Quick Freshes: November 19th, today, is the 154th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address. Thanksgiving Day, the fourth Thursday in November, falls on the 23rd this year, coinciding with the anniversary of the death of the great English composer Thomas Tallis (ca. 1505–1583).
Your weekly toast: “A little health, a little wealth, a little house, and freedom.”
❡ Toasts can be a fun tradition for your family table. We offer one each week — you can take it up, or make up one of your own (“To North American dinosaurs!”), or invite a different person to come up with one for each meal (“To variety in toasting!”). Our weekly examples are currently selected and adapted for amusement from two 19th-century collections: W.T. Marchant’s “Toasts and sentiments” (1888), and the anonymous Social and Convivial Toast-Master (1841). What did you toast this week?
States and Countries: Many homeschoolers review the U.S. states and the nations of the world each year, and the recommended River Houses reference library includes a current world almanac, a world atlas, and a history encyclopedia that make these reviews fun and easy. We are going through the states in the traditional order of admission to the Union (almanac page 453), so this week’s state is:
- North Carolina (21 November 1789, the 12th state) — The Tar Heel State, the Old North State. North Carolina appears on page 582 in your almanac, and on plate 42 in your atlas. Name origin: “In 1619, Charles I gave patent to Sir Robert Heath for Province of Carolana, from Carolus, Latin name for Charles. Charles II granted a new patent to Earl of Clarendon and others. Divided into North and South Carolina in 1710″ (almanac page 455, in telegraphic style).
❡ What can you do with the state of the week? A thousand things, with 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 and they can be easily adjusted according to a student’s age and interests.
This week’s countries, with links to their official websites, are:
- Cyprus (English and Greek), in the eastern Mediterranean Sea.
- Czechia (Czech Republic) (English and Czech), in East-Central Europe.
- Denmark (English and several other languages), in Northern Europe.
- Djibouti (French only), on the east coast of Africa.
These all appear in your current almanac, atlas, and history encyclopedia as well. For example, you’ll find the main entries for Cyprus on almanac pages 768–769, atlas plates 72 and 96, and history encyclopedia page 550, with illustrations, flags, and other mentions available through the indexes in each volume.
What geographical discoveries have you made in your homeschool this week? 😊
❡ 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.