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 Massachusetts, and our COUNTRIES are Bolivia 🇧🇴, Bosnia and Herzegovina 🇧🇦, Botswana 🇧🇼, and Brazil 🇧🇷. (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 (10 October 2021) — Today is the 283rd day of 2021; there are 82 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 also the birthday of the great Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi (1813–1901). 🎼 And on this day in 1845 in Annapolis, Maryland, the United States Naval Academy opened with 50 students and seven professors. ⚓️
Monday (11 October 2021) — Today is Columbus Day in the United States, the federal holiday commemorating the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Americas on the 12th of October in 1492. Italy, Spain, and almost all the countries in Latin America have an equivalent holiday. 🌎 And of speaking sailors and the navy, on this day in 1776, American naval forces on Lake Champlain under the command of Benedict Arnold (not yet a traitor) were defeated by the British in the Battle of Valcour Island. Although it was an American loss, the Battle of Valcour Island successfully delayed the British advance down the Hudson–Champlain corridor for nearly a year and may have saved the cause of the Revolution. ⚓️ 🇺🇸
Wednesday (13 October 2021) — It’s National Fossil Day! ⛏ One of the most beautiful objects in the night sky, the Whirlpool Galaxy, was discovered on this day in 1773 by French astronomer Charles Messier. 🌀 And speaking still further of the navy, the United States Navy itself was established on this day in 1775 by the Continental Congress, before there was even a United States! ⚓️ The cornerstone of the White House in Washington, D.C., was laid on this day in 1792. 🇺🇸 And our Wednesday tour of World Heritage Sites this week will investigate the Tsodilo Rock Art in Botswana. 🇧🇼
Thursday (14 October 2021) — On this day in 1066, French forces commanded by William of Normandy defeated the English army of King Harold II in the Battle of Hastings. ⚔️ Today is the birthday of American poet E.E. Cummings (1894–1962). 🖋 And on this day in 1926, the much-loved children’s book Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne was published. 🐻
Friday (15 October 2021) — On this day in 1783 at Faubourg Saint-Antoine near Paris, Étienne Montgolfier (1745–1799) became the first human being to ascend from the surface of the earth in a hot-air balloon. 🎈 Our Friday Bird Families post this week will introduce you to the Cuckoos, Roadrunners (beep! beep!), Anis, and Goatsuckers. Print your own River Houses Calendar of American Birds and follow the flyways with us. 🦅 And our homeschool poem-of-the-week for the third week of October is Robert Frost’s “After Apple-Picking,” for the fall harvest. Print your own River Houses Poetry Calendar and follow along throughout the year. 🍎
Saturday (16 October 2021) — Today is the midpoint of Cygnus Term and thus one of the four cross-quarter days of the River Houses year. How are things going? 🦢 Today is also the birthday of American lexicographer and education pioneer Noah Webster (1758–1843), of dictionary fame. 📖 And it’s also the birthday of the Irish playwright and novelist Oscar Wilde (1854–1900). 🎭 On this day in 1859, in one of the precipitating events of the Civil War, the abolitionist John Brown (1800–1859) led an armed raid on the United States arsenal at Harpers Ferry, Virginia. 🌠
Sunday (17 October 2021) — On this day in 1777, one of the most important days in the course of the American Revolution, British General John Burgoyne surrendered his entire army at Saratoga, New York. 🏳
🥂 ⚓️ OUR WEEKLY TOAST is one of our traditional offerings, for the birthday of the United States Navy: “To the wind that blows, and the ship that goes, and the lass that loves a sailor.” (Female sailors are welcome to substitute “lad” for “lass.”)
❡ 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: Bolivia in central South America is one of our countries-of-the-week, so our Weekly World River is the Yata River, which is known to be infested with flesh-eating piranhas! You can find its location in your recommended homeschool atlas, and you can read more about it in the Yata River entry in Wikipedia or perhaps on your next visit to your local library.
❡ Children 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. 🌎
AND DON’T FORGET: Friday the 13th comes on a Wednesday this month! 🙀
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. 🗓