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 Alaska, and our COUNTRIES are Vietnam 🇻🇳, Yemen 🇾🇪, Zambia 🇿🇲, and Zimbabwe 🇿🇼. (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 African nation of Zimbabwe is alphabetically the last country in the world?” 😊 You can find a facts-and-figures outline of Zimbabwe, one of our countries of the week, on page 852 in your River Houses almanac (riverhouses.org/books) and on plate 141 in your atlas, with a map of the country on atlas plate 100.
🌘 THE MOON at the beginning of this week is a waning crescent — 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, 5 August) — Today is the 217th day of 2018; there are 148 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 an important day in the history of press freedom! On this day in 1735, a jury acquitted John Peter Zenger and his newspaper, the New York Weekly Journal, of seditious libel against the governor of New York on the grounds that what they had published was true. ⬩ Today is also the birthday of American astronaut Neil Armstrong (1930–2012), the first man to walk on the moon.
TUESDAY (7 August) — On this day in 1782, George Washington established the first American military decoration, the Badge of Military Merit, for soldiers wounded during the American Revolution. The award is today called the Purple Heart and it bears Washington’s profile. ⬩ Today is also the birthday of famed paleoanthropologist Louis Leakey (1903–1972).
WEDNESDAY (8 August) — The wreckage of the Civil War submarine H.L. Hunley, which sank in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina, in 1864, was raised on this day in the year 2000. It contained the remains of eight Confederate sailors who went down with the vessel.
THURSDAY (9 August) — On this day in the year 1173, construction began on a new bell tower next to the cathedral in Pisa, Italy. Still standing, we know it today as the Leaning Tower of Pisa. ⬩ Today is the birthday of the Italian scientist Amedeo Avogadro (1776–1856), beloved (or despised) by chemistry students the world over.
FRIDAY (10 August) — On this day in 1519, five ships under the command of Ferdinand Magellan (1480–1521) set sail from Seville, Spain. Although Magellan himself died en route, one of the ships, the Victoria, traveling from east to west, successfully completed the first circumnavigation of the Earth. ⬩ And on this day in 1990, NASA’s Magellan spacecraft entered orbit around the planet Venus.
SATURDAY (11 August) — The annual Perseid meteor shower will peak (probably) on the nights of 11–12 and 12–13 August this year. The Perseids are remnants of Comet Swift-Tuttle.
🥂 YOUR WEEKLY TOAST: “May hard labor secure strong health.”
❡ 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: Zambia and Zimbabwe are two of our countries-of-the-week, so it’s natural for our Weekly World River to be the Zambezi River, which forms the border between them. You can chart its course in your River Houses atlas (riverhouses.org/books), and you can read much more about it in the comprehensive Zambezi 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? 😊