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.
🦅 🐦 This coming Saturday is the first day of MAY, and May is Bird Migration Month in the River Houses! Throughout the month we’ll be sharing an assortment of extra homeschool notes on one of the world’s most wonderful natural phenomena.
🇺🇸 OUR STATE-OF-THE-WEEK is Kansas, and our COUNTRIES are Pakistan 🇵🇰, Palau 🇵🇼, Panama 🇵🇦, and Papua New Guinea 🇵🇬. (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, heading toward full on Monday! 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 (25 April 2021) — Today is the 115th day of 2021; there are 250 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. 📚 Today is the birthday of the English poet and novelist Walter de la Mare (1873–1956). 🖋 The World War I Battle of Gallipoli began on this day in 1915. The date is commemorated as Anzac Day in Australia and New Zealand. 🇦🇺🇳🇿 And on this day in 1953, Francis Crick and James Watson published “A Structure for Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid,” outlining for the first time the double-helical architecture of DNA, the molecule of heredity. 👨🔬👨🔬
Monday (26 April 2021) — On this day in 1803, thousands of meteor fragments fell from the skies over L’Aigle, France, demonstrating conclusively that “shooting stars” were in fact rocks falling from the sky. 🌠 Today is also the birthday of the famous French-American naturalist and artist John James Audubon (1785–1851). 🎨 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. 🌕
Tuesday (27 April 2021) — On this day in 1667, John Milton, blind and impoverished, sold the publishing rights to his masterpiece Paradise Lost for £5. 🍎 And today is the birthday of the American artist and inventor Samuel F.B. Morse (1791–1872), the creator of Morse Code. 🎨
Wednesday (28 April 2021) — Today is the birthday of the American novelist Harper Lee (1926–2016), author of the school-standard story To Kill a Mockingbird. 🖋 Our Wednesday tour of World Heritage Sites this week will take you to the Rock Islands of Palau. 🇵🇼
Thursday (29 April 2021) — Today is the birthday of the great American jazz musician and composer Duke Ellington (1899–1974). 🎹
Friday (30 April 2021) — On this day in 1789, on the balcony of Federal Hall in New York City, George Washington took the oath of office as the first President of the United States. 🇺🇸 And on this day in 1897, British physicist J. J. Thompson announced the discovery of the electron. ⚛️ Today is also the birthday of the great American choral conductor Robert Shaw (1916–1999). 🎶 Our Friday Bird Families post this week will introduce you to the Sylviid Warblers and their allies. Print your own River Houses Calendar of American Birds and follow the flyways with us throughout the year. 🦅
Saturday (1 May 2021) — Happy May! 🌼 May is Bird Migration Month in the River Houses. Keep an eye on the season’s progress at BirdCast.info. 🐦 🦆 🦅 The world’s first postage stamp, the Penny Black, was issued on this day in 1840 in the United Kingdom. 📬 And on this day in 1931, the Empire State Building was dedicated in New York City as (at the time) the tallest building in the world. 🏙 Our homeschool poem-of-the-week for the first week of May is, naturally enough, “May and the Poets” by Leigh Hunt (1784–1859). 🌼 Print your own River Houses Poetry Calendar and follow along with us throughout the year. 🖋 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. 🔭
🥂 👨🌾 THIS WEEK’S TOAST, for all the farmers of the world, is an old traditional for the beginning of the growing season:
Good luck to the hoof and the horn!
Good luck to the flock and the fleece!
Good luck to the growers of corn!
With blessings of plenty and peace!
❡ 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: Panama in Central America is one of our countries-of-the-week, so our Weekly World River is the Tuira River, one of the longest rivers in Panama. You can find its location in your recommended homeschool atlas, and you can read more about it in the Tuira 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. 🗓