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. Add your name to our free mailing list to get posts like these delivered right to your mailbox each week, and visit our River Houses calendar page (riverhouses.org/calendars) to print your own calendars and planners for the entire year.
🌠 THE ANNUAL LEONID METEOR SHOWER will peak (probably) on Monday and Tuesday nights this week (and may spread over into the nights before and after as well). The Leonids are debris from Comet Tempel–Tuttle. ☄️
🇺🇸 OUR STATE-OF-THE-WEEK is New York, and our COUNTRIES are Costa Rica 🇨🇷, Cote d’Ivoire 🇨🇮, Croatia 🇭🇷, and Cuba 🇨🇺. (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 new — that’s the best time of the month for dark-sky stargazing! 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 (15 November 2020) — Today is the 320th day of 2020; there are 46 days remaining in this leap year. Learn more about different kinds of calendars on pages 350–356 in your River Houses almanac (riverhouses.org/books). 📚 On this day in 1777, after many months of debate, the Continental Congress approved the Articles of Confederation and sent them to the states for ratification. 🇺🇸 The cornerstone of the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C., was laid on this day in 1939 by President Franklin Roosevelt. 🏛 Our homeschool poem-of-the-week for the third week of November is A.E. Housman’s “Stars, I have seen them fall,” for the annual Leonid meteor shower. 🌠 Print your own River Houses Poetry Calendar (riverhouses.org/calendars) and follow along with us throughout the year. 🖋
Monday (16 November 2020) — The movie Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the first in the series, was released on this day in 2001. It earned just shy of $1 billion worldwide at the box office. 🧙
Tuesday (17 November 2020) — Today is the birthday of German mathematician and astronomer August Ferdinand Möbius (1790–1868), inventor (or discoverer?) of the strip that bears his name. 🥓
Wednesday (18 November 2020) — Saint Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, the largest church in the world, was consecrated on this day in 1626. 🇻🇦 Today is the birthday of the great American musician Johnny Mercer (1909–1976), composer and lyricist of “Autumn Leaves” and many other standards. 🎼 And our Wednesday tour of World Heritage Sites this week will take you to the Historic Town of Grand-Bassam in Côte d’Ivoire. 🇨🇮
Thursday (19 November 2020) — Seven score and seventeen years ago today, Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address. American school children often memorized it once upon a time. Why not read it aloud in your homeschool today — you’ll find the text on page 482 of your almanac (riverhouses.org/books). 🇺🇸
Friday (20 November 2020) — 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), and it would be later dramatized in the 2015 film In the Heart of the Sea. 🐳 Today is also the birthday of the American astronomer and cosmologist Edwin Hubble (1889–1953), who vastly enlarged our understanding of the universe. 🔭 Our Friday Bird Families post this week will introduce you to the Sandpipers! Print your own River Houses Calendar of American Birds (riverhouses.org/calendars) and follow the flyways with us throughout the year. 🦅
Saturday (21 November 2020) — On this day in 1905, a technical paper titled “Does the inertia of a body depend upon its energy content?” was published in the German science journal Annalen der Physik (Annals of Physics). The author was a 26-year-old patent clerk named Albert Einstein and the paper established that E = mc². ⚛️
Sunday (22 November 2020) — Our homeschool poem-of-the-week for the last week of November is Rowena Bastin Bennett’s “Thanksgiving Magic,” for all Thanksgiving Day cooks from sea to shining sea. 🍽 Print your own River Houses Poetry Calendar (riverhouses.org/calendars) and follow along with us throughout the year. 🖋
🥂 🇺🇸 OUR WEEKLY TOAST is for this week’s 157th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address: “May government of the people, by the people, for the people, never perish from the earth.”
❡ 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 unpredictability in toasting!”). What will you toast this week? 🥂
🌎 🇨🇷 EVERYTHING FLOWS: Costa Rica in Central America is one of our countries-of-the-week, so our Weekly World River is eastern Costa Rica’s Reventazón River (Río Reventazón). You can find its location in your recommended homeschool atlas (riverhouses.org/books), and you can read more about it in the Reventazón River entry in Wikipedia or perhaps on your next visit to your local library.
❡ Daughters of Ocean: 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. 🗓