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 Wyoming, and our COUNTRIES are Tanzania 🇹🇿, Thailand 🇹🇭, Timor-Leste (East Timor) 🇹🇱, and Togo 🇹🇬. (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 by just dropping questions into your daily conversations with your students and inviting them to discover more. For example: “Did you know that most of the world’s supply of cloves comes from Zanzibar and Pemba, two islands off the coast of Tanzania?” You can find a facts-and-figures outline of Tanzania (one of our countries of the week) on page 840 in your River Houses almanac and on plate 140 in your atlas, with a map of the country on atlas plate 100 (riverhouses.org/books).
🌖 THE MOON at the beginning of this week is gibbous and waning — a good time for moon watching! 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, 1 July) — Today is the 182nd day of 2018; there are 183 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 the great German mathematician and polymath Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646–1716). ⬩ Today is also the birthday of the German-Hungarian physician Ignaz Semmelweis (1818–1865), “the savior of mothers,” who discovered that deaths from childbed fever could be dramatically reduced by requiring physicians delivering babies to wash their hands. ⬩ On this day in 1863, the Civil War Battle of Gettysburg began. Over three days of fighting, Union and Confederate forces suffered more than 40,000 casualties.
MONDAY (2 July) — Noon today is the mid-point of the year: 182.5 days have passed, and 182.5 days remain. ⬩ On this day in 1776, the Continental Congress passed the Lee Resolution, declaring the Thirteen Colonies independent of Great Britain. ⬩ Today is the birthday of Thurgood Marshall (1908–1993), the first African American appointed to the United States Supreme Court. ⬩ The first Wal-Mart store opened on this day in 1962 in Rogers, Arkansas.
TUESDAY (3 July) — On this day in 1775, on orders from the Continental Congress and a year before Independence was declared, George Washington took command of the thousands of New England militiamen encamped on the Cambridge Common outside of Boston, and the Continental Army was born. ⬩ Today is the birthday of early American painter John Singleton Copley (1738–1815), who memorialized many prominent figures of the American Revolutionary period. ⬩ Today is also the birthday of the American songwriter, actor, and Yankee Doodle Dandy George M. Cohan (1872–1942).
WEDNESDAY (4 July) — Happy Independence Day! On this day in 1776, the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence. ⬩ On this day in 1802, the United States Military Academy opened at West Point, New York. ⬩ The great American novelist and short-story writer Nathaniel Hawthorne was born on this day in 1804. ⬩ On this day in 1826, on the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson died in Virginia and John Adams died in Massachusetts. ⬩ And on this day in 1872, Calvin Coolidge, 30th President of the United States, was born in Plymouth Notch, Vermont.
THURSDAY (5 July) — One of the most famous books in the history of science, Isaac Newton’s Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica, was published in London on this day in 1687. ⬩ And somewhat less sublime: the canned luncheon meat SPAM was first introduced to the American market on this day in 1937.
FRIDAY (6 July) — General Daniel Morgan, the commander of “Morgan’s Riflemen” during the American Revolution, was born on this day in 1736. ⬩ In one of the great setbacks of the early phase of the Revolution, British General John Burgoyne forced American troops to abandon Fort Ticonderoga on the New York–Vermont border on this day in 1777. ⬩ Today is also the birthday of the Belarusian-French artist Marc Chagall (1887–1985), famous for his work in stained glass.
SATURDAY (7 July) — On this day in 1928, sliced bread was sold for the first time by the Chillicothe Baking Company in Missouri — and it was the greatest thing since, um, sliced bread!
🥂 YOUR WEEKLY TOAST, for the Fourth of July:
To the memory of the man
That owned the land,
That raised the corn,
That fed the goose,
That bore the quill,
That made the pen,
That wrote the Declaration of Independence.
❡ 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 examples are usually 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: Tanzania is one of our countries-of-the-week, so our Weekly World River is the Rufiji River in eastern Tanzania. You can chart its course in your River Houses atlas (riverhouses.org/books), and you can read much more about it in the comprehensive Rufiji River entry in Wikipedia (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rufiji_River), 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 the homeschool week ahead? 😊