Tour the United States and travel the countries of the world with the River Houses.
Many homeschoolers review the U.S. states and the nations of the world each year, and the recommended River Houses reference library includes a current world almanac, a world atlas, and a history encyclopedia that make these reviews fun and easy. We are going through the states in the traditional order of admission to the Union (almanac page 453), so this week’s state is:
- Massachusetts (6 February 1788, the 6th state) — The Bay State. Massachusetts appears on page 575 in your almanac, and on plate 44 in your atlas. Name origin: “From Indian tribe whose name meant ‘at or about the Great Hill’ in Blue Hills region south of Boston” (almanac page 455, in telegraphic style).
❡ What can you do with the state of the week? A thousand things, with your reference library as a starting point. Find the state bird with your almanac and look it up in your bird guide. Trace the state’s outline with your atlas. 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 the library — the possibilities are endless and they can be easily adjusted according to a student’s age and interests.
This week’s countries, with links to their official websites, are:
- Bolivia (Spanish only), in west-central South America.
- Bosnia and Herzegovina (English and several other languages), in southeastern Europe.
- Botswana (English and Setswana), in southern Africa.
- Brazil (Portuguese only), in eastern South America.
These all appear in your current almanac, atlas, and history encyclopedia as well. For example, you’ll find the main entries for Botswana on almanac pages 755–756, atlas plates 100 and 101, and history encyclopedia page 568, with illustrations, flags, and other mentions available through the indexes in each volume.
What geographical discoveries have you made in your homeschool this week? 😊
❡ Read and think critically: Note that the country links above go to official websites, which are not always in English and which may well be propagandistic in one form or another, thus offering older students a good opportunity to practice their critical reading and thinking skills.