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 Nevada, and our COUNTRIES are Qatar, Romania, Russia, and Rwanda. (Our separate Sunday States & Countries post will be up shortly.)
❡ Little lesson: “Did you know that Russia is the largest country in the world in terms of land area?” You can find a facts-and-figures outline of Russia on page 826 in your River Houses almanac and on plate 138 in your atlas, with a map of the country on atlas plate 77 (riverhouses.org/books).
🌖 THE MOON at the beginning of this week is gibbous and waning—an increasingly 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, 6 May) — Today is the 126th day of 2018; there are 239 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 the great arctic explorer Admiral Robert Peary (1856–1920).
Monday (7 May) — Monday is Museums & Monuments Day at the River Houses. On this day in 1915, a German submarine sank the passenger liner RMS Lusitania off the coast of Ireland, killing nearly 1200 civilians, including 128 Americans. In their memory, we’ll pay a visit to the Lusitania exhibit at the Merseyside Maritime Museum in Liverpool, England. ⬩ Today is also a big day for arts anniversaries: it is the birthday of English poet Robert Browning (1812–1889), German composer Johannes Brahms (1833–1897), Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840–1893), and American poet and playwright Archibald MacLeish (1892–1982).
Tuesday (8 May) — Join us for Tuesday Tea at the Library and some notes on books, libraries, and history. This week, introduce your students to one of the most influential works of historical scholarship ever published: The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1776–1789), written by English historian Edward Gibbon, who was born on this day in 1737. ⬩ Today is also V-E Day, marking the Allies’ WWII victory in Europe in 1945 and the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany.
Wednesday (9 May) — Wednesday is Wonderful Words Day at the River Houses. In recognition of Robert Browning’s Monday birthday, we’ll spend a few minutes today reading from some of his poems. ⬩ On this day in the year 1092, Lincoln Cathedral was consecrated. At approximately 525 feet, it was the first building to surpass the Great Pyramid of Giza in height and was the world’s tallest building for more than 200 years.
Thursday (10 May) — On this day in 1775, less than a month after Lexington and Concord, the “Green Mountain Boys” under the command of Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold captured—“In the name of the Great Jehovah and the Continental Congress!”—the strategically important Fort Ticonderoga along the New York–Vermont border on Lake Champlain.
Friday (11 May) — Friday is our regular Natural History Day, and spring is bustin’ out all over!
Saturday (12 May) — Saturday is Arts & Music Day at the River Houses. Today is the birthday of the great French composer Gabriel Fauré (1845–1924), so we’ll spend a few homeschool minutes listening to part of Fauré’s famous Requiem (1887–1890). ⬩ Today is also the birthday of Florence Nightingale (1820–1910), the founder of the modern profession of nursing.
🥂 YOUR WEEKLY TOAST: “However fine the weather, may we never forget there may be squalls.”
❡ 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: Russia is one of our countries-of-the-week, so our Weekly World River is Russia’s mighty Don River, one of the great rivers of Europe. You can chart its course in your River Houses atlas (riverhouses.org/books), and you can read much more about it in the comprehensive Don River entry in Wikipedia (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don_River_(Russia)) 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! 😊