Geography is personal from an early age, as demonstrated by some cleaver little boys in an airport (see post Personal Geography #1). I can empathize with that little boy; home is a beautiful place! I felt like that as a child. For me, it was Farley Place in Birmingham, Alabama...steeped in pine tree towers, a creek, a fort in the woods and great places to journey on my bicycle. Yes, my entire world was accessible with try trusty electric blue Schwinn with the sparkle seat, handlebar streamers and playing cards clothes-pinned to the spokes so you heard me coming!
The rules were clear. Anywhere on the loop was fine for a ride around but no stopping. Stopping and visiting had to be pre-approved by the management (Mom and Dad). In general, the measure of an okay distance was within ear shod of Daddy's distinctive whistle which you really could hear for about a block and a half away...as long as you stayed outside...also a rule.
Just once, I made the mistake of playing inside Kelly's house and missed the "come home for dinner" whistle. As I didn't respond (and he had a good idea where I was), Dad came to her house to "drag me home." BIG MISTAKE! My beloved electric blue adventure machine was imprisoned in the shed, locked away, for a month....in the summer! I cried. Lesson learned.
I've often had students (young and old) make personal maps when teaching geographic or introducing spatial concepts. Just draw it out...what do you see? How do you remember it? It's also powerful to share your map. My students, especially middle school and high school students, love seeing "my house." They can also see that you don't expect a Picasso-quality work of art! This kind of activity is a great starting point and makes students appreciate the cool GIS maps that appear on the screen so easily. Remember that personal perspective is an integral part of reading, writing and thinking about any subject.
Personal Geography #1: http://gisined.blogspot.com/2010/08/personal-geography-1-theres-no-place.html
Personal Geography #2: http://gisined.blogspot.com/2010/08/personal-geography-2-north-south-east.html