The educational value of the calendar is one of our themes in the River Houses, and we divide the homeschool year into four three-month terms (quarters) that are named after prominent seasonal constellations of the northern hemisphere:
- 🦢 Fall or Cygnus Term (September–November)
- 🗡 Winter or Orion Term (December–February)
- 🦁 Spring or Leo Term (March–May)
- 💪 Summer or Hercules Term (June–August)
Today, January 15th, is the midpoint of Orion Term — in many old calendrical systems it would be called the cross-quarter day of Orion Term.
The cross-quarter day of each term is a good day to look around and see how things are going. Is your schedule working well? Did you have a plan for some task or project that didn’t turn out as expected and just needs to be dropped? Is there something new you need to add?
If you haven’t done so already, why not print out some of our simple one-page educational calendars and planners — they won’t constrain you, and they’ll help you create a light structure for your own homeschool year:
And also if you haven’t yet, why not sign up for our free email newsletter — it’s just one message a week, all educational, with no politics and no spam:
If you belong to other online or offline homeschool groups, won’t you share our newsletter link with them? We’d be delighted to have more subscribers!
What calendrical events have you and your students been marking and what educational discoveries have you been making in your homeschool this Orion Term? 😊
❡ Quarter days and cross-quarter days: Dividing the year into quarters is an ancient and natural practice: the annual movement of the sun across the sky automatically gives us two equinoxes, two solstices, and four seasons. Our four terms are just a simple modification of that arrangement so that our River Houses calendar will align more conveniently with the “meteorological seasons” (rather than the astronomical seasons) and also with the customary American school year. In many traditional calendrical systems, going back into the Middle Ages, the first day of each quarter is called the quarter day and the midpoint of each quarter is called the cross-quarter day. That means the quarter days of the River Houses year are 1 September, 1 December, 1 March, and 1 June, and the cross-quarter days are 16 October, 14 January (15 January in Leap Years), 15 April, and 16 July. (Fun fact: a vestige of the old system of quarter and cross-quarter days is Groundhog Day, also known as Candlemas on the Christian calendar: it’s the cross-quarter day between the winter solstice and the spring equinox.) Quarter days have for centuries been the traditional days on which school terms began, so homeschoolers who follow our four-term River Houses calendar are participating in a very ancient tradition indeed. 🗓
❡ Here, said the year: This is one of our regular posts about the seasons, months, and terms that make up the River Houses Homeschool Year. Add your name to our free mailing list to get more great homeschool teaching ideas delivered right to your mailbox every week. 📫
❡ Homeschool calendars: We have a whole collection of free, printable, educational homeschool calendars and planners available on our main River Houses calendar page. They will help you create a light and easy structure for your homeschool year. Give them a try today! 🗓
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❡ Join us! The aim of the River Houses project is to create a network of friendly local homeschool support groups — local chapters that we call “Houses.” Our first at-large chapter, Headwaters House, is now forming and is open to homeschoolers everywhere. Find out how to become one of our founding members on the Headwaters House membership page. 🏡