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 Pennsylvania, and our COUNTRIES are Angola 🇦🇴, Antigua and Barbuda 🇦🇬, Argentina 🇦🇷, and Armenia 🇦🇲. (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 (12 September 2021) — Today is the 255th day of 2021; there are 110 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. 📚 This is the traditional date of the Battle of Marathon in 490 B.C., one of the most consequential battles in the history of the Western world, in which the Athenians and their allies defeated the armies of Darius the Great of Persia in his attempt to conquer mainland Greece. ⚔️ On this day in 1962, President John F. Kennedy declared that the United States would land a man on the moon “before this decade is out.” 🚀 🌕
Monday (13 September 2021) — Today is the birthday of the German composer and pianist Clara Schumann (1819–1896). 🎵 It’s also the birthday of the British novelist, children’s author, and WWII fighter pilot Roald Dahl (1916–1990). 🖋
Tuesday (14 September 2021) — The annual Monarch butterfly migration is underway in many parts of the United States this week. How many have you seen? 🦋 On this day in 1814 during the British bombardment of Baltimore, Francis Scott Key wrote a poem that he called “Defence of Fort M’Henry.” We know it today as “The Star-Spangled Banner,” the national anthem of the United States. 🇺🇸 The Soviet space probe Luna 2, the first man-made object to reach the lunar surface, crash landed onto the moon on this day in 1959. 🚀
Wednesday (15 September 2021) — Today is the birthday of novelist James Fenimore Cooper (1789–1851), one of the most popular writers of nineteenth-century America. 🖋 It’s also the birthday of writer and illustrator Robert McCloskey (1914–2003), author of Make Way for Ducklings (1941) and other children’s classics. 🦆 Our Wednesday tour of World Heritage Sites this week will take you to the Jesuit Missions of the Guaranis in Argentina. 🇦🇷 And our homeschool poem-of-the-week for the third week of September is Robert Frost’s “The Tuft of Flowers,” for the fall harvest, our common labor, and the Monarch butterfly migration. 🦋 Print your own River Houses Poetry Calendar and follow along with us throughout the 2021–2022 homeschool year. 🖋
Thursday (16 September 2021) — On this day in 1776, with George Washington in direct command, the Continental Army in New York successfully defended several key positions on Manhattan Island in the Battle of Harlem Heights. ⚔️
Friday (17 September 2021) — Today is Constitution Day! On this day in 1787, the U.S. Constitution was signed in Philadelphia by the members of the Constitutional Convention. Why not pay a homeschool visit to the original Constitution today at its current home in the National Archives. 🇺🇸 Today is also the anniversary of the Battle of Antietam in 1862, one of the bloodiest days in American history, with more than 22,000 Union and Confederate casualties. ⚔️ Our Friday Bird Families post this week will explore (again) the Ducks, Geese, and Swans (Part II). Print your own River Houses Calendar of American Birds and follow the flyways with us throughout the year. 🦆
Saturday (18 September 2021) — Today is the birthday of the great English writer and lexicographer Dr. Samuel Johnson (1709–1784). 📖 And on this day in 1793, President George Washington, dressed (appropriately enough) in his masonic regalia, laid the cornerstone of the U.S. Capitol Building. 🏛
Sunday (19 September 2021) — Arrrr! It be International Talk-Like-a-Pirate Day, me hearties. ☠️ And on this day in 1991, “Ötzi the Iceman,” a 5000-year-old naturally preserved mummy, was discovered frozen in the ice in the mountains along the Alpine border between Italy and Austria. 🏔
🥂 OUR WEEKLY TOAST, from 1793, expresses an age-old wish: “May public responsibility attach to every public office.”
❡ 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 come 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 this week? 🥂
🌍 🇦🇲 EVERYTHING FLOWS: Armenia in western Asia is one of our countries-of-the-week, so our Weekly World River is the Hrazdan River, which flows through Armenia’s capital city of Yerevan. You can find its location in your recommended homeschool atlas, and you can read more about it in the Hrazdan 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. 🌍
AND DON’T FORGET: Friday the 13th comes on a Monday 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. 🗓