For live links, click to: riverhouses.org/2019-12-15
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! Visit our River Houses calendar page (riverhouses.org/calendars) and print your own homeschool calendars for the entire year.
🎵 🎄 December is Holiday Music Month in the River Houses, and throughout the month we continue to share an assortment of seasonal favorites — classical and modern, sacred and secular, serious and silly — along with educational notes that will help you teach little musical homeschool lessons all along the way.
🇺🇸 OUR STATE-OF-THE-WEEK is Tennessee, and our COUNTRIES are France 🇫🇷, Gabon 🇬🇦, The Gambia 🇬🇲, and Georgia 🇬🇪. (Our separate Sunday States & Countries post for the week went up just a few minutes ago.)
🌖 THE MOON at the beginning of this week is gibbous and waning — a good time for moon watching! You can explore the night sky and the features of the moon in your recommended backyard astronomy guide and your homeschool world atlas, and you can learn a host of stellar and lunar facts on pages 342–357 in your almanac (riverhouses.org/books).
🗓 TODAY, Sunday (15 December 2019) — Today is the 349th day of 2019; there are 16 days remaining in the year. Learn more about different kinds of modern and historical calendars on pages 358–364 in your River Houses almanac (riverhouses.org/books). 📚 The famous film Gone With the Wind, starring Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh, premiered in Atlanta, Georgia, on this day in 1939. 🎬 On this day in 1970, the Soviet spacecraft Venera 7 made the first-ever soft landing on another planet (Venus). 🚀 And our homeschool poem-of-the-week for third week of December, as the winter solstice approaches, is Robert Frost’s “Reluctance,” for autumn’s end. 🍂 Print your own River Houses Poetry Calendar (riverhouses.org/calendars) and follow along with us throughout the year. 🖋
Monday (16 December 2019) — It’s Beethoven’s birthday! (Well, probably.) 🎵 It’s also the birthday of the English novelist Jane Austen (1775–1817). 🖋 And on this day in 1773, a group of disgruntled Bostonians dumped hundreds of pounds of tea into Boston Harbor, and “the Boston Tea Party” has been a part of American history ever since. ☕️
Tuesday (17 December 2019) — Today is the birthday of the American poet and abolitionist John Greenleaf Whittier (1807–1892). 🖋 And on this day in 1903, Orville and Wilbur Wright made the first successful heavier-than-air flight in their prototype airplane at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina — and the rest is aviation history. ✈️
Wednesday (18 December 2019) — The great physicist and Nobel laureate J. J. Thompson, the discoverer of the electron, was born on this day in 1856. ⚛️
Thursday (19 December 2019) — “These are the times that try men’s souls”: the first of a series of pamphlets by Thomas Paine called “The American Crisis” was published on this this day in 1776 in Philadelphia. 🇺🇸 And today is also the birthday of the pioneering African-American historian Carter G. Woodson (1875–1950). 🔎
Friday (20 December 2019) — Today is the birthday of the American physicist Robert J. Van de Graaff (1901–1967), known for making people’s hair stand on end. ⚡️ The storied Christmas movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” premiered on this day in 1946 in New York City. 📽 And our Friday Bird Families post this week will continue our introduction to the Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers. (It’s a big group!) Print your own River Houses Calendar of American Birds (riverhouses.org/calendars) and follow along with us throughout the year. 🦅
Saturday (21 December 2019) — Happy First Day of Winter! ❄️ Today is the December Solstice, known as the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere and the summer solstice in the southern hemisphere (where today is the first day of summer). 🗓 On this day in 1620, the Mayflower Pilgrims came ashore at what is now Plymouth, Massachusetts (and they maybe stepped on Plymouth Rock, or maybe didn’t). ⚓️ And on this day in 1913, the first modern crossword puzzle was published in the New York World newspaper. 📰
Sunday (22 December 2019) — Today is the birthday of the great Italian opera composer Giacomo Puccini (1858–1924). 🎼 And the annual Jewish festival of Hanukkah, commemorating the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in 165 B.C., begins tonight at sundown. 🕎
🥂 OUR TOAST THIS WEEK is our traditional annual offering for the winter solstice: “To cold weather and warm hearts.”
❡ Toasts can be a fun educational 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!”). What will you toast this week? 🥂
🌍 EVERYTHING FLOWS: Gabon in western Africa is one of our countries-of-the-week, so our Weekly World River is the Ogooué River, Gabon’s principal river and one of the largest rivers in Africa. You can find its location in your recommended homeschool atlas (riverhouses.org/books), and you can read more about it in the Ogooué 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 691–693), 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? 😊
❡ Lively springs: This is one of our regular “Quick Freshes” posts looking at the homeschool week ahead. Add your name to our River Houses mailing list (riverhouses.org/newsletter) and get these weekly messages delivered right to your mailbox all through the year. You can also print your own River Houses calendars of educational events (riverhouses.org/calendars) and follow along with us. 🗓