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!
🇺🇸 OUR STATE-OF-THE-WEEK is Hawaii, the 50th state. Last week we finished our year-long review of COUNTRIES from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, so this week, to keep Hawaii company, we’ll round things out with Antarctica, the world’s only non-national continent. (Our separate Sunday States & Countries post will be up shortly.)
❡ Did you know…? You can teach a hundred little lessons with our “Quick Freshes” posts each week just by dropping questions into your daily conversations with your students and inviting them to discover more. For example: “Did you know that your Bob O’Hara, the host of the River Houses, has been to Antarctica?” You can find a beautiful annotated map of the south-polar continent on plate 113 in your River Houses atlas (riverhouses.org/books). The area around section D3 is where I’ve been.
🌒 THE MOON was new yesterday and so is today a thin waxing crescent, a great time for stargazing! Track the moon’s phases each month at timeanddate.com/moon/phases, and dial up this week’s constellations with your River Houses star atlas (riverhouses.org/books).
🗓 TODAY (Sunday, 12 August) — Today is the 224th day of 2018; there are 141 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). ⬩ Today is the birthday of poet and educator Katharine Lee Bates (1859–1929), the author of the great anthem “America the Beautiful.” ⬩ It’s also the birthday of Austrian physicist and Nobel laureate Erwin Schrödinger (1887–1961), one of the founders of quantum physics.
MONDAY (13 August) — Today is the birthday of American abolitionist and women’s rights advocate Lucy Stone (1818–1893). ⬩ It’s also the birthday of spooky British-American film director Alfred Hitchcock (1899–1980).
TUESDAY (14 August) — On this day in the year 1040, Scotland’s King Duncan I was killed by his rival Macbeth — probably in battle, and not in his sleep as depicted in Shakespeare’s play.
WEDNESDAY (15 August) — Today is the birthday of the French general and emperor Napoleon Bonaparte (1769–1821). ⬩ It’s also the birthday of the great British pianist and composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875–1912). ⬩ On this day in 1977, an Ohio State University radio telescope picked up a deep-space radio signal with unusual characteristics that seemed to indicate an intelligent source. Dubbed the “Wow! signal,” its origin remains unexplained and nothing like it has been detected since.
THURSDAY (16 August) — On this day in 1858, the first transatlantic telegraph cable was put into service with an exchange of messages between U.S. President James Buchanan and Britain’s Queen Victoria. ⬩ Today is also the birthday of the British soldier, writer, and archeologist T.E. Lawrence (1888–1935), “Lawrence of Arabia.”
FRIDAY (17 August) — On this day in 1807, the world’s first commercial steamboat service was inaugurated when Robert Fulton’s North River Steamboat departed New York City for Albany, 130 miles up the Hudson River. ⬩ Today is also the birthday of American folk hero, soldier, and politician Davy Crockett (1786–1836).
SATURDAY (18 August) — On this day in 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, guaranteeing women the right to vote, was ratified.
🥂 YOUR WEEKLY TOAST: “May might ever be associated with mercy.”
❡ 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 examples are adapted from two old collections: Marchant’s “Toasts and sentiments” (1888) and the anonymous Social and Convivial Toast-Master (1841). What will you toast this week?
🌎 EVERYTHING FLOWS: Last week we completed our annual tour of the countries of the world (from which we had been selecting our Weekly World Rivers), so it is only fitting this week that we look to the source of them all. The ancient Greeks believed that the whole world (as they knew it) was encircled by a great flowing river, and they personified this river as the god Oceanus (Okeanos). Oceanus was one of the Titans, a child of Uranus (Heaven) and Gaia (Earth), and with his sister-wife Tethys, Oceanus fathered all the rivers of the world. You can read much more about this father of the waters in the comprehensive Oceanus entry in Wikipedia (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oceanus), 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, 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.
😊 AND DON’T FORGET: Friday the 13th comes on a Monday this month!
What do you have planned for your homeschool this week? 😊