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                 Information, Inspiration, and Encouragement
    From a Distinctively Christian Perspective of Home Education
Cindy Short and Sue Welch, Co-Editors   /

Table of Contents
5-Part Series: The Geography Connection
Last Issue:
     Part 1.  The Geography/People Connection
This Issue:
     Part 2-A.  The Geography/Science Connection
     Physical Geography: The World in Spatial Terms
      •  Goal 1: Learn About Geographic Tools
               Fun Facts
      •  Goal 2: Learn About Specific Locations and Places
               Systematic Study of Geographic Categories
               Regional Study of Geographic Features
      •  Goal 3: Learn About Physical Systems
               Changes in Geography?
Future Issues:
     Part 2-B.  The Geography/Science Connection
     Part 3.  The Geography/History Connection
     Part 4.  The Geography/Arts Connection
     Part 5.  The Geography/Present Connection
Recommended Resources
     Grapevine Studies Bible Curriculum
     AVKO Educational Research Foundation
     Audio Memory: Geography Songs
     Jean Welles' Worship Guitar Class
     Enlightened Democracy by Tara Ross
Sunnyside Up: Humorous Anecdote


     The word "geography" comes from the Greek roots "geo"
(earth) and "graphy" (writing, study, or description).
     The two main branches of geography are physical geography
and human (or cultural) geography.
     In our last issue we dealt with cultural geography from the
uniquely Christian perspective of learning about people and
loving people -- seeing people through God's eyes.
     In this issue and our next issue, we will explore the study
of physical geography.
     Physical geography is based on the physical sciences and is
also called earth science.  It is a study of the world's surface:
the distribution, delineation, and nature of its land and water
     The measurements and movements of the earth, including its
relationship to the sun (seasons), moon (tides), and planets, as
well as mapmaking and navigation, are studied using the
mathematical sciences.

 •  Geology is the scientific study of the origin, history, and
     structure of the earth and the structure of specific regions
     of the earth's crust.
 •  Biogeography is the study of earth's plants and animals
     (flora and fauna) using the biological sciences.
 •  Oceanography is the study of the earth's oceans.

     In all the branches of physical geography, the connections
between geography, math, and science are obvious and easily

     May the Lord bless you and your family for His glory.

The Pat Welch Family, Publishers
Pat, Sue, Heather, Holly, and Brian
The Teaching Home is a home-school, family-run business
operated in our home since 1980.


Bible Curriculum:
Easy To Prepare Effective To Teach
Teach major characters and events of the Bible using timelines
and interactive chronological lessons in 15-20 minutes daily.
 •  K-12.   •  Great for multi-level teaching!
 •  Self-directed studies.
 •  Free Sample Packet: Call 877-436-2317.
 •  Free Sample Lessons at


Physical Geography:
The World in Spatial Terms

What To Cover in Teaching Physical Geography
     Basic geography literacy includes the ability to:
1.  Identify and use geographic tools.
2.  Identify, describe, and locate places and regions of the
3.  Identify physical systems and describe how they are
     These are some of the goals listed in the national standards
for teaching geography.

Goal 1: Learn About Geographic Tools
     The first learning goal of physical geography is to learn
how to use geographic representations, tools, and technology.
     Your children should be taught to:
 •  Understand the characteristics, functions, advantages,
     disadvantages, and applications of various geographic
     representations (globes, maps, etc.).
 •  Acquire, process, and report information from a spatial

Understanding Maps and Measurements:
Terms To Learn
 •  Latitude, longitude, degrees, minutes, seconds
 •  Prime Meridian, International Date Line, time zones
 •  Equator, polar axis, Tropic of Cancer, Tropic of Capricorn,
 •  Altitude, elevation, topography
 •  Legend, scale, boundaries
 •  Directions, N, S, E, W, NE, SW, etc.

Pinpointing Locations:
Position on the Earth's Surface
     Every place has a "global address" that tells exactly where
in the world it is located.  It is made up of two numbers -- its
latitude and its longitude.  When given in degrees, minutes, and
seconds, this address pinpoints the location to within 100 feet
in each direction.
     Find the latitude and longitude for your city (or the
largest one near you) at

Choosing Geographic Tools

1.  Globes
     Globes are the most accurate scale models of Earth in terms
of relative size, shape, distance, and compass directions.

2.  Maps
     Maps can furnish more detailed information for a specific
location than a globe can.
     Wall maps (along with timelines) make up a home educator's
"wallpaper."  You can display several wall maps at once or change
them according to your studies.  A good selection might include
maps of:
      •  The world
      •  Your country, state, city
      •  Bible lands
      •  Any specific region you are currently studying
     Laminated wall maps are a good educational investment and
provide a constant and ready opportunity for interest and study.
     Maps come in various sizes and types, including the
following.  (Some maps may combine several areas of information.)
 •  Political Maps show the country's boundaries, capital, states
     (or provinces, etc.), and large cities.
 •  Road Maps show roads (usually with a key to indicate the size
     and type), tourist attractions, freeway exits, rest stops,
     railroad crossings, etc.
 •  Physical Maps show landforms and natural features, such as
     mountains, rivers, lakes, and oceans.
 •  Thematic Maps use colors and/or shading to show specific
     kinds of information such as weather, population, education,
     agriculture, minerals, languages, or religion.

3.  Other Tools
     Valuable information is available in various other formats.
 •  Atlases
 •  Printed reference works
 •  Graphs and diagrams
 •  Aerial and other photographs
 •  Satellite and other images

Online, Interactive Maps and Satellite Images
     See a map or get directions.  Type in an address or location
and see it on a map and/or satellite image.  Zoom in to see a
close-up of your house!


AVKO Educational Research Foundation

AVKO (Audio, Visual, Kinesthetic, and Oral) Offers
a Multi-Sensory Approach to Language Arts
through Phonics and Word Families.

 •  Individualized Keyboarding teaches reading and spelling skills
     as your child masters the keyboard.
 •  Let's Write Right teaches reading/spelling as the alphabet is learned.
 •  Sequential Spelling builds self-esteem.
     To try it before you buy it or for information on dyslexia visit:


Fun Facts
     As you explore physical geography with your children, you
will discover little-known facts that can enhance understanding
and add interest to both your studies and your conversations.
Below is an example.

Three Ways To Measure a Mountain

1.  Distance above Sea Level*
     Mt. Everest on the Nepal-Tibet border in the Himalayas
stands 29,035 feet above sea level.  Due to a new GPS
calculation, the height of Mt. Everest was revised in 1999;
before that time it was thought to be 29,028 feet.
   *Sea level is the average surface elevation of the world's

2.  Distance from Base to Summit
     Measured from base to summit, the volcanic peak of Mauna
Kea in Hawaii, is 33,480 feet, of which 13,796 feet are above
sea level and the remaining 19,684 feet are under water.
     When measured from base to summit, Denali (Mt. McKinley) in
Alaska is the tallest mountain on earth that is entirely above
sea level (18,000 feet).

3.  Distance from the Center of the Earth
     The point on the planet's surface farthest from the center
of the earth is the summit of Chimborazo volcano in the Andes of
Ecuador. Its elevation is only 20,703 feet (8,332 feet less than
Mt. Everest), but because of its location near the equator it
gets a boost from the equatorial bulge (which makes the earth's
radius about 68,900 feet greater at the equator than at the
poles). In fact, the ocean beaches of Ecuador are farther from
the center of the earth than is the summit of Mt. Everest!


You Never Forget
What You Sing!
Award-winning, catchy sing-alongs teach:
 •  World Geography  •  U.S. History
 •  States & Capitals  •  Punctuation
 •  Bible  •  Math Facts  •  Grammar.
Cassettes, videos, DVDs, CDs, books,
posters. Free Catalog. (800) 365-SING.
Hear 40 samples at or buy CD sampler
with 12 songs for only $5.  States and Capitals DVD - $15.


Goal 2: Learn About Specific Locations and Places

The Basics
     There are certain basic facts your children need to learn to
be geographically literate.  They need to know the location,
geographic features, and physical characteristics of various
places and regions of the world that will be referred to in their
reading, in the news, in their work, in conversations, and in
     You may start with a short list of the most important items
to learn in each category and, as these are mastered, add more
items or more details.

     Your child will better understand new geographic information
if it is related to something he already knows and understands.

1.  Location
     Find places on a globe or world map that has your own home
marked on it to show the position and distance of the locations
from your home.

2.  Characteristics
     Compare characteristics of various cities, land forms, and
water features to those your child knows.

3.  Size
     Compare the size of a country, for instance, with a state
in the United States (see examples below).  See the "area
comparative" listing for each country at

     United Kingdom -  slightly smaller than Oregon
     Germany -  slightly smaller than Montana
     Iraq -  slightly more than twice the size of Idaho
     Israel -  slightly smaller than New Jersey
     China -  slightly smaller than the US
     Canada -  somewhat larger than the US

Two Ways To Study Geography
1.  Systematically:  Individual categories worldwide (e.g.,
     rivers of the world).
2.  Regionally:  Relationships of categories in a particular area
     (e.g., South America).
     The following checklists will help you evaluate what basic
geographic knowledge your children have and what they still need
to learn.


Learning To Play the Guitar
Can Bring Lifelong
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Jean Welles' video courses: a quick and easy way to play the guitar.
 •  Simple step-by-step, play-as-you-watch has vivid detail.
 •  No musical background, experience, or training is needed.
 •  Buy a complete package, including guitar, and save!
Worship Guitar Class for Ages 9-Adult
Kid's Guitar Lessons for Ages 5-9


Systematic Study of Geographic Categories
     Many terms are used to identify and describe physical
characteristics of places and regions.  As you learn the
vocabulary of geography and study the characteristics of the
following landforms and bodies of water, you can locate major or
important examples on a map of the world or your country.

      Online Geography Glossaries
      (Listed from simple to more extensive.)

Large and Principle Land and Water Features of the World
     (Includes lakes, rivers, islands, mountain peaks,
waterfalls, deserts, and caves.)
     Information on rivers, weather, mountains, volcanoes, maps,
rainforests, water and the water cycle.
      Following is a checklist of places, features, and countries
that your children should be learning.
     Please note that there are different ways to identify and
count the continents, oceans, and independent countries.

1.  Land
 •  The Seven Continents: North America, South America, Africa,
     Australia, Antarctica, Europe and Asia (Eurasia).
 •  Land Forms: Archipelago, basin, canyon, cape, continent,
     island, isthmus, mountain, mountain range, peninsula, plain,

2.  Water
 •  The Seven Oceans: Northern Atlantic, Southern Atlantic,
     Northern Pacific, Southern Pacific, Indian, Southern Ocean,
     Arctic Ocean.
 •  Water Features: Bay, canal, delta, falls, glacier, gulf,
     lagoon, lakes, reef, river, strait, waterways, estuary.
     Bodies of water.

3.  Countries
 •  The 193 Countries of the World.  (Taiwan is recognized as an
     independent country in this count.)  See
 •  Ranked in order by Area:
 •  Ranked in order by Population
 •  Study of countries would also include states or provinces,
     capitals and major cities, highways and other major
     transportation routes.
 •  The countries of the world can also be studied from a
     missionary worldview by using the "Operation World" books or
     CD or online at

Regional Study of Geographic Features
     You may wish to study all geographic categories and their
relationships in one region of the world at a time.
 •  Political boundaries and capitals of countries.
     (look up by continent at
 •  Geographic features such as those listed below.

1.  North America
 •  Land:  Coast Mountains & Ranges, Cascade Range, Sierra Nevada
     Mountains, Rocky Mountains, Appalachian Mountains, Great
     Plains, Gulf-Atlantic Coastal Plain, Aleutian Islands
 •  Water:  Mississippi River, Missouri River, Ohio River,
     Colorado River, Snake River, Rio Grande, the Great Lakes,
     Hudson Bay, Gulf of Mexico

2.  Middle and South America
 •  Land:  Andes Mountains, Atacama Desert, Pampas
 •  Water:  Amazon River

3.  Eurasia (Europe and Asia)
 •  Land:  Alps, Arabian Peninsula, Himalayas, Tibetan Plateau,
     Gobi Desert
 •  Water:  Mediterranean Sea, Black Sea, Caspian Sea, Aral Sea,
     Lake Baykal, Ganges River, Yangzi River (Chang Jiang),
     Yellow River (Huang He)

4.  Africa
 •  Land:  Atlas Mountains, Sahara Desert, the Sahel,
     Namib Desert, Kalahari Desert
 •  Water:  Nile River, Congo River, Lake Victoria, Lake
     Tanganyika, Lake Nyasa (Lake Malawi), Red Sea

5.  Australia and New Zealand
 •  Land:  Great Sandy Desert, Great Victoria Desert, Great
     Dividing Range, Southern Alps


Enlightened Democracy
by Tara Ross
     Understand the Constitution and the
basic tenets that undergird America's
republican democracy as you never have
before!  Free Study Guide at:


Goal 3: Learn About Physical Systems
     Various physical processes, as well as the earth's
relationships to the sun and moon, affect physical geography.

 •  Know how physical processes shape the physical environment.
     The atmosphere (weather and climate)
     The lithosphere (earthquakes, erosion)
     The hydrosphere (oceans, water cycle)
     The biosphere (ecosystems, vegetation)

     Information on earch energy, earth structure, hydrosphere,
biosphere, climates, bio-geo-chemical cycles.
     Geological formations, such as those created by the eruption
of Mount St. Helens, show that the earth may be only thousands of
years old and that geological strata is formed by catastrophe.
     U.S. Geological Survey geographers monitor and analyze
changes on the land.

 •  Understand Earth-Sun relationships.
     The sun and moon have effects on the earth's seasons,
climates, weather, disasters, and time.

Astronomical Data
     The Astronomical Applications Department of the U.S. Naval
Observatory maintains a website of data services that provides
extensive information in the following categories:
 •  Sun Rise/Set/Transit/Twilight Data
 •  Phases of the Moon
 •  Solar and Lunar Eclipses and Transits
 •  Positions of Selected Celestial Objects
 •  Synthetic Views of the Earth and Solar System Bodies
 •  Dates of Earth's Seasons
 •  Celestial Navigation
 •  Astronomical Almanac Online
     You can enter the names of your city and state and see your
longitude and latitude, as well as time of sunrise, sunset,
moonrise, etc. for a specific day.

Changes in Geography?
     Watch the news for changes in designations and measurements
in geography such as:

1.  The Discovery of a Possible "New Planet"

2.  Recalculation of the height of Mt. Everest (see above)

3.  "Southern Ocean" name sanctioned by some geographers and
some governments (not the U.S.)

4.  Milky Way Now Thought To Be Bigger than Andromeda
     A team of scientists at the Institute of Astronomy,
Cambridge, says, "It now looks as though the Milky Way is the
biggest galaxy in the local Universe, bigger even than Andromeda.
It was thought until just a few months ago that it was the other
way around."
     The Cambridge University team expects to submit the first of
its results to a leading astrophysics journal in the next few

     It is well to remember that scientific information is only
as good as the truth of its assumptions, the design of its tools
and experiments, the accuracy of its observations, and the
interpretation of its gathered data.  For absolute truth, our
only source is God's unerring and eternal Word.


Please Thank and Support
Our Sponsoring Advertisers!
     These free newsletters are made possible financially by the
fine suppliers who advertise in them and in the accompanying
e-mail.  Please consider those that advertised in our last issue
(below) as well as the ones in this issue.

Runkle Publishers: "Welcome to the Wonderful World of Geography"
Boston Test Prep for the SAT
Rhea's Education Days
Beyond Phonics Spelling
Deeper Roots Publications: Bible Curriculum

Sunnyside Up:  A Degree in Geography
     One day I was inwardly congratulating myself on having done
a good job of teaching geography to our 2nd-grade son and his
1st-grade sister until I overheard this conversation:
     "Christopher, look!  It's freezing at the equator!"
     "No, it's not, Margaret."
     "Yes, it is!  Look at the map.  It's 0 degrees at the
     Submitted by Elizabeth B., Texas


God loves us.
     "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten
Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have
eternal life" (John 3:16).

We have been separated from God by sin.
     "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”
(Romans 3:23). “For the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23).

The death of Jesus Christ in our place is God's
only provision for our sin.
     "He (Jesus Christ) was delivered over to death for our sins
and was raised to life for our justification" (Romans 4:25).

We must personally receive Jesus Christ
as our own Savior and Lord.
     "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that
not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of
works, that no one should boast" (Ephesians 2:8, 9).


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