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 Maryland, and our COUNTRIES are Brunei 🇧🇳, Bulgaria 🇧🇬, Burkina Faso 🇧🇫, and Burundi 🇧🇮. (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 — 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 (17 October 2021) — Today is the 290th day of 2021; there are 75 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. 📚 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. 🇺🇸
Monday (18 October 2021) — The great American novel Moby-Dick by Herman Melville was first published on this day in 1851 in London (sic). 🐳 And today is the birthday of the great rock-and-roll pioneer Chuck Berry (1926–2017). 🎸
Tuesday (19 October 2021) — Today is the birthday of Sir Thomas Browne (1605–1682), author of some of the most luminous prose in the English language. ⚱️ And on this day in 1781 at Yorktown, Virginia, British forces under the command of Lord Cornwallis surrendered to George Washington and Comte de Rochambeau, effectively ending the American Revolution. 🕊
Wednesday (20 October 2021) — Today is the birthday of the architect Sir Christopher Wren (1632–1732), who rebuilt much of central London after the Great Fire of 1666. 🏛 And on this day in the year 1803, the United States Senate ratified the Louisiana Purchase. 🇺🇸 Our Wednesday tour of World Heritage Sites this week will take you to the Rila Monastery in Bulgaria. 🇧🇬 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. 🌕
Thursday (21 October 2021) — Today is the birthday of the great English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772–1834). 🖋 And since we talked a lot about apples last week, it’s only fitting to note that today is celebrated as Apple Day in the United Kingdom. 🍎
Friday (22 October 2021) — On this day in 1879, Thomas Edison tested his design for first practical and long-lasting incandescent light bulb. 💡 And on this day in 1884, the International Meridian Conference declared a line passing from the north pole through the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, England, to be our planet’s Prime Meridian (the line of 0º longitude). 🌐 Our Friday Bird Families post this week will introduce you to the fast-flying Swifts and Hummingbirds. Print your own River Houses Calendar of American Birds and follow the flyways with us throughout the year. 🦅 And our homeschool poem-of-the-week, as October grows thin, is a song for the coming cold by the great Maine folk artist Gordon Bok. Print your own River Houses Poetry Calendar and follow along. 🌅
Saturday (23 October 2021) — On this day in 1739, England declared war on Spain in the conflict memorably known as the War of Jenkins’ Ear. 👂 Today is the birthday of the popular naturalist and children’s author Neltje Blanchan (1865–1918). 🐦 And sometime between 6:02 a.m. and 6:02 p.m. today, chemistry students will want offer a toast in honor of International Mole Day (6.02 × 10²³). ⚗️
Sunday (24 October 2021) — One of the most famous buildings in the world, Chartres Cathedral, was consecrated on this day in the year 1260. 🇫🇷 Today is the birthday of the pioneering Dutch microscopist Anton van Leeuwenhoek (1632–1732). 🔬 On this day in 1861, the first North American transcontinental telegraph line was completed. ⚡️ And, to-morrow is Saint Crispian. 🍻
🥂 🕊 OUR WEEKLY TOAST is for the anniversary of Yorktown: “May the miseries of war never more have existence amongst enlightened nations.”
❡ 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 anthology called The Royal Toast Master, Containing Many Thousands of the Best Toasts Old and New (London, 1793). What will you toast in your homeschool this week? 🥂
🌍 🇧🇫 EVERYTHING FLOWS: Burkina Faso in western Africa is one of our countries-of-the-week, so our Weekly World River is the Béli River, a largely seasonal tributary of the great Niger. You can find its location in your recommended homeschool atlas, and you can read more about it in the Béli 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. 🌍
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. 🗓