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 “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 full — a good time to be out and about in the well-lit night! 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 (22 August 2021) — Today is the 234th day of 2021; there are 131 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. 📚 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. 👑 ⚔️ Today is also the birthday of famed French pianist and composer Claude Debussy (1862–1918). 🎹 There’s a full moon tonight, so that means we’ll have a report on student research opportunities from the River Houses Lunar Society. 🌕 And our homeschool poem-of-the-week for the fourth week of August, the last week of the 2020–2021 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 and follow along with us all through the new homeschool year to come. 🖋
Monday (23 August 2021) — 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.” ⚔️
Tuesday (24 August 2021) — Although there is some debate among scholars, this is generally believed to be the day on which Mount Vesuvius erupted in A.D. 79, burying the ancient Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. 🌋 And speaking of destruction, on this day in 1814, during the War of 1812, British troops captured the city of Washington and burned the White House and the U.S. Capitol. 🇬🇧⚔️🇺🇸
Wednesday (25 August 2021) — On the second day of the burning of Washington in 1814, the U.S. Treasury, the Library of Congress, and other public buildings were destroyed by British Troops. 🇬🇧⚔️🇺🇸 Today is also the birthday of American illustrator Walt Kelly (1913–1973), the creator of the comic strip Pogo. 🎨 And it’s also the birthday of the great American conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein (1918–1990). 🎵 Our Wednesday World Heritage tours that began all the way back last September are now complete! Take a look at all the world’s wonders we explored and stop by our homeschool calendar page to print a copy of the new schedule we’ll be following in the new 2021–2022 homeschool year! 🇺🇳
Thursday (26 August 2021) — Today is the birthday of one of the founders of modern chemistry, the great French scientist Antoine Lavoisier (1743–1794), who coined the names “oxygen” and “hydrogen.” ⚗️
Friday (27 August 2021) — One of the largest volcanic eruptions in recorded history took place on this day in 1883 in the Krakatoa archipelago of Indonesia. Over the course of the previous day an ash cloud seventeen miles high had developed over the islands, and on the 27th four massive explosions occurred, the largest of which was heard 3000 miles away in the Indian Ocean. The ash injected into the atmosphere by the Krakatoa eruption produced vivid sunsets all around the world for many months. 🌋 Our year-long series of Friday Bird Families posts that reviewed all the birds of North America is now complete! Take a look at all the wonderful avian friends we made this past year. 🐦 🦉 🦆 🦜 🦃 🦢 Visit our main River Houses calendar page and print a new Calendar of American Birds for the new homeschool year that will begin in September. 🦅
Saturday (28 August 2021) — Today is the birthday of the American naturalist and artist Roger Tory Peterson (1908–1996), whose series of compact field guides helped to make amateur bird study popular around the world. 🦆 And on this day in 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. 🕊 🇺🇸
Sunday (29 August 2021) — Today is the birthday of the great philosopher of liberty John Locke (1632–1704), whose works influenced the framing of the American system of government. 📖
🥂 🌬 OUR TOAST for the last full week of every homeschool year is one of our traditional maritime offerings, for all our friends embarking on new voyages: “Fair winds and following seas.”
❡ 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: 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 last full week of the River Houses year is therefore the World River, Okeanos.
❡ 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. 🗓