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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 for the entire year.
🇺🇸 OUR STATE-OF-THE-WEEK is Arkansas, and our COUNTRIES are Lebanon 🇱🇧, Lesotho 🇱🇸, Liberia 🇱🇷, and Libya 🇱🇾. (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 a waning crescent — a good time for 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 (16 February 2020) — Today is the 47th day of 2020; there are 319 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). 📚 The Great Backyard Bird Count is underway! You can participate all this weekend (14–17 February) — it’s an ideal homeschool science and nature activity. 🦅 🦃 🦆 🐦 🦉
Monday (17 February 2020) — Today is the birthday of the great Italian violinist and composer Arcangelo Corelli (1653–1713). 🎻 And on this day in 1923, archeologist Howard Carter unsealed the burial chamber of the Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun (ca. 1342–1325 B.C.) and became the first person to set eyes on the pharaoh’s sarcophagus in more than three thousand years. ⚰️
Tuesday (18 February 2020) — The famous American stained-glass artist Louis Comfort Tiffany was born on this day in 1848. 🎨
Wednesday (19 February 2020) — Today is the birthday of the Polish astronomer and polymath Nicolaus Copernicus (1473–1543), one of the great figures in the history of science. 🌞 🌍
Thursday (20 February 2020) — And today is the birthday of the great American photographer Ansel Adams (1902–1984). 📷
Friday (21 February 2020) — On this day in 1918, the last individual Carolina Parakeet, the only species of parrot native to the United States, died in captivity in the Cincinnati Zoo. 😔 🦜 And speaking of birds, our Friday Bird Families post this week will introduce you to some fast-flying raptors: the Caracaras and Falcons. Print your own River Houses Calendar of American Birds (riverhouses.org/calendars) and follow along with us throughout the year. 🦅
Saturday (22 February 2020) — Today is the birthday of George Washington (1732–1799), the first President of the United States. 🇺🇸 And speaking of presidents, on this day in 1924, President Calvin Coolidge delivered the first-ever radio address from the White House. 📻 Our homeschool poem-of-the-week for the last week of February is John Keats’ famous revelatory sonnet “On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer,” for the anniversary of Keats’ death in 1821. 🔭 Print your own River Houses Poetry Calendar (riverhouses.org/calendars) and follow along with us throughout the year. 🖋
🥂 OUR WEEKLY TOAST for this Washington’s Birthday week invites you to remember that in early America, no one was toasted more often than George Washington. This 1788 musical offering by Francis Hopkinson of Philadelphia was but one among thousands:
’Tis Washington’s health — fill a bumper all round,
For he is our glory and pride.
Our arms shall in battle with conquest be crown’d
Whilst virtue and he’s on our side.
❡ 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: Liberia in western Africa is one of our countries-of-the-week, so our Weekly World River is the Mesurado River, which flows through the Liberian capital of Monrovia. You can find its location in your recommended homeschool atlas (riverhouses.org/books), and you can read more about it in the Mesurado 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. 🗓