Remembering 9/11: Many homeschoolers this week will be looking for ways to remember and teach about the attacks of September 11, 2001. One simple and moving memorial was the singing of the U.S. National Anthem by the congregation of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London just three days later, on September 14th:
St. Paul’s is one of the world’s most famous churches, designed by Sir Christopher Wren after the great London fire of 1666 that destroyed much of the city. It survived the London bombings during World War II and has played an important role in the life of the English people for more than three centuries.
For a Poem of the Week we will take “The Star-Spangled Banner,” written (as a poem) by Francis Scott Key in 1814 during another attack on the United States. You’ll find its history on page 517 in your almanac, and on the website of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History.
The Star-Spangled Banner
Francis Scott Key
O say can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;
O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
States and Countries: Many homeschoolers like to review the U.S. states and the nations of the world regularly, and since there are 50 states and 196 nations, it’s easy to cover them all over the course of a year with one state and four countries per week. The recommended River Houses reference library includes a world almanac, a world atlas, and a history encyclopedia that make these reviews fun and easy. We’re following the traditional order of admission to the Union (almanac page 453), so this week’s state is:
Pennsylvania (12 December 1787) — The Keystone State. Pennsylvania appears on pages 584–585 in your almanac, and on plate 43 in your atlas (where you can see its tiny shared border with Delaware, from last week). “William Penn, Quaker, who was made full proprietor of area by King Charles II in 1681, suggested ‘Sylvania,’ or ‘woodland,’ for this tract. The king’s government owed 16,000 pounds to Penn’s father, Adm. William Penn, and the land was granted as partial settlement. Charles II added ‘Penn’ to ‘Sylvania,’ against the modest proprietor’s desires, in honor of the admiral” (almanac page 455).
And this week’s countries, with links to their official websites, are:
- Angola (English and Portuguese), in southwestern Africa.
- Antigua and Barbuda (English), in the eastern Caribbean.
- Argentina (Spanish only), in southern South America.
- Armenia (Armenian, English, and Russian), in southwestern Asia.
These all appear in your almanac, atlas, and history encyclopedia as well. For example, you’ll find the main entries for the tiny island nation of Antigua and Barbuda on almanac page 748, atlas plate 49 (where you can also practice reading insets on a map), and history encyclopedia pages 504–505, 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 way or another, thus offering older students a good opportunity to practice their critical reading and thinking skills.
Monthly Monument: We will have a number of regular monthly features that you’re welcome to take up if they fit with your homeschooling schedule. If you’re remembering 9/11 and reviewing the state of Pennsylvania this week, why not also pay a virtual visit to the National Park Service’s Flight 93 National Memorial in Somerset County, Pennsylvania.
What do you have planned for your homeschool this month? 😊