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 Connecticut, and our COUNTRIES are Belgium 🇧🇪, Belize 🇧🇿, Benin 🇧🇯, and Bhutan 🇧🇹. (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 (3 October 2021) — Today is the 276th day of 2021; there are 89 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. 📚 Today is also the birthday of English veterinarian James Herriot (1916–1995), author of All Creatures Great and Small and other popular books about animals. 🐑 🐂 🐓 🐖 🐐
Monday (4 October 2021) — On this day in 1582, the Gregorian calendar was adopted on the European continent by decree of Pope Gregory (of course) XIII. Today was the 4th of the month, and tomorrow was declared to be the 15th. (The English-speaking world didn’t make the change for almost two more centuries.) 🗓
Tuesday (5 October 2021) — Today is the birthday of the American physicist and engineer Robert Goddard (1882–1945), inventor of the liquid-fueled rocket that made spaceflight possible. 🚀 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 General 000s. 📚
Wednesday (6 October 2021) — Today is the birthday of the Norwegian explorer and ethnographer Thor Heyerdahl (1914–2002). 🌊 And our Wednesday tour of World Heritage Sites this week will take you to the Royal Palaces of Abomey in Benin. 🇧🇯
Thursday (7 October 2021) — Today is the birthday of the early American choral composer William Billings (1746–1800). 🎶 And the great Danish physicist and Nobel laureate Niels Bohr was born on this day in 1885. ⚛️
Friday (8 October 2021) — On this day in 1956, New York Yankees pitcher Don Larsen threw the only perfect game in World Series history. ⚾️ Our homeschool poem-of-the-week for the second week of October is Emily Dickinson’s autumnal gem “God made a little Gentian,” for all late-bloomers. Print your own River Houses Poetry Calendar and follow along with us throughout the year. 🖋 And our Friday Bird Families post this week will introduce you to the Pigeons and Doves! Print your own River Houses Calendar of American Birds and follow the flyways with us throughout the year. 🕊
Saturday (9 October 2021) — Italian astronomer Lodovico delle Colombe recorded the appearance of a new star in the constellation Ophiuchus on this day in 1604. The subsequent observations of the star made by Johnannes Kepler over the next several weeks gave it the name Kepler’s Supernova. The brightest Milky Way supernova in modern times, it was visible during daylight hours for three weeks. 🌟 Today is also the birthday of American businessman Charles Rudolph Walgreen (1873–1939), founder of the nationwide Walgreens pharmacy chain. 🛒 And since this is the second Saturday of the month, we’ll introduce you to another one of the Great Stars of the northern hemisphere night sky. This month: Alpheratz, the brightest star in the constellation Andromeda. 🌟
Sunday (10 October 2021) — Today is the birthday of the great Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi (1813–1901). 🎼 And on this day in 1845 in Annapolis, Maryland, the United States Naval Academy opened with 50 students and seven professors. ⚓️
🥂 OUR WEEKLY TOAST is an old traditional for the approaching harvest season: “Health to our bodies, peace to our minds, and plenty to our tables.”
❡ 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 The Royal Toast Master, Containing Many Thousands of the Best Toasts Old and New (London, 1793). What will you toast this week? 🥂
🌍 🇧🇯 EVERYTHING FLOWS: Benin in western Africa is one of our countries-of-the-week, so our Weekly World River is the Okpara River, which forms part of the border between Benin and Nigeria, and which, like most rivers in Benin, flows south into the Atlantic Ocean. You can find its location in your recommended homeschool atlas, and you can read more about it in the Okpara 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. 🗓