For live links, click to: riverhouses.org/2019-utopian-calendar 😊
People have been trying to “reform” the world’s many date-keeping systems ever since date-keeping began. Lunar calendars, solar calendars, Julian calendars, Gregorian calendars, local calendars, perpetual calendars, leap years, leap seconds, extra days — the quest seems endless.
Here’s one person’s vision for a perfect calendar — Joseph Collins’ “Proposed Utopian Calendar” from 1939, now scanned and available from the Library of Congress, complete with notes for teachers (like you!) on how to use this primary source to get students thinking about calendars and history:
- ➔ Mathematics and Primary Sources: In Search of the Perfect Calendar (Teaching with the Library of Congress)
Collins was disturbed by the fact that the months didn’t all have the same number of days, and that the same date didn’t always fall on the same day of the week. So he devised a complex mathematical system to correct for these problems — and thanks to the Library’s educational programs you can read his proposal in his own words, explore his new calendar diagram, and use them to sharpen your students’ thinking skills. After your students have spent some time contemplating Collins’ calendar, challenge them to come up with one of their own. Can there ever be such a thing as a perfect calendar? If so, why don’t we use it? If not, why not?
What educational discoveries have you made at your library lately? 😊
❡ Dukedoms large enough: Have you found all the local libraries in your area? There may be more than you realize, and there’s no better homeschool field trip than a field trip to a new library! The WorldCat Library Finder will help you find all the library collections near you — public and private, large and small — and the WorldCat catalog itself will help you locate the closest copy of almost any book in the world. 😊
❡ Books in the running brooks: The sidebar on the River Houses website (riverhouses.org) has links to several important online library collections that we like to explore. Why not sit yourself down at a large screen for a while (rather than a phone), and give them a browse. 😊
❡ When in doubt, go to the library: This is one of our regular Homeschool Books & Libraries posts. Add your name to our free weekly mailing list (riverhouses.org/newsletter) and get more great homeschool teaching ideas delivered right to your mailbox all through the year. 📚