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.
🌞🌏🌕 A PARTIAL LUNAR ECLIPSE will be visible this coming Saturday–Sunday night (4–5 July) over much of the United States. It’s only a penumbral eclipse and won’t be especially dramatic, but it’s certainly worth watching if you have clear skies. 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!
🇺🇸 OUR STATE-OF-THE-WEEK is Wyoming, and our COUNTRIES are Tanzania 🇹🇿, Thailand 🇹🇭, Timor-Leste (East Timor) 🇹🇱, and Togo 🇹🇬. (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 at 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 (28 June 2020) — Today is the 180th day of 2020; there are 186 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). 📚 On this day in 1914 the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand at Sarajevo set World War I in motion, and on this day in 1919 the Treaty of Versailles brought that war to an end. (See pages 370–375 in your homeschool history encyclopedia for an overview of “The Great War.”) ⚔️ 🕊
Monday (29 June 2020) — The famous French economist and freedom-philosopher Frédéric Bastiat was born on this day in 1801. 🇫🇷 And today is the birthday of the French writer and air force pilot Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (1900–1944), author of The Little Prince. 🐘
Tuesday (30 June 2020) — Today is International Asteroid Day, marking the anniversary of the 1908 Tunguska Event when a meteoroid perhaps as much as 600 feet long exploded in the atmosphere and flattened more than 700 square miles of forest in Siberia. 🌠
Wednesday (1 July 2020) — Midnight tonight (1–2 July) is the mid-point of this leap year: 183 days have passed, and 183 days remain. 🗓 Today is the birthday of the great German mathematician and polymath Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646–1716). 🧠 It’s also the birthday of the German–Hungarian physician Ignaz Semmelweis (1818–1865), “the savior of mothers,” who discovered that deaths from childbed fever could be dramatically reduced by requiring physicians delivering babies to wash their hands. 👨⚕️ On this day in 1863, the Civil War Battle of Gettysburg began. Over three days of fighting, Union and Confederate forces suffered more than 40,000 casualties. ⚔️ And the devastating World War I Battle of the Somme began on this day in 1916. ⚔️ Our Wednesday tour of World Heritage Sites this week will take you to Historic City of Ayutthaya in Thailand. 🇹🇭 And our homeschool poem-of-the-week for the first week of July is William Ralph Emerson’s American anthem “A Nation’s Strength,” for Independence Day. 🇺🇸 Print your own River Houses Poetry Calendar (riverhouses.org/calendars) and follow along with us throughout the year. 🖋
Thursday (2 July 2020) — On this day in 1776, the Continental Congress passed the Lee Resolution, declaring the Thirteen Colonies independent of Great Britain. 🇺🇸 Today is also the birthday of Thurgood Marshall (1908–1993), the first African American appointed to the United States Supreme Court. 👨🏾⚖️ And, the first Walmart store opened on this day in 1962 in Rogers, Arkansas! 🛒
Friday (3 July 2020) — On this day in 1775, on orders from the Continental Congress and a year before Independence was declared, George Washington took command of the thousands of New England militiamen encamped outside of Boston, and the Continental Army was born. 🇺🇸 Today is the birthday of the early American painter John Singleton Copley (1738–1815), who memorialized many prominent figures of the American Revolutionary period. 🎨 And today is also the birthday of the American songwriter, actor, and Yankee Doodle Dandy George M. Cohan (1872–1942). 🎵 One of the most mysterious archeological objects in the world, the Phaistos Disk, was discovered on this day in 1908 in the ancient Minoan palace of Phaistos on Crete. Believed to be about 3500 years old, it is covered with a spiral of stamped symbols that appear to represent an unknown form of writing. 𐇵 You can learn more about the Minoan civilization that produced the Phaistos disk (and see a picture of it) on page 76 of your River Houses history encyclopedia (riverhouses.org/books). 🐬 Our Friday Bird Families post this week will introduce you to the brilliant Tanagers and the peculiar Western Spindalis. Print your own River Houses Calendar of American Birds (riverhouses.org/calendars) and follow along with us throughout the year. 🦅
Saturday (4 July 2020) — HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY! 🎆 On this day in 1776, the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence. 🇺🇸 And on this day in 1802, the United States Military Academy opened at West Point, New York. ⚔️ The great American novelist and short-story writer Nathaniel Hawthorne was born on this day in 1804. 🖋 On this day in 1826, on the 50th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson died in Virginia and John Adams died in Massachusetts. 🇺🇸 And on this day in 1872, Calvin Coolidge, 30th President of the United States, was born in Plymouth Notch, Vermont. ⛰ And since this is the first Saturday of the month, we’ll post our regular monthly preview today of some of the astronomical events you and your students can watch for over the next few weeks. 🔭
Sunday (5 July 2020) — One of the most famous books in the history of science, Isaac Newton’s Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica (Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy), was published in London on this day in 1687. 📖 And somewhat less sublime: the canned luncheon meat SPAM was first introduced to the American market on this day in 1937! 🍽
🥂 THIS WEEK’S TOAST is one of our traditional offerings for Independence Day:
To the memory of the man
That owned the land,
That raised the corn,
That fed the goose,
That bore the quill,
That made the pen,
That wrote the Declaration of Independence.
❡ 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 island nation of Timor-Leste (East Timor) in southeast Asia is one of our countries-of-the-week, so our Weekly World River is the wildlife-rich Irabere River. You can find its location in your recommended homeschool atlas (riverhouses.org/books), and you can read more about it in the Irabere 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. 🗓