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 New Jersey, and our COUNTRIES are Australia 🇦🇺, Austria 🇦🇹, Azerbaijan 🇦🇿, and the Bahamas 🇧🇸. (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 waxing — 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 (19 September 2021) — Today is the 262nd day of 2021; there are 103 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. 📚 Arrrr! It be International Talk-Like-a-Pirate Day, me hearties! ☠️ 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. 🏔
Monday (20 September 2021) — “On the 20th of September 1839, an English officer, residing in the neighbourhood of Calcutta, saw a quantity of live fish descend in a smart shower of rain. They were about three inches in length, and all of one kind. Some, falling on hard ground, were killed; some, which fell on soft grass, continued in life.” 🐟🐟 And, there’s a full moon tonight, so that means we’ll either have fish falling from the sky, or we’ll have a report on student research opportunities from the River Houses Lunar Society. 🌕
Tuesday (21 September 2021) — Today is the birthday of the great English composer Gustav Holst (1874–1934). 🎵 And on this day in 1981, Sandra Day O’Connor (b. 1930) was unanimously approved by the U.S. Senate as the first female Supreme Court justice. 👩⚖️
Wednesday (22 September 2021) — Happy First Day of (Astronomical) Fall! 🍂 Today is the September Equinox, known as the autumnal or fall equinox in the northern hemisphere and the vernal or spring equinox in the southern hemisphere (where today is the first day of spring). 🗓 On this day in 1776, American spy Nathan Hale, age 21, was executed by the British in New York City. His final words were said to be, “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.” 🇺🇸 Today is also the birthday of the great experimental physicist Michael Faraday (1791–1867). ⚡️ And it’s also Hobbit Day! 🌋 Our Wednesday tour of World Heritage Sites this week will take you to the Walled City of Baku and the Maiden Tower in Azerbaijan. 🇦🇿 And our homeschool poem-of-the-week for the last week of September, as astronomical summer becomes fall, is a pensive equinoctial lyric by Emily Dickinson. 🍃 Print your own River Houses Poetry Calendar and follow along with us throughout the 2021–2022 homeschool year. 🖋
Thursday (23 September 2021) — Today is the birthday of Gaius Octavius Thurinus, better known as Augustus Caesar, the first emperor of the Roman Empire (63 B.C. – A.D. 14). For a great homeschool overview of the rise (and eventual fall) of Rome, turn to page 110 in your River Houses history encyclopedia. 🏛
Friday (24 September 2021) — On this day in 1789, the U.S. Congress, acting under the new Constitution, established the federal judiciary system and specified a structure for the Supreme Court (with six, not the current nine, justices). ⚖️ And … it’s Na·tion·al Punc·tu·a·tion Day!@*&(#)&*@!! ❣️ Our Friday Bird Families post this week will introduce you to the Gallinaceous birds. Print your own River Houses Calendar of American Birds and follow the flyways with us throughout the year. 🦃
Saturday (25 September 2021) — Today is the birthday of the great American geneticist and Nobel Prize laureate Thomas Hunt Morgan (1866–1945), who established the role of chromosomes in the process of inheritance. 🔬 It’s also the birthday of American poet and children’s author Shel Silverstein (1930–1999). 📚 And the great Canadian classical pianist Glenn Gould was born on this day in 1932. 🎹
Sunday (26 September 2021) — On this day in 1687, during the Venetian siege of Athens, a bomb fell on the Parthenon, which was being used by the Ottoman Turks for munitions storage. The roof, parts of the frieze, and many of the columns, which had stood for more than two thousand years, were destroyed. 🏛 Today is the birthday of American nurseryman and folk hero John Chapman (1774–1845), better known as Johnny Appleseed. 🍎 It’s also the birthday of American poet and Nobel Prize laureate T.S. Eliot (1888–1965), author of (among other things) Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, a wonderful read-aloud book for children. 🐈
🥂 🍂 OUR WEEKLY TOAST is our equinoctial traditional, for the disappearing daylight hours: “May the shadows of evening calm the excitement of the day.”
❡ 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: The Bahamas in the West Indies is one of our countries-of-the-week, so our Weekly World River is Fresh Creek on Andros Island, one of the many small streams and tidal inlets that perforate the island’s coastline. You can find its location in your recommended homeschool atlas, and you can read more about it in the Fresh Creek 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. 🌎
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. 🗓