Click to: riverhouses.org/2020-hawaii
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 our recommended homeschool reference library (riverhouses.org/books) includes a current world almanac, a world atlas, and a history encyclopedia that make these reviews fun and easy. Our annual review begins at the start of the River Houses year in September and goes through the states in the traditional order of admission to the Union (almanac page 420), so this week’s state is — the last one!
- 🇺🇸 HAWAII (the 50th state, 21 August 1959) — The Aloha State. Capital: Honolulu. Hawaii can be found on page 568 in your almanac and on plates 46 and 142 in your atlas. Name origin: “Possibly derived from Hawaiki or Owhyhee, Polynesian word for ‘homeland’” (almanac page 422). State bird: Hawaiian Goose (Nene). Website: portal.ehawaii.gov.
❡ Little lessons: You can teach a hundred little lessons with our 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 each week. 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 just a few minutes each week and your little lesson is done. By the end of the year, without even realizing it, your students will have absorbed a wealth of new geographical and historical information, as well as a host of valuable reading and research skills. 😊
❡ Explore more: If you’re planning an extended unit-study of one or more of the U.S. states, be sure to look into the primary source materials for teachers available at the Library of Congress.
We finished our tour of the nations of the world last week with Zimbabwe, so this week, to keep tropical Hawaii company, we’ll do polar Antarctica, the only non-national continent in the world:
- 🇦🇶 ANTARCTICA, surrounding the South Pole and surrounded by the Southern Ocean. Population: Antarctica is the only continent that has never had a native human population. It is occupied today by about a thousand scientists scattered at various research stations across the continent (this number is lower in the winter and higher in the summer). Capital: Antarctica isn’t a nation-state, so it has no capital. The main research stations are located on the Antarctic Peninsula, at McMurdo Sound, and at the South Pole. Government: Antarctica is governed by an international treaty that went into force in 1961. You can read more about it on the comprehensive Antarctic Treaty System page in Wikipedia. Website: The Internet registration system has created the top-level domain of .aq for Antarctica, but I haven’t been able to find any websites that actually use it — perhaps you’ll be able to discover one! The United States research programs in Antarctica (www.usap.gov) are administered by the National Science Foundation; their website is full of information and even provides some live webcams of Antarctic scenery. ❄️
❡ Update: I found a website that does use the official .aq domain: the Secretariat of the Antarctic Treaty (www.ats.aq).
Even though Antarctica has no native human population, it has had a rich history since the nineteenth century when its outlines were first descried. The “heroic age of Antarctic exploration” is a wonderful subject of study for any adventurous homeschooler. Your River Houses atlas (riverhouses.org/books) also has a great map of the Antarctic continent (plate 113) with extensive notes and annotations — it’s quite worthy of exploration itself! Even your River Houses history encyclopedia has a brief outline of Antarctic history as the very last item in its collection of national history profiles (page 599).
What grand global geographical excursions (real or virtual) have you made in your homeschool this Hercules Term? 😊
❡ Come, here’s the map: Teaching your students to be fluent with high-quality maps — not just basically competent, but fluent — is one of the best educational gifts you can give them. Why not look up any one of our selected states or countries each week in your recommended homeschool atlas (riverhouses.org/books) and show your students how to locate rivers, lakes, marshes, water depths, mountains and their elevations, highway numbers, airports, oil fields, railroads, ruins, battle sites, small towns, big cities, regional capitals, national capitals, parks, deserts, glaciers, borders, grid references, lines of longitude and latitude, and much more. There is so much information packed into professional maps of this kind that a magnifying glass is always helpful, even for young folks with good eyesight. The endpapers of the atlas and the technical map-reading information on Plate 2 will guide you in your voyages of discovery. 🗺
❡ The great globe itself: This is one of our regular Sunday States & Countries posts. Print your own River Houses States & Countries Calendar (riverhouses.org/calendars) and follow along with us as we take an educational tour of the United States and the whole world over the course of the homeschool year. And don’t forget to add your name to our free mailing list (riverhouses.org/newsletter) to get more great homeschool teaching ideas delivered right to your mailbox every week. 🇺🇸 🌎