Tour the United States and travel the countries of the world each week with the River Houses. Our Sunday States & Countries posts will point the way.
Many homeschoolers like to 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 422), so this week’s state is:
- 🇺🇸 FLORIDA (the 27th state, 3 March 1845) — The Sunshine State. Capital: Tallahassee. Florida appears on pages 568–569 in your almanac, and on plates #42 and #142 in your atlas. Name origin: “Named by Juan Ponce de León Pascua Florida, ‘Flowery Easter,’ on Easter Sunday, 1513″ (almanac page 423). State bird: Northern Mockingbird. Website: www.myflorida.com.
❡ Little lessons: You can teach a hundred little lessons with the state-of-the-week, using your reference library (riverhouses.org/books) as a starting point. Find the location of the state capital in your atlas. Look up the state bird in your bird guide. 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 your local library. The possibilities are endless and they can be easily adapted to each student’s age and interests. Pick a simple pattern to follow for a few minutes each week, and by the end of the year, without even realizing it, your students will have absorbed a world of new geographical and historical information.
❡ Explore more: If you’re planning a comprehensive unit study of one or more of the U.S. states, be sure to investigate the excellent collection of primary source materials for teachers available from the Library of Congress (loc.gov/teachers/classroommaterials/primarysourcesets/states).
This week’s countries, with their official websites, are:
- 🇲🇼 MALAWI in southeast Africa. Population: 19,196,246. Capital: Lilongue. Website (in English): www.malawi.gov.mw.
- 🇲🇾 MALAYSIA at the southeast corner of Asia. Population: 31,381,992. Capital: Kuala Lumpur. Website (in Malay and English): www.malaysia.gov.my.
- 🇲🇻 MALVIDES in the Indian Ocean. Population: 392,709. Capital: Male. Website (in English): presidencymaldives.gov.mv.
- 🇲🇱 MALI in West Africa. Population: 17,885,245. Capital: Bamako. Website (in French): primature.gov.ml.
These all appear in your current almanac, atlas, and history encyclopedia as well. For example, you’ll find the main entries for Malawi on almanac pages 801–802, atlas plates #100 and #135, and history encyclopedia page 566, 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 in your homeschool lately?