European Geography

Last year, we had a 2 or 3 week block of European Geography. It was difficult, as all geography blocks are for me! I have such a hard time making this block interesting!

I mostly used Live Ed, which includes has a fairly lengthy European Geography book. I also used Eugene Schwartz’s lectures.

For spelling during this block, she learned the capitals of Europe (30 of them each week) by writing flashcards. We practiced each day, and at the end of the week I would give her a quiz. I gave her the country names, and she wrote the capitals.

Main Lesson Book Cover:

01 geography cover 6th grader

The first pages of the book include a physical map of Europe. This map was done using the grid method, and it took her many days to complete.

02 6th grader europe map

Next we spent a couple of days comparing the Mediterranean Sea and the North Sea. What are these seas like? Well, the North Sea is notoriously rough, with storms appearing suddenly. It is grey, cold, and unpredictable. The Mediterranean Sea is surrounded by land, warm, brilliant blue-green, and mild. Then we went on to compare the lands around these seas, and the people living here. In the north, we have the Vikings, with their grand explorations, their rough nature, much like the sea. Around the Mediterranean, we find cultures of war too, but we also find something different, especially in classical culture. There is an emphasis on art and philosophy. We spent a lot of time learning about the agriculture and fishing differences of these two regions. I got the idea of comparing and contrasting different regions from Eugene Schwartz’s lectures.

03 paintings 6th grader north sea mediterranean

My daughter’s essay of the North Sea and Mediterranean Sea:

04 6th grader mediterranean north sea

We also compared the mountain regions with the plains. We looked at the Swiss Alps, and the country of Switzerland. Historically, this country was characterized by their independent spirit. The Swiss were separated by the Alps, and their towns, called cantons, were run very locally. There was very little for the federal government to do. This is starting to change in recent years, but it is a very interesting effect in mountainous regions.

On the plains, we find something quite different. I used the French countryside as the example. The French tend to conform more often than not. Have you ever tried to substitute potatoes for a salad in a French restaurant? Not easy… the French expect people to conform, so this is not something that would be allowed. These comparisons of mountain people and plains people can be generalizations for other places too, but the French and Swiss are good examples. These attitudes are probably changing as our world becomes more connected, but still… how our surroundings affect us is an interesting idea.

We did dry paintings of the Matterhorn (inspired by a Live Ed painting), and the French plains, which I designed.

05 6th grader paintings alps french countryside

My daughter’s essay:

06 6th grader alps plains

We talked about Great Britain and Stonehenge… I believe I used information provided by Live Ed. The painting is from Live Ed as well.

07 6th grader stonehendge painting

08 6th grader stonehendge

Here is another detail of her map. We had a European map, and we would have little games where I would name the seas, rivers, or mountain ranges, and she would find them. Live Ed provided a lot of information about these places, but you could also probably find it in the encyclopedia.

09 map

Here is my artwork from the block:

10 mom cover

11 mom north sea 12 mom mediterranean sea13 mom french plains  14 mom stonehendge


The children’s fairy geography, or, A merry trip round Europe

 Europe Physical, 1907 map

This entry was posted in Geography, Grade 6, Watercolor Painting. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to European Geography

  1. Tanya says:

    I have the same issues with Geography blocks too! I don’t know what it is about them, but I always struggle to find a nice, coherent way to present the material. It looks like you did a great job though. And where did you learn to paint??? I struggle in the art side of Waldorf (although I have improved greatly with as much drawing as we do), but most especially with painting. Beautiful job!

  2. What stunning art work. I worry about geography (I can’t walk out of a door without going in the wrong direction!) So we will refer back to this when it’s time to start!

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