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! Print your own River Houses calendar for the year at riverhouses.org/calendars.
🇺🇸 OUR STATE-OF-THE-WEEK is North Carolina, and our COUNTRIES are Cyprus 🇨🇾, Czechia (the Czech Republic) 🇨🇿, Denmark 🇩🇰, and Djibouti 🇩🇯. (Our separate Sunday States & Countries post for the week just went up moments ago.)
🌔 THE MOON at the beginning of this week is gibbous and waxing, and the Leonid Meteor shower is just ending — take a look outside after dark and you may still see a few! You can track the moon’s phases each month at timeanddate.com, and you can dial up this week’s constellations with your River Houses star atlas (riverhouses.org/books).
🗓 TODAY (Sunday, 18 November) — Today is the 322nd day of 2018; there are 43 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). ⬩ Saint Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, the largest church in the world, was consecrated on this day in 1626. ⬩ And today is the birthday of the great American composer and lyricist Johnny Mercer (1909–1976).
MONDAY (19 November) — Seven score and fifteen years ago today, Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address. Why not read it aloud in your homeschool today — you’ll find the text on page 483 of your almanac (riverhouses.org/books).
TUESDAY (20 November) — On this day in 1820, an 80-ton sperm whale struck and sank the whaleship Essex about 2000 miles off the west coast of South America. The destruction of the Essex would become one of the inspirations for Herman Melville’s great novel Moby-Dick (1851). ⬩ Today is also the birthday of the American astronomer and cosmologist Edwin Hubble (1889–1953), who vastly enlarged our understanding of the universe. 🔭
WEDNESDAY (21 November) — A paper titled “Does the inertia of a body depend upon its energy content?” was published in the German science journal Annalen der Physik on this day in 1905. The author was a 26-year-old Albert Einstein, and the paper established that E = mc2.
THURSDAY (22 November) — HAPPY THANKSGIVING! 🦃 🦃 (That’s emoji for “gobble gobble.”) We’ll have some lovely music to share with you today. Thank you all for following us here at the River Houses! 😊 We’ll also be sharing our homeschool poem-of-the-week for the last week of November: Rowena Bastin Bennett’s “Thanksgiving Magic,” for all Thanksgiving Day cooks from sea to shining sea. Print your own River Houses poetry calendar at riverhouses.org/calendars and follow along with us throughout the year.
FRIDAY (23 November) — Today is Native American Heritage Day, as enacted by Congress in 2008. We’re going to share a wonderful family song from Cherokee recording artist Michael Jacobs, just right for Thanksgiving and the day after. 🌕 And, there’s a full moon tonight, so that means we’ll have a report today from the River Houses Lunar Society.
🥂 YOUR WEEKLY TOAST, for Thanksgiving: “Long may we live, and happy may we be, blest with content, and from misfortunes free.”
❡ 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 set of toasts are mostly taken from an old anthology called The Pic-Nic, a Collection of Recitations, and Comic Songs, Toasts, Sentiments, &c. (London, 1816). What will you toast this week?
🌎 EVERYTHING FLOWS: The Czech Republic (Czechia) is one of our countries-of-the-week, so our Weekly World River is the the lovely Vltava River, which flows through the Czech capital of Prague. You can chart its course in your River Houses atlas (riverhouses.org/books), and you can read more about it in the Vltava 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 your homeschool this week? 😊