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 Colorado, and our COUNTRIES are San Marino 🇸🇲, São Tomé and Principe 🇸🇹, Saudi Arabia 🇸🇦, and Senegal 🇸🇳. (Our separate Sunday States & Countries post will be up shortly.)
❡ Little lesson: “Did you know that the African nation of Senegal completely surrounds the tiny nation of Gambia, which occupies two strips of land on either side of the Gambia River in the middle of Senegal?” You can find a facts-and-figures outline of Senegal on page 830 in your River Houses almanac and on plate 139 in your atlas, with a map of the country on atlas plate 97 (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, 20 May) — Today is the 140th day of 2018; there are 225 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). ⬩ Shakespeare’s sonnets were first published on this day in London in 1609, possibly without his permission. ⬩ Today is also the birthday of the great philosopher of liberty John Stuart Mill (1806–1873).
Monday (21 May) — Monday is Museums & Monuments Day at the River Houses. The American Red Cross was established on this day in 1881 by Clara Barton, so we’ll stop in at the American Red Cross Museum in Washington, D.C. ⬩ Today also the birthday of the great German artist Albrecht Dürer (1471–1528).
Tuesday (22 May) — Join us for Tuesday Tea at the Library and some notes on books, libraries, and history. This week we’ll remember the inventor of Sherlock Holmes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, born on this day in 1859. ⬩ Today is also the birthday of the famous American impressionist painter Mary Cassatt (1844–1926).
Wednesday (23 May) — Wednesday is Wonderful Words Day at the River Houses, and since this week is the anniversary of the publication of Shakespeare’s sonnets, we’ll read a sonnet! ⬩ Today is also the birthday of the great Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus (1707–1778), who devised the system of species nomenclature that is still in use today in the biological sciences by all of us members of Homo sapiens.
Thursday (24 May) — On this day in 1844, Samuel F.B. Morse sent the message “What hath God wrought?” from the U.S. Capitol building to his assistant in Baltimore, thirty-five miles away, instantly, thereby inaugurating the first commercial telegraph line between two U.S. cities.
Friday (25 May) — Our regular Friday Field Notes will take a look at what’s available from the National Weather Service’s “Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service,” its giant real-time database of American rivers. ⬩ Today is also the birthday of the great American poet, essayist, and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882). ⬩ And on this day in 1977, the first Star Wars movie was released! 🚀
Saturday (26 May) — It’s National Paper Airplane Day! That’s surely something to be celebrated in every homeschool. 😊
🥂 YOUR WEEKLY TOAST: “May the contemplation of the majesty of the ocean dignify our minds.”
❡ 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: Senegal is one of our countries-of-the-week, so our Weekly World River is the Saloum River, which flows west through Senegal and empties into the Atlantic Ocean. The Saloum River Delta National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can chart the Saloum River’s course in your River Houses atlas (riverhouses.org/books), and you can read more about it in the Saloum River entry in Wikipedia (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saloum_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! 😊