Quick Freshes are our regular Sunday notes on the homeschool week ahead. Pick one or two (or more) of the items below each week and use them to enrich your homeschooling schedule! Print your own River Houses calendar for the whole year at riverhouses.org/calendars.
🇺🇸 OUR STATE-OF-THE-WEEK is Virginia, and our COUNTRIES are Colombia 🇨🇴, the Comoros 🇰🇲, the Congo 🇨🇩, and the Congo Republic 🇨🇬. (Our separate Sunday States & Countries post will be up shortly.)
🌘 THE MOON at the beginning of this week is a waning crescent — a good time for stargazing! Track the moon’s phases each month at timeanddate.com, and dial up this week’s constellations with your River Houses star atlas (riverhouses.org/books).
🗓 TODAY (Sunday, 4 November) — Today is the 308th day of 2018; there are 57 days remaining in the year. Learn more about different kinds of modern and historical calendars on pages 351–357 in your River Houses almanac (riverhouses.org/books). ⬩ It’s also the birthday of “Oklahoma’s favorite son,” the American actor and humorist Will Rogers (1879–1935).
MONDAY (5 November) — On this day in 1605, the Gunpowder Plot to bomb the opening session of the English Parliament and assassinate King James I was foiled and the plotter Guy Fawkes and his co-conspirators were arrested. (“Remember, remember, the Fifth of November….”) ⬩ Today is also the birthday of British poet and playwright James Elroy Flecker (1884–1915).
TUESDAY (6 November) — It’s Election Day in the United States! (Traditionally, the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.) 🇺🇸 Today is also the birthday of American composer and conductor John Philip Sousa (1854–1932). 🎺 And since this is the first Tuesday of the month, today we’ll invite you to browse a new Dewey Decimal class with your students on your next visit to your local library. This month: Class 100 (Philosophy and Psychology).
WEDNESDAY (7 November) — On this day in 1492, a meteorite struck the earth near the village of Ensisheim, France. This Ensisheim meteorite is the oldest recovered meteorite with a known date of impact. 🌠 Today is also the birthday of the Polish-French physicist and Nobel laureate Marie Curie (1867–1934).
THURSDAY (8 November) — Today is the birthday of the English mathematician and astronomer Edmond Halley (1656–1742), of comet fame. ☄️ It’s also the birthday of Irish novelist Bram Stoker (1847–1912), the inventor of Count Dracula. 🧛 And on this day in 1895, German physicist Wilhelm Röntgen accidentally discovered x-rays. ⬩ Our homeschool poem-of-the-week for 8–14 November is Vance Palmer’s “The Farmer Remembers the Somme,” for Veterans Day (Armistice Day). Print your own River Houses poetry calendar at riverhouses.org/calendars and follow along with us throughout the year.
FRIDAY (9 November) — On this day in 1620, the Pilgrims aboard the Mayflower sighted land at Cape Cod, Massachusetts. ⬩ On this day in 1985, at age 22, Garry Kasparov of the Soviet Union became the youngest World Chess Champion in history. ♚ And on this day in 1989, the Berlin Wall fell.
SATURDAY (10 November) — Today is the birthday of the German priest and monk Martin Luther (1483–1546), the leader of the Protestant Reformation. ⬩ It’s also the birthday of the English artist and satirist William Hogarth (1697–1764).
SUNDAY (11 November) — On this day in 1572, Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe observed a new star in the constellation Cassiopeia, now known as supernova SN 1572. 🌟 And on this day in 1918, at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the guns of World War I fell silent. The anniversary is marked as Veterans Day in the United States and as Armistice Day in many other countries. 🕊
🥂 YOUR WEEKLY TOAST: “May our councils be wise, and our commerce increase.”
❡ Toasts are a fun tradition for your family table. We offer one each week — you can take it up, or make up one of your own (“To North American dinosaurs!”), or invite a different person to come up with one for each meal (“To variety in toasting!”). Our current set of toasts are mostly taken from an old anthology called The Pic-Nic, a Collection of Recitations, and Comic Songs, Toasts, Sentiments, &c. (London, 1816). What will you toast this week?
🌎 EVERYTHING FLOWS: Colombia is one of our countries-of-the-week, so our Weekly World River is the Magdalena River (Rio Magdalena), one of the principal rivers of Colombia, flowing north into the Caribbean Sea. You can chart its course in your River Houses atlas (riverhouses.org/books), and you can read more about it in the Magdalena River entry in Wikipedia or perhaps on your next visit to your local library.
❡ Let the river run: Why not do a homeschool study of world rivers over the course of the year? Take the one we select each week (above), or start with the river lists in your almanac (pages 691–692), and make it a project to look them all up in your atlas, or in a handy encyclopedia either online or on a weekly visit to your local library. A whole world of geographical learning awaits you!
What do you have planned for your homeschool this week? 😊