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. Visit our River Houses calendar page to print your own homeschool calendars and planners for the entire year.
🇺🇸 OUR STATE-OF-THE-WEEK is Illinois, and our COUNTRIES are Ireland 🇮🇪, Israel 🇮🇱, Italy 🇮🇹, and Jamaica 🇯🇲. (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 gibbous and waxing — 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 371–386 in your almanac. Browse through our many astronomy posts for even more.
🗓 TODAY, Sunday (24 January 2021) — Today is the 24th day of 2021; there are 341 days remaining in this common year. Learn more about different kinds of modern and historical calendars on pages 387–393 in your River Houses almanac. 📚 On this day in 1848, James W. Marshall discovered gold at Sutter’s Mill, California, touching off the California Gold Rush. ⛏
Monday (25 January 2021) — Today is the birthday of the great Scottish poet Robert Burns (1759–1796), aye. 🌹
Tuesday (26 January 2021) — The world’s largest diamond, the Cullinan Diamond, was found on this day in 1905 in the Premier mine near Pretoria, South Africa. 💎 And on this day in 1915, Rocky Mountain National Park was established by an act of the U.S. Congress. 🏞
Wednesday (27 January 2021) — Today is the birthday of the great classical composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791). 🎼 And our Wednesday tour of World Heritage Sites this week will take you to the Necropolis of Bet She’arim in Israel. 🇮🇱
Thursday (28 January 2021) — On this day in 1986, the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded just 73 seconds after launch, killing all seven members of the astronaut crew. 👨🚀👨🚀👨🚀👩🚀👩🚀👨🚀👨🚀 Today is also the birthday of the great choral composer John Taverner (1944–2013). 🎼 And, there’s a full moon tonight, so that means we’ll have a report on student research opportunities from the River Houses Lunar Society. 🌕
Friday (29 January 2021) — Today is the birthday of Revolutionary war general Moses Cleaveland (1754–1806), the founder of Cleveland, Ohio. 🏙 It’s also the birthday of the great Russian writer Anton Chekhov (1860–1904). 🖋 Our Friday Bird Families post this week will introduce you to the Owls! Print your own River Houses Calendar of American Birds and follow the flyways with us throughout the year. 🦉
Saturday (30 January 2021) — Today is the birthday of U.S. president Franklin Roosevelt (1882–1945). 🇺🇸 It’s also the birthday of pioneering computer scientist Douglas Engelbart (1925–2013), inventor of the computer mouse and many other standard features of modern computers. 🖱
Sunday (31 January 2021) — Today is the birthday of the great Austrian pianist and composer Franz Schubert (1797–1828). 🎹 It’s also the birthday of baseball great Jackie Robinson (1919–1972), the first African-American to play in the Major Leagues. ⚾️ And on this day in 1930, Scotch Tape first went on the market. 📦
🥂 ⛏ OUR WEEKLY TOAST, in honor of the discovery of gold at Sutter’s Mill this week in 1848, is a traditional miners’ toast from Yorkshire: “May all your labours be in vein.”
❡ 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: The island-nation of Jamaica in the West Indies is one of our countries-of-the-week, so our Weekly World River is the Black River, one of the longest rivers in Jamaica. You can find its location in your recommended homeschool atlas, and you can read more about it in the Black 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 699–701), 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 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 and follow along with us. 🗓