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 Montana, and our COUNTRIES are South Africa 🇿🇦, South Sudan 🇸🇸, Spain 🇪🇸, and Sri Lanka 🇱🇰. (Our separate Sunday States & Countries post will be up shortly.)
❡ Little lesson: “Did you know that the troubled Republic of South Sudan is one of the world’s youngest nations? It achieved its independence on 9 July 2011.” You can find a facts-and-figures outline of South Sudan on page 835 in your River Houses almanac and on plate 139 in your atlas, with a map of the country on atlas plate 99 (riverhouses.org/books).
🌘 THE MOON at the beginning of this week is a waning crescent—a good time for stargazing! (The moon will be new and the sky darkest on the 13th.) 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, 10 June) — Today is the 161st day of 2018; there are 204 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 also the birthday of famed children’s book illustrator Maurice Sendak (1928–2012). ⬩ One of the most noted atrocities of World War II occurred on this day in 1944, when Nazi troops massacred the entire village of Oradur-sur-Glane in France. The story of the Oradur massacre appears in the opening and closing scenes of the landmark BBC documentary series The World at War (1973–1974).
MONDAY (11 June) — Today is the birthday of the great French explorer and documentarian Jacques Cousteau (1910–1997). ⬩ On this day in 1776, the Continental Congress appointed Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert Livingston as a committee to draft a declaration of independence for the United Colonies. ⬩ According to ancient tradition, the city of Troy was sacked and burned on this day in 1184 BC, bringing to an end the decade-long Trojan War.
TUESDAY (12 June) — The Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, was dedicated on this day in 1939. Let’s pay it a visit!
WEDNESDAY (13 June) — Today is the birthday of the great Irish poet William Butler Yeats (1865–1939). ⬩ It is also the birthday of the American mathematician and Nobel laureate John Forbes Nash, Jr. (1928–2015), whose life and career formed the basis for the 2001 film A Beautiful Mind.
THURSDAY (14 June) — On this day in 1775 the Continental Congress voted to “adopt” the thousands of New England militiamen who had been surrounding the city of Boston and its British garrison since the battles of Lexington and Concord on April 19th. Today is therefore officially considered to be the birthday of the United States Army. ⬩ And speaking of the American Revolution, on this day in 1777 Congress adopted the Stars and Stripes as the flag of the new United States — and we celebrate that anniversary now as Flag Day! 🇺🇸 ⬩ Today is also the birthday of author and publisher John Bartlett (1820–1905), whose book of Familiar Quotations (now in its 18th edition) continues to be an American classic.
FRIDAY (15 June) — On this day in 1215, King John of England (under duress) put his seal to the Magna Carta — the Great Charter — at Runnnymeade, west of London. Magna Carta, which secured certain freedoms and limited the power of the monarch, is one of the foundational documents of English (and so American) law.
SATURDAY (16 June) — On this day in 1963, Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman in space as the solo pilot of the Vostok 6 spacecraft, which completed 48 orbits before returning safely to earth. ⬩ Today is also the birthday of American geneticist and Nobel laureate Barbara McClintock (1902–1992).
🥂 YOUR WEEKLY TOAST: “To olden times.”
❡ 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: Spain is one of our countries-of-the-week, so our Weekly World River is the Ebro, one of the principal rivers of the Iberian Peninsula. You can chart the Ebro’s course in your River Houses atlas (riverhouses.org/books), and you can read much more about it in the comprehensive Ebro River entry in Wikipedia (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ebro) or 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.
😊 AND DON’T FORGET: Friday the 13th comes on a Wednesday this month!
What do you have planned for the homeschool week ahead? Tell us in the comments! 😊