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 North Dakota, and our COUNTRIES are Senegal 🇸🇳, Serbia 🇷🇸, the Seychelles 🇸🇨, and Sierra Leone 🇸🇱. (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 (30 May 2021) — Today is the 150th day of 2021; there are 215 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 Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., was dedicated on this day in the year 1922. 🏛 Today is also the birthday of the great voice actor Mel Blanc (1908–1989), “the man of a thousand voices,” who gave us Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Tweety Bird, Sylvester the Cat, Yosemite Sam, Foghorn Leghorn, Marvin the Martian, Pepé Le Pew, Speedy Gonzales, Wile E. Coyote, Road Runner, and even the Tasmanian Devil. 🐰
Monday (31 May 2021) — Today is Memorial Day in the United States, the day we remember the nation’s war dead. 🇺🇸 Today is also the last day of Leo Term and the last day of the River Houses academic year. Hercules Term, our summer term, begins tomorrow. 🗓 It’s also the birthday of the great American poet Walt Whitman (1819–1892), who contained multitudes. 🖋
Tuesday (1 June 2021) — Today is the first day of HERCULES TERM, our summer term in the River Houses, named for the Great Hero of the Heavens. 💪 Today is also the birthday of the great English poet of the sea John Masefield (1878–1967), author of the finest thing Herman Melville never said. ⚓️ Our homeschool poem-of-the-week for the first week of June is the anonymous medieval song “Sumer is i-cumin in,” for the beginning of Hercules Term. ⛱ 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 Literary 800s. 📚
Wednesday (2 June 2021) — Today is the birthday of poet and novelist Thomas Hardy (1840–1928), whose works have been loved and loathed by high school English students for generations. 📚 Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II was crowned on this day in 1953, making her now the longest-reigning monarch in British history and the longest-serving female head of state in world history. 👑 And our Wednesday tour of World Heritage Sites this week will take you to the Island of Gorée in Senegal. 🇸🇳
Thursday (3 June 2021) — Today is the birthday of Scottish physician and scientist James Hutton (1726–1797), one of the pioneers of modern geology. ⛏
Friday (4 June 2021) — On this day in 1783, the brothers Joseph-Michel and Jacques-Étienne Montgolfier made the first public demonstration of their hot air balloon at Annonay in the south of France, and the age of flight began. 🎈 Our Friday Bird Families post this week will introduce you to the terrestrial Wagtails and Pipits. Print your own River Houses Calendar of American Birds and follow the flyways with us throughout the year. 🦅
Saturday (5 June 2021) — The first installment of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin was published on this day in 1851 in the National Era newspaper. 📰 And on this day in 1989, as a popular uprising against the Chinese communist government was being brutally suppressed in Beijing, a lone man near Tiananmen Square ran out into the street and for a few minutes stopped an entire column of tanks from advancing. Photographs of “the Tank Man” have since become emblems of freedom worldwide — except in China, where they are censored. For a brief history of communism in China, see page 424 in your River Houses history encyclopedia. 🇨🇳 🗽 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. 🔭
Sunday (6 June 2021) — The invasion of Normandy on the coast of France, code-named Operation Overlord, began on this day, D-Day, in 1944. It was the largest amphibious military operation in history and it began the liberation of western Europe from Nazi occupation. For a brief review, see page 398 in your homeschool history encyclopedia. 🇫🇷
🥂 🕊 OUR WEEKLY TOAST is an old traditional, offered for Memorial Day: “May the miseries of war never more have existence in the world.”
❡ 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: Sierra Leone in western Africa is one of our countries-of-the-week, so our Weekly World River is the Jong River, peaceful in the dry season, riotous in the rainy season. You can find its location in your recommended homeschool atlas, and you can read more about it in the (very minimal) Jong 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. 🗓