For live links, click to: riverhouses.org/2019-12-08
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 our seasonal favorites — classical and modern, sacred and secular, serious and silly — along with a collection of educational notes that will help you teach little homeschool lessons all along the way.
🇺🇸 OUR STATE-OF-THE-WEEK is Kentucky, and our COUNTRIES are Eswatini (formerly Swaziland) 🇸🇿, Ethiopia 🇪🇹, Fiji 🇫🇯, and Finland 🇫🇮. (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 waxing — 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 (8 December 2019) — Today is the 342nd day of 2019; there are 23 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). 📚 On this day in 1660, a female actor (her identity is disputed) appeared on the English stage for the first time, playing the role of Desdemona in Shakespeare’s Othello. 🎭 And our homeschool poem-of-the-week for second week of December is Emily Dickinson’s “He ate and drank the precious words,” in honor of Dickinson’s upcoming birthday on the 10th. 📖 Print your own River Houses Poetry Calendar (riverhouses.org/calendars) and follow along with us throughout the year. 🖋
Monday (9 December 2019) — Today is the birthday of the great English poet and political revolutionary John Milton (1608–1674), one of the towering figures in the history of the English language. 🍎 And on this day in 1965, the much-loved special “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” with now-classic music by Vince Guaraldi (1928–1976), premiered on CBS television. 🎄
Tuesday (10 December 2019) — Today is the birthday Augusta Ada (Byron) King, Countess of Lovelace (1815–1852), a pioneer of computer science (long before the field existed). 🖥 It’s also the birthday of the great American poet Emily Dickinson (1830–1886). 🎂
Wednesday (11 December 2019) — Today is the birthday of two very different Nobel laureates: the German microbiologist Robert Koch (1843–1910) 🔬 and the Russian novelist and historian Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1918–2008). 🖋
Thursday (12 December 2019) — On this day in 1901 at St. John’s, Newfoundland, engineer and inventor Guglielmo Marconi (1874–1937) successfully received the first trans-Atlantic radio transmission (sent from Cornwall in the U.K.). 📻 And, there’s a full moon tonight, so that means we’ll have a report on student research opportunities from the River Houses Lunar Society (riverhouses.org/lunar). 🌕
Friday (13 December 2019) — It’s Friday the 13th! 🙀 Our Friday Bird Families post this week will introduce you to the Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers. Print your own River Houses Calendar of American Birds (riverhouses.org/calendars) and follow along with us throughout the year. 🦅
Saturday (14 December 2019) — Today is the birthday of the great Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe (1546–1601). 🔭 And on this day in 1911, Roald Amundson, Olav Bjaaland, Helmer Hanssen, Sverre Hassel, and Oscar Wisting became the first men ever to reach the South Pole. For an illustrated review of the final phases of the exploration of our planet’s surface, turn to pages 320–321 in your homeschool history encyclopedia (riverhouses.org/books). 🎿 And since this is the second Saturday of the month, we’ll introduce you to another one of the Great Stars of the northern hemisphere night sky. This month: Aldebaran, the brightest star in the constellation Taurus the Bull. 🌟
Sunday (15 December 2019) — The famous film Gone With the Wind, starring Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh, premiered in Atlanta, Georgia, on this day in 1939. 🎬 And on this day in 1970, the Soviet spacecraft Venera 7 made the first-ever soft landing on another planet (Venus). 🚀
🥂 OUR WEEKLY TOAST, for the holiday season: “May our feast days be many and our fast days be few.”
❡ 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: The African nation of Eswatini (formerly Swaziland) is one of our countries-of-the-week, so our Weekly World River is the Komati River, one of the principal rivers of Eswatini. You can find its location in your recommended homeschool atlas (riverhouses.org/books), and you can read more about it in the Komati 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. 🗓