A Fascinating Look at Time and Geography in Your Homeschool

Quick, what do you remember about latitude and longitude? I think most of us can recall that latitude runs horizontally and longitude is vertical. The other big one is that the equator is right around the middle. That’s all we need to know, right? Why would latitude and longitude for kids be anything more?

But there is so much more!

An in-depth look at latitude and longitude will provide you with a fascinating look at nature, science, history, and math. It’s the ultimate rabbit trail, so get ready to be amazed.

I’ve created this post to be used independently on in conjunction with the Journey North Mystery Class. Here is my post about the mystery class that will walk you through all the steps needed to identify the mystery locations. Geography is an endless topic that I love to study, but the primary focus of this post is on latitude and longitude.

Latitude and Longitude for Kids

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First, Take a Look at the Seasons

Let’s start this geography exploration at the beginning with seasons. Why are there seasons and what can they tell us about the location of a place on earth?

We need two things for our seasons: the earth’s 23.5° tilt on its axis and the 365-day orbit of our planet around the sun.

But how does this cause seasons? As the earth orbits the sun, the distance from the sun of each hemisphere changes. When the northern hemisphere is closer to the sun, it’s summer. When the southern hemisphere is farther from the sun, it’s winter.

My girls always marvel at the thought that it is summer in Australia during Christmas time.

The Reason for the Seasons by Gail Gibbons

Sunshine Makes the Seasons by Franklyn Branley

Why Do the Seasons Change by Melissa Stewart

Sun Up, Sun Down: The Story of Day and NIght by Jacqui Bailey

How Do We Measure Time?

Have you ever stopped to wonder why we have hours? Or days? Time just exists, whether we measure and standardize it or not.

However, the history of man’s desire to keep time is fascinating! SciShow often feels directed towards the younger kids, but this one is certainly for the older kids. It’s very in-depth and packed with information.

We say that the earth makes one revolution on its axis every 24 hours, but it’s every 23 hours, 56 minutes, and 4 seconds! What do we do with that extra time?

Leap year! Here’s a look at how all that works.

However, we can also look at how sunrise and sunset times are affected by the tilt of the earth as is revolves around the sun. Locations on the equator (latitude 0 °) have an equal number of daylight (12) and night (12) hours.

However, as you move either north or south from the equator, those times change depending on the season (or location of the earth in its orbit around the sun).  See how it’s all coming together?

You can also learn about sundials and make your own!

I Wonder Why the Sun Rises: and Other Questions About Time by Barbara Taylor

Where on Earth? Understanding Latitude and Longitude by Robert A. Rutherford

The Man Who Made Time Travel by Kathryn Lasky and Kevin Hawkes

This Book is About Time by Marilyn Burns

The Story of Clocks and Calendars by Betsy Maestro and Giulio Maestro

On Earth by G. Brian Karas

It’s About Time by Stuart Murphy

Me Counting Time: From Seconds to Centuries by Joan Sweeney

Me On the Map by Joan Sweeney

We Need Directions by Sarah E De Capua

Looking at Maps and Globes by Carmen Bredeson

Where the Sunrise Begins by Douglas Woods

Putting Together Longitude and Latitude for Kids

Latitude is a much easier delineation to understand, but longitude has always puzzled me. The Journey North Mystery Class finally made the idea of longitude make sense, though it can still seem difficult.

How Do You Know What Time It Is? By Robert E. Wells

The Longitude Prize by Joan Dash

Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time by Dava Sobel

The Illustrated Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time by Dava Sobel

It’s About Time by Liz Evers

As you dive deep into you look at geography, cartography, and time, there are some other useful resources to have available.

A globe has so many uses when homeschooling, it’s a must-have!

Wall maps can also be a useful addition.

Puzzles can be fun for all ages. This eeBoo puzzle is 100 pieces and would be great for the slightly older crowd, and the Petit Collage Floor Puzzle is perfect for the younger children.

There are also interactive games to give their new skills with latitude and longitude a try.

Just Getting Started

This post certainly isn’t an exhaustive list of all the possible directions your study of latitude and longitude can take you, but it should keep you busy for a while.

Latitude and longitude can be a difficult concept for kids (and adults) to comprehend, but hopefully, this has given you some fun and exciting resources to use and pique their interest.

However, there is no need to stop with this list! See where this rabbit trail can take you and let me know. Geography is one of my favorite subjects.

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About Bethany Ishee

Bethany is the mom of six, always-homeschooled children, who one day realized she'd lost herself in the process, probably under a pile of laundry. Her eclectic style of homeschooling draws upon Classical to Unschooling and everything in between.  While homeschooling her children and writing about learning outside of school, she tries to find time to read a book, drink coffee, and pay the bills.

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