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 homeschool calendars and planners for the entire year.
🌞🌏🌕 A PARTIAL LUNAR ECLIPSE will be visible next weekend (Sunday–Monday night, 29–30 November) over most of the United States. It’s only a penumbral eclipse so it won’t be a very dramatic event (unlike a total or umbral eclipse), but it’s certainly worth watching if you have clear skies and are up after midnight. Check the eclipse page at timeanddate.com to find the exact timing for your specific location, and go out with your young astronomers and take a look!
🗓 🦢 This is the last full week of CYGNUS TERM, our Fall term in the River Houses. Orion Term, our Winter term, begins on Tuesday the first of December. (And December is also our Holiday Music Month!)
🇺🇸 OUR STATE-OF-THE-WEEK is North Carolina, and our COUNTRIES are Cyprus 🇨🇾, Czechia (Czech Republic) 🇨🇿, Denmark 🇩🇰, and Djibouti 🇩🇯. (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 just barely past its first quarter — 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 (22 November 2020) — Today is the 327th day of 2020; there are 39 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). 📚 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. 🖋
Monday (23 November 2020) — One of the great early masters of polyphonic music, Thomas Tallis, died on this day in 1583. (He was born about 1505 on a date unknown.) Tallis wrote, and his themes inspired, some of the most ethereal music in the world. 🎼
Tuesday (24 November 2020) — One of the most influential books ever written, Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, was published on this day in 1859. 🦋 And the much loved novel Black Beauty was published on this day in 1877. 🐴
Wednesday (25 November 2020) — On this day in 1783, at the end of the American Revolution, the final negotiated evacuation of British troops from New York City was completed. The last toast offered at the ceremonial dinner held that evening was, “May the Remembrance of This Day be a Lesson to Princes.” 🇺🇸 Today is the birthday of the great Scottish-American businessman and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie (1835–1919), who planted beautiful public libraries all around the world. (Thank you!) 📚 And our Wednesday tour of World Heritage Sites this week will take you to the Pilgrimage Church of St. John of Nepomuk at Zelená Hora in Czechia. 🇨🇿
Thursday (26 November 2020) — HAPPY THANKSGIVING! 🦃 🦃 (That’s emoji for “gobble gobble.”) We’ll have some lovely music to share with you today. Thank you all for following us here at the River Houses! 😊 The classic movie Casablanca, starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, premiered on this day in 1942. 🎥 And today is the birthday of Charles M. Schulz (1922–2000), creator of the beloved Peanuts comic strip. 🥜 🐶
Friday (27 November 2020) — Today is the birthday of the Swedish astronomer and physicist Anders Celsius (1701–1744), a man of degrees. 🌡 The first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was held in New York City on this day in 1924. 🏬 Our Friday Bird Families post this week will continue with the Sandpipers, a big group! Print your own River Houses Calendar of American Birds (riverhouses.org/calendars) and follow the flyways with us throughout the year. 🦅
Saturday (28 November 2020) — Today is (probably) the birthday of the Puritan preacher and sometime prisoner John Bunyan (1628–1688), author of The Pilgrim’s Progress, the second most widely printed book in history (after the Bible). 🚶 Today is also the birthday of the great English mystical poet William Blake (1757–1827). 🐯 And on this day in 1972, the first successful arcade video game, Pong, was released. (Does anyone remember arcade games?) 🏓
Sunday (29 November 2020) — Today is the birthday of the American novelist Louisa May Alcott (1832–1888), author of Little Women and Little Men. 👧 👦
🥂 🦅 🦃 OUR WEEKLY TOAST is a Thanksgiving traditional that makes a traditional American comparison: “To our two national fowls, the American Eagle and the Thanksgiving Turkey: may the one give peace to all our states, and the other a piece for all our plates.”
❡ 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: Denmark in western Europe is one of our countries-of-the-week, so our Weekly World River is the lovely little Usserød River on the Danish island of Zealand. You can find its location in your recommended homeschool atlas (riverhouses.org/books), and you can read more about it in the Usserød 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. 🗓