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.
🐦 THE GREAT BACKYARD BIRD COUNT is underway right now (12–15 February) all across the country and around the world! How many birds have you counted in your neighborhood?
🇺🇸 OUR STATE-OF-THE-WEEK is STATE, and our COUNTRIES are Kuwait 🇰🇼, Kyrgyzstan 🇰🇬, Laos 🇱🇦, and Latvia 🇱🇻. (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 waxing 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 371–386 in your almanac. Browse through our many astronomy posts for even more.
🗓 TODAY, Sunday (14 February 2021) — Happy Valentine’s Day! ❤️ Here’s hoping your little home academy will be full of love on this day and every day throughout the year. 💕 Today is the 45th day of 2021; there are 320 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. 📚
Monday (15 February 2021) — Today is the third Monday in February, which makes it the Washington’s Birthday holiday in the United States! 🇺🇸 Today is also the birthday of the Italian astronomer and physicist Galileo Galileo (1564–1642), one of the most important figures in the history of science. 🔭 And it’s also the birthday of the American women’s rights advocate Susan B. Anthony (1820–1906). ⚖️ Our homeschool poem-of-the-week for the third week of February is Stephen Spender’s minor masterpiece “The Truly Great,” for the remarkable collection of important people born in February. 🌠 Print your own River Houses Poetry Calendar and follow along with us throughout the year. 🖋
Tuesday (16 February 2021) — Today is the birthday of Philip Melanchthon (1497–1560), a colleague of Martin Luther and one of the first great scholars of the Protestant Reformation.
Wednesday (17 February 2021) — 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. ⚰️ Our Wednesday tour of World Heritage Sites this week will take you to the Megalithic Jar Sites of Xiengkhuang in Laos. 🇱🇦
Thursday (18 February 2021) — The famous American stained-glass artist Louis Comfort Tiffany was born on this day in 1848. 🎨
Friday (19 February 2021) — Today is the birthday of the Polish astronomer and polymath Nicolaus Copernicus (1473–1543), another one of the great figures in the history of science. 🌞 🌍 Our Friday Bird Families post this week will introduce you to the fast-flying Caracaras and Falcons. Print your own River Houses Calendar of American Birds and follow the flyways with us throughout the year. 🦅
Saturday (20 February 2021) — Today is the birthday of the great American photographer Ansel Adams (1902–1984). 📷
Sunday (21 February 2021) — 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. 🦜 😔
🥂 🇺🇸 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 unpredictability in toasting!”). What will you toast this week? 🥂
🌍 🇱🇻 EVERYTHING FLOWS: Latvia in eastern Europe is one of our countries-of-the-week, so our Weekly World River is the important Daugava River, which flows through the Latvian capital of Riga. You can find its location in your recommended homeschool atlas, and you can read more about it in the Daugava 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. 🗓