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 South Dakota, and our COUNTRIES are Slovakia 🇸🇰, Slovenia 🇸🇮, the Solomon Islands 🇸🇧, and Somalia 🇸🇴. (Our separate Sunday States & Countries post will be up shortly.)
❡ Little lesson: “Did you know that Slovenia was one of several nations formed as a result of the breakup of the former nation of Yugoslavia during the 1990s?” You can find a facts-and-figures outline of Slovenia on page 833 in your River Houses almanac and on plate 137 in your atlas, with a map of the country on atlas plate 69; your history encyclopedia provides an illustrated overview of the terrible Yugoslavian wars of that period on pages 450–451 (riverhouses.org/books).
🌖 THE MOON at the beginning of this week is gibbous and waning — an increasingly 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, 3 June) — Today is the 154th day of 2018; there are 211 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). ⬩ June 3rd was the worst day of fighting during the 1864 Battle of Cold Harbor in Mechanicsburg, Virginia, in the American Civil War. ⬩ Today is also the birthday of the great Egyptologist Flinders Petrie (1853–1942).
MONDAY (4 June) — On this day in 1783, the Montgolfier brothers made the first public demonstration of their hot-air balloon, flying more than two kilometers over the community of Annonay in France. ⬩ The first Pulitzer Prizes were awarded on this day in 1917. ⬩ On this day in 1989, the Communist government of China violently put down a student-led protest movement that had been occupying Tiananmen Square in Beijing since mid-April. Hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of protestors were killed (an accurate count has never been established).
TUESDAY (5 June) — The first serial installment of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin; or, Life Among the Lowly appeared on this day in 1851 in the abolitionist National Era newspaper. It eventually became the best selling novel of the nineteenth century.
WEDNESDAY (6 June) — The invasion of Normandy began on this day, “D-Day,” in 1944, when 155,000 Allied troops landed on the beaches of France. Operation Overlord, as it was code-named, was the largest amphibious military operation in world history. ⬩ The first drive-in theater opened on this day in Camden, New Jersey, in 1933. (Do the kids these days even know what a drive-in theater is?)
THURSDAY (7 June) — On this day in 1776, Richard Henry Lee of Virginia presented what is now called the “Lee Resolution” to the Continental Congress, proposing that the thirteen American colonies declare independence from Great Britain. ⬩ Today is also the birthday of the American poet Gwendolyn Brooks (1917–2000).
FRIDAY (8 June) — Today is the birthday of the great Italian violinist and composer Tomaso Albinoni (1671–1751). ⬩ Francis Crick, co-discoverer of the double-helical structure of DNA, was born on this day in 1916. ⬩ George Orwell’s dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four — a staple of high-school literature courses — was published on this day in 1949. ⬩ On this day in 2004, the planet Venus passed across (transited) the face of the sun for the first time in more than a century. The next transit of Venus will not occur until the year 2117.
SATURDAY (9 June) — The notorious Roman emperor Nero died by suicide on this day in the year 68, bringing to an end the Julio-Claudian dynasty of emperors. ⬩ On this day in 1829, the first boat race between Oxford University and Cambridge University was held on the Thames River in London. That storied rivalry continues to this day. (And perhaps a future series of River House Regattas will someday surpass it in fame.) 😊
🥂 YOUR WEEKLY TOAST: “When Fortune smiles may we never squander her favors.”
❡ 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: Somalia is one of our countries-of-the-week, so our Weekly World River is the Jubba River, which flows from Ethiopia south through Somalia and into the Indian Ocean. You can chart its course in your River Houses atlas (riverhouses.org/books), and you can read much more about it in the comprehensive Jubba River entry in Wikipedia (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jubba_River) 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! 😊