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.
💐 HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY to all homeschool moms everywhere! What would the world do without you? ❤️
🦅 🦆 🐦 MAY is Bird Migration Month in the River Houses, and throughout the month we’re sharing an assortment of extra homeschool notes on one of the world’s most wonderful natural phenomena.
🇺🇸 OUR STATE-OF-THE-WEEK is Nevada, and our COUNTRIES are Portugal 🇵🇹, Qatar 🇶🇦, Romania 🇷🇴, and Russia 🇷🇺. (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 waning 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 (9 May 2021) — Today is the 129th day of 2021; there are 236 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. 📚 Happy Mother’s Day! ❤️ Lincoln Cathedral was consecrated on this day in the year 1092. It was the first building to surpass the Great Pyramid of Giza in height and was the tallest building in the world for more than 200 years. ⛪️
Monday (10 May 2021) — On this day in 1775, in one of the great early successes of the American Revolution, a small group of colonial militia under the command of Ethan Allen and Benedict Arnold (not yet a traitor) seized British-held Fort Ticonderoga on Lake Champlain “in the name of the great Jehovah and the Continental Congress!” ⚔️ 🇺🇸 And on this day in 1869 at Promontory Summit, Utah, a golden spike joined east and west and completed the First Transcontinental Railroad across the United States. 🚂
Wednesday (12 May 2021) — Today is the birthday of famed nurse and social reformer Florence Nightingale (1820–1910). 👩⚕️ It’s also the birthday of legendary American actress Katharine Hepburn (1907–2003). 🎭 And our Wednesday tour of World Heritage Sites this week will take you to the Al Zubarah Archaeological Site in Qatar. 🇶🇦
Thursday (13 May 2021) — On this day in 1861, astronomer John Tebbutt of Windsor, Australia, discovered C/1861 J1, better known as the Great Comet of 1861. ☄️
Friday (14 May 2021) — On this day in 1973, the United States’ first space station, Skylab, was launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. 🚀 And our Friday Bird Families post this week will introduce you to the loquacious Mockingbirds and Thrashers. Print your own River Houses Calendar of American Birds and follow the flyways with us throughout the year. 🦅
Saturday (15 May 2021) — Today is the birthday of American children’s author L. Frank Baum (1856–1919), the creator of the Wizard of Oz. ✍️ And on this day in 1928, the Walt Disney character Mickey Mouse made his first appearance in a silent short called “Plane Crazy.” 🐭 Our homeschool poem-of-the-week for the third week of May is Robert Frost’s “Birches,” for springtime play and growing up. 🍃 Print your own River Houses Poetry Calendar and follow along with us throughout the year. 🖋
Sunday (16 May 2021) — Today is the birthday of American educator Elizabeth Palmer Peabody (1804–1894), who established the first public kindergarten in the United States. 🏫
🥂 👩👧👦 OUR WEEKLY TOAST, for Mother’s Day, is a Shakespearean traditional that we offer to all the mothers of the world: “May heaven give you many, many merry days.”
❡ 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: Russia is one of our countries-of-the-week, so our Weekly World River is the beautiful Neva River, one of the largest rivers of western Russia. You can find its location in your recommended homeschool atlas, and you can read more about it in the Neva 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. 🌍
AND DON’T FORGET: Friday the 13th comes on a Thursday 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. 🗓