Tour the United States and travel the countries of the world each week 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:
- New York (26 July 1788, the 11th state) — The Empire State. Capital: Albany. New York appears on pages 581–582 in your almanac, and on plates 43 and 44 (among others) in your atlas. Name origin: “For James, Duke of York and Albany, who received patent for New Netherland from his brother Charles II and sent an expedition to capture it, 1664” (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 each student’s age and interests.
This week’s countries, with links to their official websites, are:
- Costa Rica (Spanish only), in Central America. Capital: San José.
- Cote d’Ivoire (French only), in West Africa. Capital(s): Yamoussoukro and Abidjan.
- Croatia (English and Croatian), in Southeastern Europe. Capital: Zagreb.
- Cuba (Spanish only), in the West Indies. Capital: Havana.
These all appear in your current almanac, atlas, and history encyclopedia as well. For example, you’ll find the main entries for Cote d’Ivoire (formerly the Ivory Coast, in English) on almanac pages 766–767, atlas plates 97 and 131, and history encyclopedia page 561, 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: 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 analysis skills.