Calendars create structure and shared calendars create community, and structure and community are two of the most important things you can give to your homeschool students.
We publish six one-page educational calendars each year for the River Houses, all in printable (pdf) format and all running from September through August — that’s the River Houses homeschool year. These calendars include regular events and anniversaries that we mark on our website and in our Facebook posts, and (eventually, as the River Houses develop) in local events and activities.
Print out the calendars for the topics that interest you, post them on your bulletin board, share them with your homeschool friends, and follow along with us as the year develops:
🗓 RIVER HOUSES CALENDAR 2019–2020 (pdf) — A simple one-page calendar of educational events, historical anniversaries, and holidays that will help create a light structure for your homeschool year. (If you’re just starting out, start with this one.)
🗓 River Houses Poetry Calendar 2019–2020 (pdf) — A calendar of forty-eight literary friends-for-life that your students can get to know over the course of the year. Most are high-school level works that you yourself may also enjoy — we discuss them each week in our “Wonderful Words” posts.
🗓 River Houses Star Calendar 2019–2020 (pdf) — A calendar of twelve great stars to name and know in the northern-hemisphere night sky. They are detailed each month in our “Star Bright” astronomy posts.
🗓 River Houses States & Countries Calendar 2019–2020 (pdf) — The annual schedule for our Sunday States & Countries posts that review all the U.S. states and the nations of the world over the course of the year.
🗓 River Houses World Heritage Calendar 2019–2020 (pdf) — The annual schedule for our Weekly World Heritage posts that introduce a different UNESCO World Heritage Site every Wednesday. Spend a few minutes with this calendar each week and learn a wealth of new historical, geographical, and cultural information.
🗓 River Houses Calendar of American Birds 2019–2020 (pdf) — The annual schedule for our Friday Bird Families posts that introduce a different North American bird family every week, and that teach a little science and natural history along the way.
And here’s a one-page conventional calendar for the whole school year in a matching style:
🗓 The River Houses Homeschool Year 2019–2020 (pdf) — A standard day-week-month page to accompany the specialized calendars above, showing the whole year at a glance.
❡ Cygnus, Orion, Leo, and Hercules: As you’ll see on our printed calendars, we divide the homeschool year into four three-month terms named for prominent northern hemisphere constellations: Cygnus Term (September–November), Orion Term (December–February), Leo Term (March–May), and Hercules Term (June–August). You can read more about them in our regular blog posts at each term’s beginning.
We also have a printable weekly planner — a one-page blank schedule with two columns that will let you map out two weeks in advance. Print it double-sided and fold it lengthwise and you’ll have a whole month on one handy half-sheet that you can easily pin to your bulletin board or attach to the refrigerator door:
🗓 River Houses Weekly Homeschool Planner 2019–2020 (pdf) — A simple one-page schedule with two columns to keep track of two weeks at a glance.
❡ Students can use it too: Why not print some extra copies of this simple planner for your students and teach them how to use it to keep track of their own work. Have them record the topics they are studying, or the number of pages they read each week, or the temperature at noon each day, or the birds they see at the family bird-feeder. Drop the completed planner pages into a folder each month and you’ll have a ready-made record of your students’ homeschool accomplishments throughout the year.
Our annual calendars are not specific to any particular curriculum — they are enrichment tools that you can use to supplement whatever curriculum you choose to follow. They will give a light structure to your homeschool year and will help you furnish your students’ minds with facts, ideas, experiences, concepts, and language that will let them build up their own picture of the world around them.
The items in these calendars can be incorporated into your teaching schedule in a great variety of ways, from simple to complex. You could (for example) take five minutes at lunch every November 19th to read the Gettysburg Address aloud, and with that your little lesson is done. Alternatively, you could make that entire week into a special Civil War history review each year, or a week to study famous American speeches, or Pennsylvania geography. On the anniversary of the first moon landing (July 20th, which is also Gregor Mendel’s birthday) you could have your students memorize the famous line “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind” — one of history’s most famous quotations. Alternatively, you could use that anniversary as a focal point for a week-long study of space exploration, or the geology of the moon, or of how someone becomes an astronaut. As you (the teacher) browse these calendars each month, be on the lookout for names, dates, places, and vocabulary words that you can drop into your daily conversations with your students — items that you can reinforce each week by taking note of various calendar events.
Add to these simple calendars as you see fit. Perhaps in your homeschool you’d like to include a monthly mountain, or museum, or Messier object. Or perhaps a weekly wildlife refuge or a weekly work of art. Special dates that are important in your local community should have a place as well: your hometown’s famous Fall Rutabaga Festival, for example, or the annual May Queen Parade, or the first day of trout-fishing season. Every town and region has its own distinctive annual rhythm, and by adding your local events to our more general calendars you will comfortably anchor your students in their home communities and in the cultural, historical, and natural world.
Shared calendars create community. When your calendar overlaps mine, and both our calendars overlap our neighbors’, then we are a community and our strengths are multiplied. And a collection of strong local homeschool communities is just what we hope the River Houses will become. 😊
❡ Explore more: Your recommended River Houses almanac and history encyclopedia (riverhouses.org/books) contain a wealth of information about calendars, national and international holidays, historical events, astronomical alignments, and much more. Why not scan through them today for additional dates to include in your own personal homeschool calendar! 🗓