QUICK FRESHES are our regular Sunday notes on the homeschool week ahead. Pick one or two (or more!) of the items below and use them to enrich your homeschooling schedule!
🇺🇸 OUR STATE-OF-THE-WEEK is Michigan, and our COUNTRIES are Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, and Madagascar. (Our separate Sunday States & Countries post will be up shortly.)
❡ Little lessons: “Did you know that the tiny European nation of Luxembourg isn’t really a ‘state’ or a ‘republic’ or a ‘kingdom,’ but is actually a Grand Duchy headed by a Grand Duke?” You can find a facts-and-figures outline of Luxembourg on page 800 in your River Houses almanac and on plate 135 in your River Houses atlas, with a map of the country (look close!) on atlas plate 63 (riverhouses.org/books).
🌔 THE MOON at the beginning of this week is waxing gibbous — a relatively good time for moonwatching but an increasingly poor time for stargazing as the moon approaches full (on 1 March). 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, 25 February) — Today is the 56th day of 2018; there are 309 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 French painter and sculptor Pierre-Auguste Renoir, born 25 February 1841. ⬩ On this day in 1870, Hiram Rhodes Revels, a Republican from Mississippi, was sworn in as the country’s first African American senator.
Monday (26 February) — Monday is Museums & Monuments Day at the River Houses. Since Michigan is our state-of-the-week, we’re going to pay a virtual visit to the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. ⬩ Monday is also the birthday of German-American dry goods manufacturer Levi Strauss, born 26 February 1829, whose name is now synonymous with one of most popular articles of clothing in the world.
Tuesday (27 February) — Join us for Tuesday Tea at the Library and some notes on books, libraries, and history.
Wednesday (28 February) — Wednesday is Wonderful Words Day at the River Houses. This week, a mystery: do you know what “dord” is?
Thursday (1 March) — Thursday is the birthday of the great Polish composer and pianist Frédéric Chopin, born 1 March 1810. ⬩ It’s also the birthday of the great American sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens, born 1 March 1848.
Friday (2 March) — Since this is the first Friday of the month, our regular Friday Field & Nature Notes will preview the astronomical events your homeschool students can be on the lookout for over the next few weeks.
Saturday (3 March) — Saturday is Arts & Music Day at the River Houses. In honor of Chopin’s birthday on Thursday, we’ll spend a few minutes listening to some of his most famous piano works.
🥂 YOUR WEEKLY TOAST: “May the shadows of evening calm the excitement of the day.”
❡ 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: Madagascar is one of our countries-of-the-week, so our Weekly World River is the Ikopa River, which flows through Madagascar’s capital city of Antananarivo. You can chart its course in your River Houses atlas (riverhouses.org/books), and you can read more about it in the Ikopa River entry in Wikipedia or perhaps at your local library the next time you visit.
❡ 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?