Google Earth is a fun and mesmerizing tool. Have you tried it? It can be pretty addictive. You go on to check one thing and before you know it, you’re completely lost on some wild adventure.
Google Earth is an amazing tool for parents, educators, and homeschoolers. With a little creativity, you could create an entire course using Google Earth.
Sorry, folks. I’m not that ambitious, but I am going to share a few ways that we have used Google Earth in our homeschool.
Homeschooling with Google Earth
Easy ways to use Google Earth in your homeschool:
You could create an entire curriculum based on Google Earth, but you don’t have to! You can keep it simple with these ideas:
- Exploring Pen Pals – My children have quite a few pen pals, from right here in NH to NV to NZ to Tanzania! When we get a letter from one of our far-away-friends, we use Google Earth to zoom in on the country from which our letter traveled!
- Story Starters -My children love to tell stories and to write books. Google Earth is an amazing source of inspiration for storytelling. Let your child play with Google Earth for a little bit and a story will reveal itself in short time!
- Learn about latitude and longitude – Some map terminology, like latitude and longitude, are abstract concepts and can be tricky for young children to understand. Help them understand these important geography concepts with this wonderful visual tool.
- DIY Traveling Journal – When our traveling journal arrived back home, we happily retraced its journey via Google Earth.
- Grandparent Journal – We love our grandparent journals but sometimes the kids’ grandparents will mention a place that they have never visited. It’s wonderful to be able to hop on a computer and show them!
- Exploring books – We love these map books:
One of the many things we love about them is that they incorporate fairytale locations – like Wonderland, Neverland, and Oz- and include maps. So creative and fun! I thought it would be fun to expand upon this idea by taking some of my children’s favorite stories and exploring them further with Google Earth. Great idea, right? Well, when I went online to research this idea further, I stumbled upon a fantastic site:
- Google Lit Trips – Google Lit Trips is an amazing resource for parents and educators. The site includes free, downloadable files that chronicle famous characters’ journeys across the globe, using Google Earth. The files also include facts, photos, and videos related to the location. We are slowly but surely making our way through each story but our two favorites at the moment are Make Way for Ducklings and We All Went on Safari. We love the first because we’re New Englanders and the second because one of our beloved pen pals lives in Tanzania and gave us this book!
Now, it’s your turn. Have you used Google Earth in your homeschool? What is your favorite Google Earth activity? Share here!
Cait co-hosts The Homeschool Sisters Podcast and is co-founder of Raising Poppies, a community for parents of gifted and twice-exceptional children. Cait is also founder of the Family Book Club at My Little Poppies, a fantastic community of book-loving parents and the Gameschool Community at My Little Poppies, a vibrant community of gameschoolers.
Cait is a contributing writer for Simple Homeschool. Her work has also appeared on The Huffington Post, The Mighty, Scary Mommy, GeekMom, and many others. You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram
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