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 Arizona, and our COUNTRIES are Uzbekistan 🇺🇿, Vanuatu 🇻🇺, Vatican City 🇻🇦, and Venezuela 🇻🇪. (Our separate Sunday States & Countries post will be up shortly.)
🌖 THE MOON at the beginning of this week is gibbous and waning, heading toward new on the 11th (the best 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, 29 July) — Today is the 210th day of 2018; there are 155 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). ⬩ The seven-mile-long Cape Cod Canal first opened on this day in 1914, significantly reducing sailing time between Boston and New York (and markedly increasing safety).
MONDAY (30 July) — Monday is the birthday of the great (and largely homeschooled) English writer Emily Bronte (1818–1848), author of Wuthering Heights. ⬩ It’s also the birthday of the American engineer and industrialist Henry Ford (1863–1947).
TUESDAY (31 July) — On this day in 1964 the Ranger 7 probe transmitted the first close-up images of the moon taken by an American spacecraft, just minutes before the probe was intentionally crash-landed on the lunar surface.
WEDNESDAY (1 August) — Today is the birthday of Maria Mitchell (1818–1889), the discoverer of “Miss Mitchell’s Comet” and the first American woman to work as a professional astronomer. ⬩ It’s also the birthday of the great American writer Herman Melville (1819–1891).
THURSDAY (2 August) — The first United States census, conducted under Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution, was commenced on this day in 1790. The total count was 3,929,214.
FRIDAY (3 August) — The famous opera house “La Scala” opened on this day in 1778 in Milan, Italy. ⬩ Today is also the birthday of the Pulitzer Prize–winning World War II journalist Ernie Pyle (1900–1945).
🥂 YOUR WEEKLY TOAST: “To the Master of the Meteor,” a ringing toast-poem by Herman Melville, whose birthday is this Wednesday. The Meteor was a sailing ship, and the master (captain) of the Meteor was Herman’s brother Thomas Melville:
Lonesome on earth’s loneliest deep,
Sailor! who dost thy vigil keep —
Off the Cape of Storms dost musing sweep
Over monstrous waves that curl and comb;
Of thee we think when here from brink
We blow the mead in bubbling foam.
Of thee we think, in a ring we link;
To the shearer of ocean’s fleece we drink,
And the Meteor rolling home.
❡ 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 usually 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: Venezuela is one of our countries-of-the-week, so our Weekly World River is the Orinoco, one of the world’s great rivers, which flows from west to east across the center of Venezuela. You can chart its course in your River Houses atlas (riverhouses.org/books), and you can read much more about it in the comprehensive Orinoco 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? 😊