Click to: riverhouses.org/2020-08-16
Quick Freshes are our regular Sunday notes on the homeschool week ahead. Pick one or two of the items below each week and use them to enrich your homeschooling schedule! Add your name to our free weekly mailing list to get these posts delivered right to your mailbox, and visit our River Houses calendar page (riverhouses.org/calendars) to print your own homeschool calendars and planners for the entire year.
🇺🇸 OUR “STATES” OF THE WEEK are the special U.S. Territories of American Samoa 🇦🇸, Guam 🇬🇺, the Northern Mariana Islands 🇲🇵, Puerto Rico 🇵🇷, the U.S. Virgin Islands 🇻🇮, and the District of Columbia, and our “COUNTRIES” are the five oceans of the world. (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 August 2020) — Today is the 229th day of 2020; there are 137 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 1858, the first transatlantic telegraph cable was put into service with an exchange of messages between U.S. President James Buchanan and Britain’s Queen Victoria. 🇺🇸⌁🇬🇧 Today is also the birthday of the British soldier, writer, and archeologist T.E. Lawrence (1888–1935), better known as Lawrence of Arabia. 🐪
Monday (17 August 2020) — Today is the birthday of the American folk hero, soldier, and politician Davy Crockett (1786–1836). 🐻 And on this day in 1807, the world’s first commercial steamboat service was inaugurated when Robert Fulton’s North River Steamboat departed New York City for Albany, 130 miles up the Hudson River. 🚢
Tuesday (18 August 2020) — On this day in 1920, exactly one hundred years ago, the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, guaranteeing women the right to vote, was ratified. 🇺🇸 🗳 🎉
Wednesday (19 August 2020) — On this day in 1812, during the War of 1812, the American frigate U.S.S. Constitution defeated Great Britain’s H.M.S. Guerriere off the coast of Nova Scotia and earned the nickname “Old Ironsides” (because cannonballs bounced off her sturdy hull). Old Ironsides is today the oldest commissioned warship in the U.S. Navy and you can pay her a visit any day you like in the Charlestown Navy Yard in Boston. ⚓️ And speaking of ships, today is also the birthday of Gene Roddenberry (1921–1991), the creator of Star Trek! 🚀 And our Wednesday tour of World Heritage Sites that began all the way back in September is done! Take a look at all the wonderful places we visited and stop by our homeschool calendar page to print a copy of the new schedule we’ll be following in the new homeschool year that’s about to begin. 🇺🇳
Thursday (20 August 2020) — Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s famous 1812 Overture debuted on this day in 1882 in Moscow. 🎆 Today is also the birthday of the American writer H.P. Lovecraft (1890–1937), author of many creepy (but popular) horror stories. 🙀 And on this day in 1975, NASA launched the Viking 1 Mars probe. Viking 1 became the first successful Mars lander and remained in operation for more than six years. (An earlier probe, the Soviet Union’s Mars 3, did successfully land on Mars in 1971, but it transmitted for only twenty seconds.) 🚀
Friday (21 August 2020) — Nat Turner’s Rebellion, one of the largest slave uprisings in early America, began on this night in 1831 in Southampton County, Virginia. ⚔️ And on this day in 1959, Hawaii became the 50th state of the Union. 🇺🇸 The Great American Solar Eclipse of 2017 took place on this day just three years ago — perhaps you saw it! 🌏 🌑 🌞 Our year-long series of Friday Bird Families posts that reviewed all the birds of North America is now complete! 🐦 🦉 🦆 🦜 🦃 🦢 Visit our main River Houses calendar page (riverhouses.org/calendars) and print a new Calendar of American Birds for the new homeschool year that’s about to begin. 🦅
Saturday (22 August 2020) — The English Civil War between the King and Parliament began on this day in 1642 when Charles I raised the royal standard at Nottingham. To make this anniversary into a nice little homeschool lesson, turn to page 264 in your River Houses history encyclopedia (riverhouses.org/books). 👑 ⚔️ Today is also the birthday of famed French pianist and composer Claude Debussy (1862–1918). 🎹 And our homeschool poem-of-the-week for the fourth week of August, the last week of the 2019–2020 River Houses year, is “Envoy,” a cheerful farewell wish for happy houses and living waters from Robert Louis Stevenson. 🏡 Print your own River Houses Poetry Calendar (riverhouses.org/calendars) and follow along with us all through the new homeschool year to come. 🖋
Sunday (23 August 2020) — On this day in 1775, four months after Lexington and Concord, and two months after Bunker Hill, King George III formally proclaimed the American colonies to be in a state of “open and avowed rebellion.” ⚔️
🥂 OUR WEEKLY TOAST, for the centennial of the Nineteenth Amendment, is an old traditional: “To the Ballot: may it break the visible and invisible chains of slavery.”
❡ 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!”). Many of our current toasts are taken from an old anthology called Clark’s Original Songs, Recitations, &c. (Rye, Sussex, 1846). What will you toast this week? 🥂
🌊 EVERYTHING FLOWS: Last week we completed our annual tour of the countries of the world (from which we had been selecting our Weekly World Rivers), so it is only fitting this week that we look to the source of them all. The ancient Greeks believed that the whole world was encircled by a great flowing river, and they personified this universal river as the god Ὠκεανός (Okeanos, Oceanus, Ocean). Okeanos was one of the Titans, a child of Οὐρανός (Ouranos, Uranus, Heaven) and Γαῖα (Gaia, Terra, Earth), and with his sister-wife Τηθύς (Tethys), Okeanos fathered all the rivers of the world. You can read much more about this father of the waters in the comprehensive Okeanos/Oceanus entry in Wikipedia, or perhaps on your next visit to your local library. Our Weekly World River for this next-to-last week of the River Houses year is therefore the World River, Okeanos.
❡ 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, 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. 🗓
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