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 Oklahoma, and our COUNTRIES are Turkmenistan 🇹🇲, Tuvalu 🇹🇻, Uganda 🇺🇬, and Ukraine 🇺🇦. (Our separate Sunday States & Countries post will be up shortly.)
❡ Did you know…? You can teach a hundred little lessons with our “Quick Freshes” posts each week just by dropping questions into your daily conversations with your students and inviting them to discover more. For example: “Did you know that the tiny island nation of Tuvalu in the Pacific Ocean has a land area of only ten square miles?” You can find a facts-and-figures outline of Tuvalu, one of our countries of the week, on page 844 in your River Houses almanac (riverhouses.org/books) and on plate 140 in your atlas, with a map of the country on atlas plate 110 (where you can also practice reading insets on a map).
🌒 THE MOON at the beginning of this week is a waxing crescent — a great 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, 15 July) — Today is the 196th day of 2018; there are 169 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 Dutch artist Rembrandt van Rijn (1601–1669). ⬩ On this day in 1799, near the town of Rashid (Rosetta) in Egypt, a French captain in Napoleon’s army discovered a smooth black stone with a trilingual inscription in Hieroglyphics, Demotic Egyptian, and Greek. The Rosetta Stone, one of the world’s most famous archeological objects, made it possible to translate ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphics for the first time.
MONDAY (16 July) — The District of Columbia was established as the capital of the United States in this day in 1790. ⬩ Today is the birthday of the American religious leader Mary Baker Eddy (1821–1910), founder of the Christian Science movement. ⬩ Today is also the birthday of the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen (1872–1928), leader of the first expedition to reach the South Pole.
TUESDAY (17 July) — George Frideric Handel’s masterpiece “Water Music” premiered on this day in 1717, played by 50 musicians on a barge floating down the Thames River in London. ⬩ Today is also the birthday of the great Christian hymn writer and educator Isaac Watts (1674–1748). ⬩ And … it’s World Emoji Day! 😎
WEDNESDAY (18 July) — The Great Fire of Rome broke out on this day in the year 64 A.D. Over the next six days it destroyed much of the city. Some reports (which may or may not be true) claimed that the Emperor Nero entertained himself by playing the lyre as he watched the city go up in flames. ⬩ On this day in 1863 during the American Civil War, the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, a regiment made up almost entirely of African-American soldiers, attempted unsuccessfully to capture Fort Wagner near Charleston, South Carolina. Their story was dramatized in the 1989 film Glory.
THURSDAY (19 July) — The first national convention on women’s rights, the two-day Seneca Falls Convention, opened on this day in 1848 in Seneca Falls, New York.
FRIDAY (20 July) — Today is the birthday of the Austrian monk Gregor Mendel (1822–1884), the father of modern genetics. ⬩ On this day in 1969, the Apollo 11 lunar module set down on the Sea of Tranquility and American astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first human beings to walk on the moon.
SATURDAY (21 July) — The American novelist and Nobel Laureate Ernest Hemingway was born on this day in 1899. ⬩ The lowest temperature ever recorded on Earth, −128.6 ºF (−89.2 ºC), was measured on this day in 1983 at the Soviet Vostok Station in Antarctica.
🥂 YOUR WEEKLY TOAST: “May our wants be so few as to enable us to relieve the wants of our friends.”
❡ 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: Ukraine is one of our countries-of-the-week, so our Weekly World River is the Dnieper River, one of the great rivers of Europe, which flows through the Ukrainian capital city of Kiev. You can chart its course in your River Houses atlas (riverhouses.org/books), and you can read much more about it in the comprehensive Dnieper River entry in Wikipedia or perhaps 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? 😊