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 West Virginia, and our COUNTRIES are Paraguay 🇵🇾, Peru 🇵🇪, the Philippines 🇵🇭, and Poland 🇵🇱. (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 waning — 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 (2 May 2021) — Today is the 122nd day of 2021; there are 243 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. 📚 Peter and the Wolf, the much-loved orchestral work for children by Sergei Prokofiev (1891–1953), debuted in Moscow on this day in 1936. 🐺
Monday (3 May 2021) — Today is the birthday of the famous Renaissance historian and philosopher Niccolò Machiavelli (1469–1527). 👑 And on this day in 1715, Edmund Halley (of comet fame) successfully predicted, to within four minutes’ accuracy, a total solar eclipse that was visible across much of Europe. 🌍 🌑 🌞
Tuesday (4 May 2021) — Today is the birthday of the great American landscape painter Frederic Edwin Church (1826–1900). 🎨 Today is also International Firefighters Day! 🚒 And since this is the first Tuesday of the month, today we’ll invite you to browse a new Dewey Decimal class with your students on your next visit to your local library. This month: the Artistic 700s. 📚
Wednesday (5 May 2021) — The famous performance venue known today as Carnegie Hall opened in New York City on this day in 1891, with the great Russian composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840–1893) as guest conductor. (New York tourist: “How do I get to Carnegie Hall?” New Yorker: “Practice, young man! Practice!”) 🎵 Our Wednesday tour of World Heritage Sites this week will take you to Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park in the Philippines. 🇵🇭
Thursday (6 May 2021) — Today is the birthday of the American admiral and polar explorer Robert Peary (1856–1920). 🎿 And on this day in 1954, British athlete Roger Bannister (1929–2018) ran history’s first four-minute mile. 🏃
Friday (7 May 2021) — Two great “B’s” were born on this day: the English poet Robert Browning (1812–1889) 🖋 and the German composer Johannes Brahms (1833–1897). 🎼 And on this day in 1915, a German U-boat sank the passenger liner R.M.S. Lusitania, killing nearly 1200 civilians. It was one of the principal events that drew the United States into World War I. 🚢 Our Friday Bird Families post this week will introduce you to the melodious Thrushes. Print your own River Houses Calendar of American Birds and follow the flyways with us throughout the year. 🦅
Saturday (8 May 2021) — Today is the birthday of the great Austrian-British economist and Nobel laureate Friedrich Hayek (1899–1992). 💰 And today in 1945 was V-E Day, the end of World War II in Europe. ✌️ Our homeschool poem-of-the-week for the second week of May is Anne Bradstreet’s “In Reference to Her Children,” for Mother’s Day and all homeschool moms. 👩👧👦 Print your own River Houses Poetry Calendar and follow along with us throughout the year. 🖋 And since this is the second Saturday of the month, we’ll introduce you to another one of the Great Stars of the northern hemisphere night sky. This month: the pole star Polaris, the brightest star in the constellation Ursa Minor, the Little Bear (which includes the Little Dipper). 🌟
Sunday (9 May 2021) — Happy Mother’s Day to all homeschool moms everywhere! What would the world do without you? ❤️ Lincoln Cathedral was consecrated on this day in the year 1092. It was the first building to surpass the Great Pyramid of Giza in height and was the tallest building in the world for more than 200 years. ⛪️
🥂 🐦 OUR WEEKLY TOAST is for Bird Migration Month: “To the early bird that catches the worm.”
❡ 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!”). Many of our current toasts are taken from an old collection that appeared in Routledge’s Manual of Etiquette (London, ca. 1870). What will you toast this week? 🥂
🌎 🇵🇾 EVERYTHING FLOWS: Paraguay in central South America is one of our countries-of-the-week, so our Weekly World River is the Salado River, a tributary of the great Paraguay River. You can find its location in your recommended homeschool atlas, and you can read more about it in the Salado 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. 🗓