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 WEEK (1–5 February) is Color Our Collections Week! Download your own printable supply of free educational coloring books from museums and libraries around the world.
🇺🇸 OUR STATE-OF-THE-WEEK is Alabama, and our COUNTRIES are Japan 🇯🇵, Jordan 🇯🇴, Kazakhstan 🇰🇿, and Kenya 🇰🇪. (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 (31 January 2021) — Today is the 31st day of 2021; there are 334 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 great Austrian pianist and composer Franz Schubert (1797–1828). 🎹 It’s also the birthday of baseball great Jackie Robinson (1919–1972), the first African-American to play in the Major Leagues. ⚾️ And on this day in 1930, Scotch Tape first went on the market. 📦
Monday (1 February 2021) — On this day in 1942, at the height of World War II, the Voice of America, the official overseas radio service of the U.S. government, began broadcasting to territories in Europe controlled by the Axis powers. 📻 Our homeschool poem-of-the-week for first week of February is Robert Frost’s wintry classic “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.” ❄️ Print your own River Houses Poetry Calendar and follow along with us throughout the year. 🖋
Tuesday (2 February 2021) — Today is Groundhog Day, the historical cross-quarter day between the winter solstice and the vernal equinox. ⏚🐖 On this day in 1653, the city of New Amsterdam was incorporated. We know it today as the city of New York. 🏙 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 Linguistic 400s. 📚
Wednesday (3 February 2021) — The Soviet Union’s Luna 9 spacecraft made the first-ever soft landing on the moon on this day in 1966. 🚀 And today is the birthday of the popular American painter and illustrator Norman Rockwell (1894–1978). 🎨 Our Wednesday tour of World Heritage Sites this week will take you to the Wadi Rum Protected Area in Jordan. 🇯🇴
Thursday (4 February 2021) — On this day in 1789, the Electoral College unanimously chose George Washington to be the first President of the United States. 🇺🇸 Today is also the birthday of Joshua Abraham Norton (1818–1880), better known of Norton I, Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico, an American original. 👑
Friday (5 February 2021) — The largest gold nugget in history, nicknamed the Welcome Stranger, was discovered in Moliagul, Australia, on this day in 1869. It contained more than 200 pounds of gold. 💰 Our Friday Bird Families post this week will introduce you to the the colorful Trogons and Kingfishers. Print your own River Houses Calendar of American Birds and follow the flyways with us throughout the year. 🦅
Saturday (6 February 2021) — Today is the birthday of baseball great Babe Ruth (1895–1948). ⚾️ And on this day in 1959, Jack Kilby of Texas Instruments filed the first patent for an integrated circuit chip, the component at the heart of nearly all modern electronic devices, including the one you’re using now. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for that work in 2000. 🥇 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. 🔭
🥂 ⛄️ OUR WEEKLY TOAST, for frigid February, is one of our traditional offerings: “Here’s to winter – may it always be coaled.”
❡ 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: Kazakhstan in central Asia is one of our countries-of-the-week, so our Weekly World River is the Nura River, one of the principal rivers of northern Kazakhstan. You can find its location in your recommended homeschool atlas, and you can read more about it in the Nura 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. 🗓