5 Ways to Use WonderMaps During Morning TimeBetsy Strauss
Morning time is the glue of our homeschool. Even though each child has a unique path of study, everyone comes together for an hour a day to learn and grow together during our morning time. In addition, morning time offers an added benefit for me as a teacher to integrate several subjects at once to get the most out of our time together. Geography is one of those subjects that works best when taught in context.
I love using WonderMaps to customize the maps we use in our morning time. For each topic we pursue, I can select elements to highlight with our studies. In just a few extra minutes a day, we effortlessly incorporate geography, and the study has purpose and meaning because it is wrapped up in the lives and events of the topics we are studying. Here are ways I incorporate WonderMaps into morning time.
1. Track the News
One constant feature of our family’s morning time is watching CNN’s Student News when in just ten minutes a day, we’re updated on current events. I print a blank world map for each of my students. When a region or country is mentioned in the news, we pause the broadcast to mark it on our maps. After a month or so, the map starts revealing trends in the news.
2. Label the World
Map drills are a Charlotte Mason activity that fits great into morning time. Each year we focus on a continent and work to learn more about it. Once a week, I give the kids blank maps and let them label what they can. After they are finished, they check their work on a filled in map. When they’ve ensured that their work is positioned correctly and spelled correctly, they add a couple of more items to their maps.
Each week as they repeat this process, they gather more and more familiarity with the region of study. Their labeling is not limited simply to countries and capitals. Here are some other elements they might label:
- bodies of water
- mountain ranges
- notable mountain peaks
3. Map Reading
If you’re looking for a quick way to incorporate geography into your morning time, simply plot the locations of your read-alouds. Depending on the nature of the books you’re reading, you could mark the location of the story, or mark the journey of the characters in the story. Some great read-alouds that you could track include (affiliate links):
- Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham—Travel with Nat Bowditch from Salem, Massachusetts around the Cape of Good Hope to Indonesia and back.
- David Livingstone: Trailblazing Africa by Janet and Geoff Benge—Track David Livingstone’s trek through the interior of Africa.
- Paddle to the Sea by Holling C. Holling—Journey through the Great Lakes, down the St. Lawrence River to the Atlantic Ocean.
4. Plot Famous People
Some of our favorite morning time endeavors are studying famous artists or composers. As we delve into the work and lives of these amazing people, we add their location to our map. This could be on a separate map, or it could be incorporated into one we’ve already started. All we would need is a different color or marking symbol to identify the change in category.
As my kids mark their map over the course of a year’s study, they start to notice trends in certain geographical areas. It’s interesting to note the influence of these trailblazers on the lives that follow. Students can visually see a representation of Sir Isaac Newton’s famous quote: “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” His meaning there is that if he has made greater discoveries than those who came before him, he did it because he was building on their work.
5. Make a Prayer Map
We start our morning time off with time in God’s Word and prayer. Creating a prayer map of topics to pray for is a great visual representation of an abstract idea. Here are some elements you could add to your prayer map:
- Family members living outside of your area
- Missionaries from your church
- Countries hostile to Christianity
- Children sponsored by your family
It’s so easy to incorporate geography into your morning time. WonderMaps make it easy to customize your studies to highlight exactly what you’d like to focus on. If you think you don’t have time to add another subject to your already full plate, try integrating it into what you’re already doing.