Common Sense Geography.

Please correct me if I am wrong, but are our schools, both public, private, and home school or wherever our children are getting their education, is geography no longer being taught in our schools??? At any level? From elementary schools know their own state and where it is in the country much less where the first 13 states are, the biggest and littlest, and everything in between? Then in middle school not knowing the 7 continents and the major countries that occupy them, to then God forbid High School where you learn the history of regions and how the nations of today where formed, because the certainly are not the same ones that I grew up with especially during the U.S.S.R. (for those of you that you do not know, that is the former United Soviet Socialist Republic).

I feel very fortunate to have had the public education that I did, in the area for the country that I did. However, I cannot say the same for the rest of those educated in my state. To prove my point, I often fly back and forth from Orlando to Providence on a pretty regular basis. Those flights are often completely packed flights with families and snow birds. 9 times out 10 the weather is perfect as we fly up or down the coast, so if you are fortunate enough to get a window seat or middle seat you can watch what we are flying over. It is truly beautiful to follow it. But when you are sitting near someone and they are telling the person traveling with them that oh look, see that is Washington DC when flying over Norfolk Virginia. The kicker is when flying along Long Island, NY and the Connecticut shoreline is on the north side of the island (yes it is an island) to hear, that is Rhode Island. Then when we finally get over the Rhode Island shoreline, and they say ‘Wow, Rhi-dye-land is really close to Neww Yorrk’, then proceed to explain that the Islands in the Narragansett Bay. Did you know that Jamestown, Newport, Middletown and Portsmouth are the same??? Seriously??? Folks that live in Rhode Island, how to you not know your own states geography??? If you have to take a bridge to get on and off it, it is an island.

Now onto those folks who travel west, we have Great Lakes. In fact we have 5, 4 of which we share with shore lines with Canada. If you don’t know what they are, here is an acronym that I learned in 3rd grade: H-Huron O-Ontario M-Michigan,  E-Erie, S-Superior . They spell Homes. Some of our major US cities are on these lakes. Those that don’t know them, get an atlas or a map. I am not a teacher and do not have the patience to make up for the years of the missing education that you did not receive.

I could go on. But my advice is this. Teachers, please teach geography starting in elementary school. Start with the town, then state, region then entire country. In middle school, North America and the global basics (the 7 continents), oceans, seas, mountain ranges, rivers and desserts. In High School, break it down into concentrations of areas around the globe and their significance. It is important. Especially in this day and age with all that is happening.

I grew up when President Reagan, dismantled the United Soviet Socialist Republic and countries that were once independent then took over by USSR and were then free again. The take down of the Berlin Wall. The return of Hong Kong to China. Where the smallest of nations, are the strongest and some of the scariest. Regimes have come and gone and how the USA still remains. Geography is key, to understanding history. Every bit of history, from how towns and villages were formed, why and when. Learn it. Know it. GET A MAP!!! GET AN ATLAS!!! Use how to use them! They are fun! Better yet a AAA Membership.

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