Here’s a wonderful way to explore geography with elementary aged children and work in a bit of history, too. Charlotte Mason’s Elementary Geography and Long’s Home Geography for Primary Grades are both available for free through public domain. Not only that, but they’re available in a variety of formats, including online, as Kindle books and even as printable books with pictures.
Both of these books teach in the popular Charlotte Mason style, which utilizes educational methods such as learning through “living” books and poetry (real literature that’s related to the topic instead of dry textbooks), nature studies and drawing. The tones are conversational in nature and the books use a combination of informative text, poetry, stories, pictures and sketches, discussion questions and assignments.
Home Geography for Primary Grades by C. C. Long is available at Project Gutenberg to view or download via HTML, Kindle with images, Kindle without images, EPUB and more. It contains 45 lessons that include related poetry and a combination of text, follow-up questions for discussion and written exercises. Topics include the sun, seasons, directions, distance, precipitation, drawing plans, the water cycle, types of land and waters, and so on.
Charlotte Mason’s Elementary Geography is available in HTML form online. It includes 41 lessons about topics such as place, points of a compass, meanings of maps, the motion of the earth and more, taught through narrative text, poetry and discussion questions. Charlotte Mason taught that this book should be read twice during the elementary years.
The Unplugged Family also offers both of these books as printable books for free. They say:
These are PDF files of both Elementary Geography written by Charlotte Mason and Long’s Home Geography for Primary Grades. These are both wonderful, living geography books that we use in our home. They are also recommended by Ambleside.
This is an excellent way to make your own affordable printed versions of the books. The Unplugged Family explains:
The basic files, when printed as they are given online, printed poorly for me. I wanted to create PDFs where the images and wording all lined up and they were easy to print off for binding or home use in a binder. I was able to send these off to Staples to be printed (I did double sided) and bound for about $10 each.
Be sure to note that the Charlotte Mason book is Christian in nature. The Long book appears to be secular, with the exception of two religious poems.
These are wonderful resources to introduce children to geography and help them learn more about our world.