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!
🌌 WE HAVE COMPLETED our school-year-long review of the STATES of the 🇺🇸 United States and the COUNTRIES of the 🌎 world, so let’s end the year with a (big) bang, or rather the consequences thereof. Open up your River Houses atlas (riverhouses.org/books) and spend some quality homeschool time this week contemplating the truly magnificent astronomical plates you’ll find there (120–127), showing the moon and the planets, the solar system, the constellations, the Milky Way, and structure of the Universe as it’s understood by astronomers today. These are real educational treasures — don’t miss them!
🌕 And speaking of THE MOON … at the beginning of this week it’s full! 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, 26 August) — Today is the 238th day of 2018; there are 127 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 one of the founders of modern chemistry, the great French scientist Antoine Lavoisier (1743–1794), who coined the names “oxygen” and “hydrogen.” ⬩ The Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution went into effect on this day in 1920, ensuring that “the right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”
MONDAY (27 August) — One of the most massive volcanic eruptions in recorded history took place on this day in 1883 in the Krakatoa archipelago in Indonesia. Over the course of the previous day an ash cloud seventeen miles high had developed over the islands, and on the 27th four massive explosions occurred, the largest of which was heard 3000 miles away in the Indian Ocean. The ash injected into the atmosphere by the Krakatoa eruption produced vivid sunsets all around the world for many months.
TUESDAY (28 August) — Today is the birthday of American naturalist and artist Roger Tory Peterson (1908–1996), whose series of compact field guides helped to make amateur bird study popular around the world. ⬩ And on this day in 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.
WEDNESDAY (29 August) — Today is the birthday of the great philosopher of liberty John Locke (1632–1704), whose works influenced the framing of the American system of government.
THURSDAY (30 August) — Today is the birthday of English novelist Mary Shelley (1797–1851), the author of Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus (1818). ⬩ It’s also the birthday of baseball great Ted Williams (1918–2002), the last major league player to bat over .400 in a season (1941).
FRIDAY (31 August) — Italian educator and physician Maria Montessori was born on this day in 1870. Her approach to early childhood education remains popular in homeschools as well as in public and private schools around the world today.
SATURDAY (1 September) — A New River Houses Year Begins. Let the river run!
🥂 YOUR WEEKLY TOAST, from Ben Franklin, for the school year to come: “Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man.”
❡ 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, even the stars: Our “country” of the week is the Universe, so our Weekly World River is the constellation Eridanus, the celestial river, which flows east from the feet of Orion and then south over the horizon into the Southern Hemisphere. You can chart its course in your River Houses atlas and star atlas (riverhouses.org/books), and you can read much more about it in the comprehensive Eridanus 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, 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 (or universe!) of geographical learning awaits you.
What do you have planned for your homeschool this week? 😊