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 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, with a link to its official website, is:
- Tennessee (1 June 1796, the 16th state) — The Volunteer State. Capital: Nashville. Tennessee appears on page 587 in your almanac, and on plates #42 and #142 in your atlas. Name origin: “Tanasi was the name of Cherokee villages on the Little Tennessee River. From 1784 to 1788, this was the State of Franklin, or Frankland” (almanac page 455).
¶ You can do a thousand things 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 links to their official websites, are:
- Gabon (French only), on the west coast of Africa. Capital: Libreville.
- The Gambia (English), on the west coast of Africa. Capital: Banjul.
- Georgia (English and Georgian), in southwest Asia on the Black Sea. Capital: Tblisi.
- Germany (English, French, and German), in Central Europe. Capital: Berlin.
These all appear in your current almanac, atlas, and history encyclopedia as well. For example, you’ll find the main entries for the Republic of Georgia (not to be confused with the U.S. state of Georgia) on almanac page 778, atlas plates #80 and #133, and history encyclopedia pages 570–571, 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.