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 includes a current world almanac, a world atlas, and a history encyclopedia that make these reviews fun and easy. We’ve spent the entire past year on our grand States & Countries world tour, and this week we conclude with the whole Earth itself and the wonderful Universe beyond:
- 🌎 THE EARTH — The Blue Planet, Third Rock from the Sun. Capitals: 196 of them, listed here over the entire past year. The Earth as a whole can be found on plates 3–25 in your homeschool atlas. Don’t miss the opportunity to go through that wonderful set of thematic maps with your students, covering everything from topography to population to vegetation to climate to transportation to Internet connectivity and more. Your almanac, too, has facts and figures about the physical Earth on pages 385–386 and in many other locations throughout the volume.
A new River Houses tour of the world will begin next month with the new 2021–2022 homeschool year! Print out your own States & Countries Calendar on our main calendar page and follow along with us as we explore the Blue Planet. 😊
❡ Little lessons: You can teach a hundred little lessons with our state-of-the-week posts, using your reference library 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. 😊
❡ Maps to color: National Geographic has a large blank United States map and a blank world map, complete with flags, printable in sections and ready to receive the colored pencils of your students. Why not give them a try this week. 🖍
And now that you’ve spent a year touring everything on the entire Earth 🌐, the whole rest of the Universe awaits you!
- 🌌 THE UNIVERSE is beautifully illustrated in your recommended homeschool atlas beginning with plate 120 (10th and 11th ed.). You’ll find star-maps for the northern and southern hemispheres, detailed maps of the Moon and Mars, a beautiful chart of the solar system and all the planets, and two amazing illustrations of the Milky Way and the scope of everything that is known. Those few plates are enough to teach an entire year of homeschool astronomy — don’t miss the opportunity to share them with your young scholars today. 🔭
If we lived in a more enlightened age, the background image of the “Universe” plate in your atlas (10th ed., plate 127; 11th ed., plate 128) would be recognized the world over as one of the most significant photographs ever taken, like Neil Armstrong’s photograph of Buzz Aldrin standing on the surface of the moon. It’s an image called the Hubble Ultra-Deep Field, taken by the Hubble Space Telescope in 2004. The image spans a tiny sliver of the night sky, about one tenth of the diameter of the moon, in the southern constellation Fornax, and it reveals more than 10,000 galaxies, some of them approximately thirteen billion light-years away — the most distant and the most ancient objects ever seen.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our geographical explorations over the 2020–2021 River Houses year. What grand geographical discoveries will you be making in the wonderful homeschool year ahead? 😊
❡ 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 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 (10th and 11th eds.) 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 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 to get more great homeschool teaching ideas delivered right to your mailbox every week. 🇺🇸 🌎