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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 (and planners!) for the entire year.
🇺🇸 OUR STATE-OF-THE-WEEK is Texas, and our COUNTRIES are Mali 🇲🇱, Malta 🇲🇹, the Marshall Islands 🇲🇭, and Mauritania 🇲🇷. (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, heading toward full tomorrow — 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). Browse through our many astronomy posts for even more!
🗓 TODAY, Sunday (8 March 2020) — Today is the 68th day of 2020; there are 298 days remaining in this leap year. Learn more about different kinds of modern and historical calendars on pages 350–356 in your River Houses almanac (riverhouses.org/books). 📚 Our homeschool poem-of-the-week for second week of March is Walt Whitman’s “When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer,” contrariwise for John Herschel (whose birthday was yesterday) and Albert Einstein (whose birthday is coming up on the 14th). 🔭 Print your own River Houses Poetry Calendar (riverhouses.org/calendars) and follow along with us throughout the year. 🖋
Monday (9 March 2020) — Today is the birthday of the Italian explorer and cartographer Amerigo Vespucci (1454–1512), the father of “America.” 🌎 It’s also the birthday of the great American composer and pianist Samuel Barber (1910–1981). 🎼 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). 🌕
Tuesday (10 March 2020) — Today is Harriet Tubman Day, a great day to celebrate freedom! 🎆
Wednesday (11 March 2020) — Today is the birthday of Vannevar Bush (1890–1974), one of the pioneering thinkers of the early computer age, who envisioned something like the World Wide Web all the way back in 1945 (he called it Memex). 🖥 And our Wednesday tour of World Heritage Sites this week will take you to legendary Timbuktu in Mali. 🇲🇱
Thursday (12 March 2020) — Today is “Girl Scouts’ Birthday,” commemorating the establishment of the first American girl scout troop by Juliette Gordon Low in Savannah, Georgia, in 1912. 🍪
Friday (13 March 2020) — It’s Friday the 13th! 🙀 Today is the birthday of the American businessman, mathematician, and astronomer Percival Lowell (1855–1916), who inspired generations of science-fiction writers with his (mistaken) claim that there was an extensive network of canals on the surface of Mars. 👽 And, our Friday Bird Families post this week will introduce you to the Shrikes and the Vireos. Print your own River Houses Calendar of American Birds (riverhouses.org/calendars) and follow along with us throughout the year. 🦅
Saturday (14 March 2020) — Happy 𝝿 Day! (3/14, that is.) 🥧 And happy birthday also to the great German-Swiss-American physicist Albert Einstein (1879–1955). Learn more about him on pages 416–417 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: Sirius, the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major and the brightest star in earth’s night sky. 🌟
Sunday (15 March 2020) — Beware the Ides of March! 🗡 On the ancient Roman calendar, the 15th of March is called the “Ides,” or midpoint, of the month. On the Ides of March in 44 B.C., the dictator Julius Caesar was stabbed to death by Marcus Junius Brutus, Gaius Cassius Longinus, and several other Roman senators. This ultimately unsuccessful coup led to the consolidation of the Roman state as an Empire under Caesar’s successors and its decline as a Republic. 👑 And speaking of bewaring, our homeschool poem-of-the-week for the third week of March is “The Ides of March” by the modern Greek poet Constantine Cavafy (1863–1933), for, um, the Ides of March! Print your own River Houses Poetry Calendar (riverhouses.org/calendars) and follow along with us throughout the year. 🖋
🥂 OUR WEEKLY TOAST, in honor of Einstein’s birthday: “Here’s to the clever: may they be with us ever.”
❡ 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: Malta in the Mediterranean Sea is one of our countries-of-the-week, but Malta is a rocky island with no permanent rivers, which makes it hard to choose a Maltese Weekly World River! Malta does have quite a few seasonal rivers that flow during the rainy season — the type of stream that is called a wash in the southwestern U.S. and a wadi in the Middle East — so our selection is one of those streams, Wied il-Qlejja, which has been engineered with dams and channels to form the more-or-less permanent Chadwick Lakes. You can find their location in your recommended homeschool atlas (riverhouses.org/books), and you can read more about them in the Chadwick Lakes 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. 🗓