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 Utah, and our COUNTRIES are Tonga 🇹🇴, Trinidad and Tobago 🇹🇹, Tunisia 🇹🇳, and Turkey 🇹🇷. (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 (11 July 2021) — Today is the 192nd day of 2021; there are 173 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 1804, Aaron Burr, Vice President of the United States, mortally wounded Alexander Hamilton, former Secretary of the Treasury, in a pistol duel in Weehawken, New Jersey. Hamilton died the next day. ⚔️ Today is also the birthday of the English physician and home education advocate Thomas Bowdler (1754–1825), whose family editions of Shakespeare, lightly expurgated so they would be suitable for reading aloud to women and children, gave us the English word “bowdlerize.” 🎭 And on this day in 1960, Harper Lee’s popular American novel To Kill a Mockingbird was first published. 📖
Monday (12 July 2021) — Today is the birthday of the great American writer, philosopher, and naturalist Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862). 🌳 It’s also the birthday of the American artist Andrew Wyeth (1917–2009). 🎨
Tuesday (13 July 2021) — Today is the generally accepted birthdate of the ancient Roman politician, general, and dictator Julius Caesar (100–44 B.C.). 🏛 It’s also the birthday of the great English nature poet John Clare (1793–1864). 🏞
Wednesday (14 July 2021) — Today is the birthday of the celebrated composer Gerald Finzi (1901–1956), known for his musical settings of many classic English lyric poems. 🎼 And on this day in 2015, the interplanetary space probe New Horizons made its closest approach to Pluto (less than 8000 miles from the surface). ♇ And our Wednesday tour of World Heritage Sites this week will take you to the Ancient Punic Town of Kerkuane in Tunisia. 🇹🇳
Thursday (15 July 2021) — Today is the birthday of the great Dutch artist Rembrandt van Rijn (1606–1669). 🎨 On this day in 1799, near the town of Rashid (Rosetta) in Egypt, a French captain in Napoleon’s army discovered a smooth black stone with a trilingual inscription in hieroglyphs, demotic Egyptian, and Greek. The Rosetta Stone, one of the world’s most famous archeological objects, made it possible to translate ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs for the first time. 🇪🇬 And our homeschool poem-of-the-week for the third week of the month is Emily Dickinson’s playful lyric “Answer, July,” for the span of the year. 🗓 Print your own River Houses Poetry Calendar and follow along with us throughout the year. 🖋
Friday (16 July 2021) — Today is the midpoint of Hercules Term and thus one of the four cross-quarter days of the River Houses year. How are things going? 💪 The District of Columbia was established as the capital of the United States on this day in 1790. 🇺🇸 Today is the birthday of the American religious leader Mary Baker Eddy (1821–1910), founder of the Christian Science movement. ✝️ And today is also the birthday of the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen (1872–1928), leader of the first expedition to reach the South Pole. 🇦🇶 Our Friday Bird Families post this week will invite you (again) to explore the Emberizid Sparrows (Part II) — a big group! Print your own River Houses Calendar of American Birds and follow the flyways with us throughout the year. 🦅
Saturday (17 July 2021) — Today is the first day of National Moth Week! 🕯️ George Frideric Handel’s masterpiece “Water Music” premiered on this day in 1717, played by fifty musicians on a barge floating down the Thames River in London. 🎵 Today is also the birthday of the great Christian hymn writer and educator Isaac Watts (1674–1748). 🎼 And … it’s World Emoji Day! 😎🕴🌎
Sunday (18 July 2021) — The Great Fire of Rome broke out on this day in the year 64. Over the next six days it destroyed much of the city. Some reports (which may or may not be true) claimed that the Emperor Nero entertained himself by playing the lyre as he watched the city go up in flames. 🔥 On this day in 1863 during the American Civil War, the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, a regiment made up almost entirely of African-American soldiers, attempted unsuccessfully to capture Fort Wagner near Charleston, South Carolina. Their story was dramatized in the 1989 film Glory. ⚔️
🥂 OUR WEEKLY TOAST: “May obstacles entice enterprise and ensure perseverance.”
❡ 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 Toasts and Tributes: A Happy Book of Good Cheer (New York, 1904). What will you toast this week? 🥂
🌎 🇹🇷 EVERYTHING FLOWS: Turkey on the border between Europe and Asia is one of our countries-of-the-week, so our Weekly World River is the one of the most famous rivers of the ancient world, the Scamander (Karamenderes) River, on whose banks the Trojan War was fought. You can find its location in your recommended homeschool atlas, and you can read more about it in the Scamander 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 Tuesday 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. 🗓