Even I choose social science when I was in HS, I unduly weak on geographic subject. I couldn’t read ‘blind map’ and couldn’t remember all of countries with any details on those. One of the worst cases, when I was selected came to Copenhagen, I didn’t know where exactly Copenhagen is, and I just said ‘oo” when Google told me that Copenhagen is capital city of Denmark. Then.. once again I blame it to education system in Indonesia that emphasize on memorize and omitting concept. Thus it caused all of memory just evaporated not longer after the students not learn about that subject again. But I am really appreciated with development of international schools that apply different methods, which is emphasizes on concept based.
Talking about geography and fun technique to learn about it, I had several experiences about it. When I came to Copenhagen, I came to other countries, and not longer to that time, I was going abroad again. It really opens the opportunities to talk to Hashfi about other countries and different weather, culture, etc, that really different to Indonesia. He looked at the picture of mine , and it was the first time he knew about ‘snow concept’, like how the snow look and what kind of clothes that people wear when snow came (winter). He ultimately knew about Santa Klaus and his deer best friends after I record Christmas atmosphere on Copenhagen (even I am not celebrates Christmas, I think it will be good if child start to learn and accept diversity). I also give him pin capture about Viking. Then, he starts to know about history of Viking on Denmark. Then, slowly I realized, he learn about geography! Subject that I really hate in the past could be learns in a fun way. You just share your experience during your journey, but actually it really open child’s mind, and they will learn something by that.
On this year, my friends from Japanese and Vietnam also came to my house. Hashfi realized that something different on the way they look. He usually heard me speak Indonesia, but I speak differently with my Japanese and Vietnam friends (I speak English with them), and also sometimes my Japanese friends speak Japanese to one another, and vice verse with my Vietnamese friends. He really curious about that, so I explained there are so many languages in the world, but there is one most common language, which is English, so we must capable to speak in English if we want speak to other people from around the world. He also realizes people from Japanese have different posture and face with Indonesian, also different kinds of writing languages. Now if I am watching Korean movies, he will recognize it as Japanese people. Also if he saw Kanji language, he will label it with Japanese language. Then, once again, he obtains knowledge in geographic area.
When I also got accepted in Leiden University, I showed him a world map (there is the first time), I pointed Netherland, and I said that I will go there if everything running well. I also pointed other countries that I ever told to him. He was very excited. I asked him about his favorite country, and he answered ‘London, England’, but he also wants to come to Japan, because he really like to my Japanese friends. So, I explain that Japan nearer than England from Indonesia, so we just spend shorter time flight to Japan than England. I let him to measure distance between Jakarta-Japan and Jakarta-England through his fingers and it fun apparently.
There are a lot of countries that I am not yet visited, but I still can talk to Hashfi about it, like Africa for instance. I began it with his favorite animal, elephant, I told that there are a lot of elephants in Africa, and I show him about Africa, the differences and unique thing about people in Africa. Then he learns again! There are a lot of things that we can share to children about geography of a country. First, begin with their favorite things, like Disneyland in China, or Hollywood if they addict movie, Australia when they really impressed with kangaroo, etc. After that, you can start to tell story about another fascinating things about one country. Without realize it, they will start to love geographic without any force.
Better if you can also introduce about province in Indonesia too (or your own country). There are a lot of area with different culture, food, and language, beautiful scenery, in Indonesia itself. Indonesia children will begin to love about Indonesia heritage first, while they also gain geography knowledge. It also fun and smart activity to tight your relationship, and make you as a precedent for your child. You can start to your child, brother, or nephew too 🙂