Tour the United States and travel the countries of the world each week with the River Houses.
Many homeschoolers review the U.S. states and the nations of the world each year, and your River Houses reference library (riverhouses.org/books) includes a current world almanac, a world atlas, and a history encyclopedia that make these reviews fun and easy. We go through the states in the traditional order of admission to the Union (almanac page 453), so this week’s state is:
- LOUISIANA (30 April 1812, the 18th state) — The Pelican State. Capital: Baton Rouge. Louisiana appears on pages 573–574 in your almanac, and on plates #40 and #142 in your atlas. Name origin: “Part of territory called Louisiana by René-Robert Cavelier Sieur de La Salle for French King Louis XIV” (almanac page 455, in telegraphic style). Official website: louisiana.gov.
¶ You can teach a hundred little lessons with the state of the week, using your reference library as a starting point. Find the state bird with your almanac and look it up in your bird guide. Trace the state’s outline with your atlas. Read the almanac’s one-paragraph history aloud each week. Using each state’s official website (above), find and copy the preamble to that state’s constitution into a commonplace book over the course of the year. Practice math skills by graphing each state’s population and area. Look up the famous state residents listed in your almanac either online or at the library. The possibilities are endless, they can be as simple or as complex as you wish, and they can be easily adjusted according to each student’s age and interests.
This week’s countries, with their official websites, are:
- GUINEA in West Africa. Capital: Conakry. Official website (French only): gouvernement.gov.gn.
- GUINEA-BISSAU in West Africa. Capital: Bissau. Official website (Portuguese only): gov.gw.
- GUYANA on the north coast of South America. Capital: Georgetown. Official website (English): gina.gov.gy.
- HAITI in the West Indies. Capital: Port-au-Prince. Official website (French only): parlementhaitien.ht.
These all appear in your current almanac, atlas, and history encyclopedia as well. For example, you’ll find the main entries for the West Indian nation of Haiti on almanac pages 782–783, atlas plates #49 and #133, and history encyclopedia page 504, with illustrations, flags, and other mentions available through the indexes in each volume.
¶ Read and think critically. The country links above go to official websites, which are not always in English and which may well be propagandistic in one form or another, thus offering older students a good opportunity to practice their critical reading and thinking skills.
What geographical discoveries have you made this week?