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.
🐦 THE GREAT BACKYARD BIRD COUNT is underway right now (18–21 February) all across the country and around the world! It’s one of the best homeschool science activities all year. How many birds have you counted in your neighborhood?
🗓 🗡 This is the last full week of ORION TERM, our winter term in the River Houses. Leo Term, our spring term, begins on Tuesday the first of March.
🇺🇸 OUR STATE-OF-THE-WEEK is Arkansas, and our COUNTRIES are Lebanon 🇱🇧, Lesotho 🇱🇸, Liberia 🇱🇷, and Libya 🇱🇾. (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 waning — 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 331–346 in your almanac. Browse through our many homeschool astronomy posts for even more.
🗓 TODAY, Sunday (20 February 2022) — Today is the 51st day of 2022; there are 314 days remaining in this common year. Learn more about different kinds of modern and historical calendars on pages 347–353 in your River Houses almanac. 📚 Today is the birthday of the great American photographer Ansel Adams (1902–1984). 📷
Monday (21 February 2022) — Today is the third Monday in February, which makes it the Washington’s Birthday federal holiday in the United States (though it’s often just called “Presidents’ Day”). 🇺🇸 On this day in 1918, the last individual Carolina Parakeet, the only species of parrot native to the United States, died in captivity in the Cincinnati Zoo. 🦜 😔
Tuesday (22 February 2022) — Today is the (actual) birthday of George Washington (1732–1799), the first President of the United States. 🇺🇸 And speaking of presidents, on this day in 1924, President Calvin Coolidge delivered the first-ever radio address from the White House. 📻 Our homeschool poem-of-the-week for the last week of February is John Keats’ famous sonnet “On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer,” for the anniversary of Keats’ death in 1821. Print your own River Houses Poetry Calendar and follow along with us throughout the year. 🔭
Wednesday (23 February 2022) — Today is the birthday of the great German-English composer George Frideric Handel (1685–1759). 🎺 And our Wednesday tour of World Heritage Sites this week will take you to Archaeological Site of Cyrene in Libya. 🇱🇾
Thursday (24 February 2022) — On this day in 1803, the Supreme Court handed down a landmark decision in Marbury v. Madison, establishing the principle of judicial review. ⚖️ And today is the birthday of the American painter and illustrator Winslow Homer (1836–1910). 🎨
Friday (25 February 2022) — The first African-American to serve in the U.S. Congress, Hiram Rhodes Revels, Republican of Mississippi, was sworn in on this day in 1870. 🇺🇸 And today is the birthday of the great French impressionist painter and sculptor Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841–1919). 🎨 Our Friday Bird Families post this week will introduce you to the Parrots! Print your own River Houses Calendar of American Birds and follow the flyways with us throughout the year. 🦜
Saturday (26 February 2022) — Today is the birthday of the German-American clothing manufacturer Levi Strauss (1829–1902). 👖 It’s also the birthday of the great American songwriter and rock-and-roll pioneer Antoine “Fats” Domino (1928–2017). 🎹
Sunday (27 February 2022) — Today is the birthday of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882), one of the most popular American poets of the nineteenth century. 🖋 And our Sunday States & Countries for next week will be Michigan 🇺🇸, Liechtenstein 🇱🇮, Lithuania 🇱🇹, Luxembourg 🇱🇺, and Madagascar 🇲🇬.
🥂 🇺🇸 OUR WEEKLY TOAST for this Washington’s Birthday week invites you to remember that in early America, no one was toasted more often than George Washington. This 1788 musical offering by Francis Hopkinson of Philadelphia was but one among thousands:
’Tis Washington’s health — fill a bumper all round,
For he is our glory and pride.
Our arms shall in battle with conquest be crown’d
Whilst virtue and he’s on our side.
❡ 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: Libya in northern Africa is one of our countries-of-the-week. As a desert nation it has no permanent rivers, so we’re going to do something a bit different for our regular Weekly World River and feature Libya’s “Great Man-Made River.” This country-wide network of underground pipes taps into an enormous underground aquifer and supplies water to Libya’s major cities. You can read more about it in the Great Man-Made 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 693–695), 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. 🗓