Living Stones Academy

Educating by atmosphere, discipline, and life

Map work

on September 12, 2015

There was once a wonderful blog showing how British schools taught children to draw their own maps. Recently the subject came up during our monthly Charlotte Mason support meetings, and I told everyone there was a blog post about it. Alas, my searching revealed that the blog itself was discontinued, and although the blogger have links to the place to which she had migrated, that and most of her past posts were gone. Well, there was nothing for it. I would have to do it myself. I hope I’m not infringing on anything or anyone. In my mind it’s a way of doing something and I’m not claiming it as my own, so we’re all good. 

I had (sort of) been using the method described by Sonya Shafer of Simply Chatlotte Mason. Weekly, I would give the kids a map, we’d review the countries/places we knew, then add a new place or two. It was working ok but I admit to not doing it “correctly”. I wasn’t drilling in a way to help the information stick. This year I plan to be better about it, and in addition to using the blank maps and drills, we’re  picking one continent per term to focus on, and we’ll draw our own map. 

I am doing maps with my kids in conjunction with their history and actual geography readings. But map drill, as it is, I am doing once a week before our Spanish lesson. I’m using it to find the places in the world where Spanish is widely spoken. Last term we did a broad world map. This term, we’ll focus on South America. 

First, I start with a map outline. 

I know it’s not totally blank, one of my kids had started to write place names in. I’d already given my totally blank copy to another child to color. Anyway. 

Next, place a sheet of tracing paper over it and trace all the lines. It’s best to use a simple blank map without rivers and such just to make this part a little easier. 

Now turn the tracing paper over, and with a soft pencil, use the side of the pencil to scribble over your traced lines. Be sure to do this on the tabletop or a piece of paper you don’t care about as your traced lines will transfer. Which is the point eventually, just not yet. 

My one son is not quite finished. When he’s done, he’ll turn it over and place it on a blank sheet of paper. You could also get a nice sketch book and make a book of maps for your child to keep. I may still do that. I wasn’t prepared yet though. 

This is mine. I used a charcoal pencil that honestly was too much. I wouldn’t recommend it. 

Now you will go back over your traced lines, pressing with a little bit of force, to transfer your drawing to the other sheet of paper. Basically you are creating a carbon copy. Once it’s transferred, the lines will be a bit faint, so go back over them with a pen or marker. 

 You can see how my charcoal pencil smudged things. After I was done with the pen I went back and cleaned up with an eraser. 

And now you have your map! You can the. Go back, color it in, label things, add rivers and other topography, add capitols, whatever you like. This is my finished map, which I completed while giving my eldest his dictation lesson: 

You can use this for a continent or for a single country. I hope this was helpful. 🙂


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