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. This week: Missouri, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Latvia, and Lebanon.
Many homeschoolers review the U.S. states and the nations of the world each year, and your recommended 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, with a link to its official website, is:
- MISSOURI (the 24th state, 10 August 1821) — The Show Me State. Capital: Jefferson City. Missouri appears on pages 577–578 in your almanac, and on plates #39 and #142 in your atlas. Name origin: “Algonquin Indian term meaning ‘river of the big canoes’” (almanac page 423). State bird: Eastern Bluebird. Website: www.mo.gov.
¶ 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 each week, and by the end of the year, without even realizing it, your students will have absorbed a world of new geographical information.
This week’s countries, with their official websites, are:
- KYRGYZSTAN 🇰🇬 in Central Asia. Population: 5,789,122. Capital: Bishkek. Website (in Kyrgyz and Russian): www.gov.kg.
- LAOS 🇱🇦 in Southeast Asia. Population: 7,126,706. Capital: Vientiane. Website (in Lao and English): na.gov.la.
- LATVIA 🇱🇻 in Eastern Europe. Population: 1,944,643. Capital: Riga. Website (in Latvian, English, and Russian): mk.gov.lv.
- LEBANON 🇱🇧 in the Middle East. Population: 6,229,794. Capital: Beirut. Website (in Arabic): pcm.gov.lb.
These all appear in your current almanac, atlas, and history encyclopedia as well. For example, you’ll find the main entries for Central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan (what child will fail to be delighted by the spelling of Kyrgyzstan?) on almanac page 796, atlas plates #83 and #135, and history encyclopedia page 579, 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 lately?