Star Geography, has a sidebar in each chapter that discusses a particular geographical location as well as a country. We are able to look at the country then visit the location in Epcot. We look at the architecture to discuss why we think it’s important given the terrain as well as weather patterns in that region. We peruse the stores to see items native to the area. We watch entertainment or live shows that bring that country to life. Did you know that Disney hires people native to that particular country to work in that area? I have never had a cast member not want to share their experiences in their countries with us. Their stories are mesmerizing. We can take it one step further when we study the animals at Animal Kingdom for that area of the world.
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All this gets put into our geography journals. The non creatives add pictures , notes, ideas about plants in the area, etc. Our resident artist draws buildings, plants , or perhaps an item from the store. Notes go in about anything or everything. We bring our journals at least once a month . Sometimes seeing one thing at Epcot will cause a research session when we get home to find out more. Interest is sparked. In the end, that’s what learning is all about anyway.