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 Hampshire, and our COUNTRIES are the Central African Republic 🇨🇫, Chad 🇹🇩, Chile 🇨🇱, and China 🇨🇳. (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 (31 October 2021) — Happy Halloween! 🎃 👻 🦇 🕷️ ⚰ Today is the 304th day of 2021; there are 61 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 Protestant Reformation began on this day in 1517 when Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg, Germany. For a quick homeschool review of the Reformation and its consequences, turn to pages 197 and 256–259 in your recommended River Houses history encyclopedia. 📜 Today is also the birthday of the great English poet John Keats (1795–1821). 🖋 And it’s the birthday of Juliette Gordon Low (1860–1927), founder of the Girl Scouts of America. 🍪
Monday (1 November 2021) — William Shakespeare’s play The Tempest was first performed on this day in 1611. 🎭 And today is the birthday of the German geophysicist and meteorologist Alfred Wegener (1880–1930), who developed the theory of continental drift. 🌍 Our homeschool poem-of-the-week for the first week of November is Robert Frost’s “A Leaf-Treader,” for the falling leaves. Print your own River Houses Poetry Calendar and follow along with us throughout the year. 🍂
Tuesday (2 November 2021) — Today is Election Day in the United States, the first Tuesday after the first Monday of November. This is an off-year election, when most of the voting is for offices in state and local government. 🗳 Today is also the birthday of the American frontiersman and folk-hero Daniel Boone (1734–1820). 🐻 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 Philosophical 100s. 📚
Wednesday (3 November 2021) — Today is the birthday of the great Italian artist and sculptor Benvenuto Cellini (1500–1571). 🎨 And on this day in 1534, the English Parliament passed the Act of Supremacy, declaring King Henry VIII (rather than the Pope) to be the head of the English church. 👑 Our Wednesday tour of World Heritage Sites this week will take you to Historic Valparaiso in Chile. 🇨🇱
Thursday (4 November 2021) — Today is the birthday of “Oklahoma’s favorite son,” the American actor and humorist Will Rogers (1879–1935). 🤝
Friday (5 November 2021) — On this day in 1605, the Gunpowder Plot to bomb the opening session of the English Parliament and assassinate King James I was foiled and the plotter Guy Fawkes and his co-conspirators were arrested. (“Remember, remember, the Fifth of November.”) 💣 Our Friday Bird Families post this week will introduce you to the long-legged Stilts, Avocets, and Oystercatchers. Print your own River Houses Calendar of American Birds and follow the flyways with us throughout the year. 🦅
Saturday (6 November 2021) — On this Election Day in 1860, Abraham Lincoln was elected the 16th President of the United States of America, and one year later, on this Election Day in 1861, Jefferson Davis was elected the first President of the Confederate States of America. 🗳 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 (7 November 2021) — Daylight Saving Time ends this morning in most U.S. jurisdictions (the first Sunday in November) at 2:00 a.m., when you should set your clocks back to 1:00 a.m. 🕑 ↺ 🕐 On this day in 1492, a meteorite struck the earth near the village of Ensisheim, France. The Ensisheim meteorite is the oldest recovered meteorite with a known date of impact. 🌠 Today is also the birthday of the Polish-French physicist and Nobel laureate Marie Skłodowska Curie (1867–1934). ⚛️
🥂 🎃 OUR WEEKLY TOAST is an old Halloween wish, for all the cheerful young trick-or-treaters who will be out on the town this week:
May witches, fays, and grinning cats,
Owls and sprites and sable bats,
Have good cheer on Hallowe’en,
And add enchantment to the scene,
With revels wild and free.
❡ 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 in your homeschool this week? 🥂
🌎 🇨🇱 EVERYTHING FLOWS: Chile in southern South America is one of our countries-of-the-week, so our Weekly World River is the Baker River, Chile’s largest river in terms of water volume. You can find its location in your recommended homeschool atlas, and you can read more about it in the Baker 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. 🌎
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. 🗓