Quick Freshes are our Sunday notes on the homeschool week ahead. Pick one or two (or more!) of the items below and use them to enrich your regular homeschooling schedule. This week: Missouri, Kyrgyzstan, a Valentine’s toast, bird counts, and more.
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🇺🇸 OUR STATE-OF-THE-WEEK is Missouri, and our COUNTRIES are Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Latvia, and Lebanon. (Our separate Sunday States & Countries post will be up shortly.)
¶ Little lessons: “Did you know that the Middle Eastern nation of Lebanon is one of the few countries to feature a tree on its flag? It’s the famous Cedar of Lebanon (Cedrus libani), mentioned in the Bible and in many other literary and historical works since ancient times.” You can find the Lebanese flag on page 458 of your River Houses almanac and on plate 135 in your atlas (riverhouses.org/books).
🌘 THE MOON at the beginning of this week is a waning crescent—this will be a good week for stargazing, with a dark New Moon on the 15th. Track the moon’s phases each month at timeanddate.com/moon/phases.
🗓 TODAY (Sunday, 11 February) — Today is the 42nd day of 2018; there are 323 days remaining in the year. Read all about different kinds of modern and historical calendars on pages 351–357 in your River Houses almanac (riverhouses.org/books). ⬩ Today is also the birthday of the great American inventor Thomas Alva Edison, born 11 February 1847.
Monday (12 February) — Monday is Museums & Monuments Day: take a few minutes to explore a new place and broaden your homeschool horizons. Since Missouri is our state-of-the-week, we’re going to pay a virtual visit to the National World War I Memorial in Kansas City, Missouri. ⬩ Monday is also the birthday of two figures of world renown, Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin, both born not just on the same day of the year, but on the very same date: 12 February 1809.
Tuesday (13 February) — Join us for Tuesday Tea at the Library and some notes on books, libraries, and history.
Wednesday (14 February) — It’s Valentine’s Day! What do you have planned? (We’re planning a poem.)
Thursday (15 February) — Thursday is the birthday of the great Italian astronomer and mathematician Galileo Galilei, born 15 February 1564. ⬩ It’s also the birthday of American suffragist and women’s rights advocate Susan B. Anthony, born 15 February 1820.
Saturday (17 February) — Saturday is Music & Arts Day at the River Houses. Spend a few homeschool minutes with us learning about American composer Aaron Copland’s famous “Lincoln Portrait,” in honor of Lincoln’s Birthday.
🥂 YOUR WEEKLY TOAST this week is a traditional naval offering, for Valentine’s Day: “To the wind that blows, and the ship that goes, and the lass that loves a sailor.”
¶ 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: The Central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan is one of our countries-of-the-week, so our Weekly World River is the Chu or Chuy River, which flows through northern Kyrgyzstan and along the border between Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. You can chart its course on plate 83 in your River Houses atlas (riverhouses.org/books), where its name is spelled “Shü,” and you can read much more about it in the comprehensive Chu River entry in Wikipedia (or perhaps at your local library the next time you visit).
¶ 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 (691–692), and make it a project to look them all up in your atlas or in a handy encyclopedia either online or on your weekly visit to your local library. A whole world of geographical learning awaits you.
😊 AND DON’T FORGET: Friday the 13th comes on a Tuesday this month!
What do you have planned for the homeschool week ahead? Tell us in the comments!