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 North Dakota, and our COUNTRIES are Serbia 🇷🇸, the Seychelles 🇸🇨, Sierra Leone 🇸🇱, and Singapore 🇸🇬. (Our separate Sunday States & Countries post will be up shortly.)
❡ Little lesson: “Did you know that the island nation of the Seychelles (in the Indian Ocean) has a population of fewer than 100,000 people?” You can find a facts-and-figures outline of the Seychelles on page 831 in your River Houses almanac and on plate 139 in your atlas, with a map of the country (look close!) on atlas plate 95 (riverhouses.org/books).
🌔 THE MOON at the beginning of this week is waxing gibbous (and full on the 29th). 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, 27 May) — Today is the 147th day of 2018; there are 218 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). ⬩ It’s the Memorial Day weekend! Many homeschoolers consider this to be the unofficial end of the school year and hold their homeschool graduations this weekend, so we’ll have some fine graduation music coming right up! ⬩ Today is also the birthday of the American poet and songwriter Julia Ward Howe (1819–1910), author of the great patriotic “Battle Hymn of the Republic” (“Mine eyes have seen the glory”).
MONDAY (28 May) — Today is Memorial Day in the United States, the day on which we commemorate the nation’s war dead. ⬩ Today is also the birthday of the Swiss-American naturalist and paleontologist Louis Agassiz (1807–1873), “the father of the Ice Age.”
TUESDAY (29 May) — On this day in 1453, the city of Constantinople fell to the Ottoman armies of Sultan Mehmed II after a 53-day siege, bringing to an end the ancient Byzantine Empire that had survived for more than a thousand years. ⬩ On this day in 1953, mountaineers Edmund Hillary and Tenzig Norgay became the first climbers ever to reach the summit of Mount Everest.
WEDNESDAY (30 May) — The Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., was dedicated on this day in the year 1922. ⬩ Today is also the birthday of the great voice actor Mel Blanc (1908–1989), “the man of a thousand voices,” who gave us Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Tweety Bird, Sylvester the Cat, Yosemite Sam, Foghorn Leghorn, Marvin the Martian, Pepé Le Pew, Speedy Gonzales, Wile E. Coyote, Road Runner, and even the Tasmanian Devil. 😊
THURSDAY (31 May) — Today is the birthday of the great American poet Walt Whitman (1819–1892), who contained multitudes. ⬩ On this day in 1889, a dam burst on the Little Conemaugh River upstream from Johnstown, Pennsylvania. The Johnstown Flood destroyed more than four square miles of the town and killed more than 2000 people.
FRIDAY (1 June) — Happy June! On this first day of the month we’ll take look at the astronomical events you and your homeschool students should watch for in the weeks ahead. ⬩ Today is the birthday of the great English poet of the sea John Masefield (1878–1967), author of the finest thing Herman Melville never said.
SATURDAY (2 June) — Saturday is the birthday of poet and novelist Thomas Hardy (1840–1928), whose works have been loved and loathed by high school English students for generations. ⬩ Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II was crowned on this day in 1953, making her now the longest-reigning monarch in British history and the longest-serving female head of state in world history.
🥂 YOUR WEEKLY TOAST: “To the oak: may our thoughts be as luxuriant as its boughs and our hearts as sound as its trunk.”
❡ 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: Sierra Leone is one of our countries-of-the-week, so our Weekly World River is the Rokel River, the largest river in Sierra Leone, which flows southwest through the capital city of Freetown. You can chart its course in your River Houses atlas (riverhouses.org/books), and you can read much more about it in the comprehensive Rokel River entry in Wikipedia (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rokel_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! 😊