QUICK FRESHES are our regular Sunday notes on the homeschool week ahead. Pick one or two (or more!) of the items below and use them to enrich your homeschooling schedule!
🇺🇸 OUR STATE-OF-THE-WEEK is Arkansas, and our COUNTRIES are Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, and Liechtenstein. (Our separate Sunday States & Countries post will be up shortly.)
¶ Little lessons: “Did you know that the tiny European nation of Liechtenstein has a population of only 38,000?” You can find a facts-and-figures outline of Liechtenstein on page 796 in your River Houses almanac and on plate 135 in your River Houses atlas, with a map of the country (look close!) on atlas plate 69 (riverhouses.org/books).
🌒 THE MOON at the beginning of this week is a waxing crescent—a good time for star gazing! 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, 18 February) — Today is the 49th day of 2018; there are 316 days remaining in the year. Learn more about different kinds of modern and historical calendars on pages 351–357 in your almanac. ⬩ The Great Backyard Bird Count is underway! Read more at our post from last week (riverhouses.org/blog/2018/bird-count). ⬩ Today is also the birthday of the great American stained glass artist Louis Comfort Tiffany, born 18 February 1848.
Monday (19 February) — Monday is Museums & Monuments Day: take a few minutes to explore a new place and broaden your homeschool horizons. This Monday happens to be the birthday of one of the most famous scientists in history, Nicolaus Copernicus, born 19 February 1473, so we’ll pay a visit to the Nicolaus Copernicus Museum in his home town of Frombork, Poland.
Tuesday (20 February) — Join us for Tuesday Tea at the Library and some notes on books, libraries, and history. This week, in honor of Copernicus’ birthday, we’ll take an educational look at one of the most famous books ever published: De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres) (1543).
Wednesday (21 February) — Wednesday is Wonderful Words Day at the River Houses. Since tomorrow is George Washington’s birthday, we’ll spend a few homeschool minutes today reading from one of Washington’s most famous addresses. ⬩ We’ll also mark a sad anniversary: on this day in 1918 the last Carolina Parakeet died in captivity in the Cincinnati Zoo.
Thursday (22 February) — Today is George Washington’s birthday! (His real birthday, not the phony made-up “Presidents Day” holiday.) 😊 It’s also the birthday of the American poet James Russell Lowell, born 22 February 1819.
Friday (23 February) — Our regular Friday Field & Nature Notes will take a look back at the last weekend’s Great Backyard Bird Count. ⬩ This Friday is also the traditionally recognized publication date of the Gutenberg Bible in 1455, the first Western book printed with movable type.
Saturday (24 February) — Saturday is Music & Arts Day at the River Houses. Spend a few homeschool minutes today learning about the great American painter Winslow Homer, born 24 February 1836.
🥂 YOUR WEEKLY TOAST: “May our happiness never be dependent upon place or pocket.”
¶ 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: Liechtenstein is one of our countries-of-the-week, so our Weekly World River is one of the great rivers of Europe, the Rhine, which forms the border between Liechtenstein and Switzerland. You can chart the Rhine’s course in your River Houses atlas (riverhouses.org/books), and you can read much more about it in the comprehensive Rhine 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 (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 the homeschool week ahead?