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 Washington, and our COUNTRIES are Sudan 🇸🇩, Suriname 🇸🇷, Swaziland 🇸🇿, and Sweden 🇸🇪. (Our separate Sunday States & Countries post will be up shortly.)
❡ Little lesson: “Did you know that the the Swedish capital of Stockholm is so far north that at this time of year (June) the sun rises before four o’clock in the morning and doesn’t set until after ten o’clock in the evening?” You can find a facts-and-figures outline of Sweden on page 838 in your River Houses almanac and on plate 140 in your atlas, with a map of the country on atlas plate 66 (riverhouses.org/books).
🌒 THE MOON at the beginning of this week is lovely waxing crescent — a good 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, 17 June) — Today is the 168th day of 2018; there are 197 days remaining in the year. Learn more about different kinds of modern and historical calendars on pages 351–357 in your River Houses almanac. ⬩ The first set-piece battle of the American Revolution, the Battle of Bunker Hill, was fought on this day in 1775. New England militiamen occupying a fortified position on the Charlestown peninsula across the river from Boston were dislodged by British troops after a day of fierce fighting that resulted in heavy British casualties. ⬩ Today is also the birthday of the famed Dutch surrealist illustrator Maurits Cornelis (M.C.) Escher. ⬩ And it’s Father’s Day! Happy Father’s Day to all homeschool dads everywhere! 👨👧👦 😊
MONDAY (18 June) — On Mondays we often pay a virtual visit to a notable museum or historical monument, and since yesterday was the anniversary of the Battle of Bunker Hill, this Monday we’ll pay a visit to the famous Bunker Hill Monument in the Charlestown section of Boston. ⬩ On this day in 1873, women’s rights activist Susan B. Anthony was fined $100 for attempting to vote in the 1872 presidential election. ⬩ On this day in 1940, during one of the darkest periods of World War II, Winston Churchill delivered his “finest hour” speech in the House of Commons: “Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves, that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, ‘This was their finest hour.’”
TUESDAY (19 June) — On this day in 1865, more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect, Union troops announced to slaves still living in Galveston, Texas, that they were free. The date is celebrated in Texas and many other states as “Juneteenth” Independence Day.
WEDNESDAY (20 June) — The University of Oxford, the oldest university in the English-speaking world, received its royal charter on this day in the year 1248. ⬩ The United States Congress approved the design of the Great Seal of the United States on this day in 1782. (And you may well have a copy of it 💵 in your pocket right now.)
THURSDAY (21 June) — It’s the summer solstice! The northern hemisphere summer officially begins today (in astronomical terms). In the southern hemisphere, today is the first day of winter. Read more about the June solstice at timeanddate.com/calendar/june-solstice.
FRIDAY (22 June) — On this day in 1633, the Catholic Church forced Italian scientist Galileo Galilei to “abjure, curse, and detest” the view he formerly supported, namely that the earth revolved around the sun and was not fixed at the center of the universe.
SATURDAY (23 June) — The great English mathematician Alan Turing was born on this day in 1912. His pioneering work in computer science and cryptanalysis was instrumental in the breaking of German codes during World War II.
🥂 YOUR WEEKLY TOAST: “May trust ever be allied with truth.”
❡ 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: Sudan is one of our countries-of-the-week, so our Weekly World River is one of the two main tributaries of the Nile River, the Blue Nile, which flows from Ethiopia northwest across Sudan and joins the White Nile at the Sudanese capital of Khartoum. You can chart its course in your River Houses atlas (riverhouses.org/books), and you can read much more about it in the comprehensive Blue Nile entry in Wikipedia (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Nile) 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.
What do you have planned for the homeschool week ahead? Tell us in the comments! 😊