Whether we wake or we sleep,
Whether we carol or weep,
The Sun with his Planets in chime,
Marketh the going of Time.
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 four simple one-page educational calendars each year for the River Houses, all in printable (pdf) format. 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 these calendars, post them on your homeschool bulletin board, and follow along with us as the year develops:
🗓 River Houses Calendar 2018–2019 (pdf) — A year of educational events.
🗓 River Houses Poetry Calendar 2018–2019 (pdf) — Forty-eight friends for life.
🗓 River Houses States & Countries Calendar 2018–2019 (pdf) — The annual schedule for our Sunday States & Countries posts that go through all the U.S. states and the nations of the world over the course of the year.
❡ Interactive versions: We’re experimenting with Google Calendar as a way to produce interactive calendars that can be “layered.” Here a test version of our Poetry Calendar — give it a try and see if it is useful for you. A system like this would make it possible in the future for local houses and individuals to develop their own specialized calendars and share them with other interested members.
❡ Cygnus, Orion, Leo, and Hercules: As you’ll see on the printed calendars, we divide the homeschool year into four three-month terms named for prominent northern-hemisphere constellations. You can read more about these heavenly terms in our regular blog posts at each term’s beginning.
These simple calendars will give a light structure to your homeschool year and help you furnish your students’ minds with facts, experiences, ideas, and language that will let them build up a picture of the world around them and of their place in it.
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 on 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, 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.” 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, places, and vocabulary words that you can drop into your daily conversations with your students — items that you can reinforce each week by marking 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 comfortably anchor your students in their home communities and in the natural world around them.
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 (riverhouses.org/books) contains a wealth of information about calendars, international holidays, notable events, astronomical alignments, and much more. Why not scan through it today for additional dates to include in your own homeschool calendar! 🗓