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 PERSEID METEOR SHOWER is expected to reach its annual peak on Friday–Saturday night this week (12–13 August). It’s always worthwhile to go outside and take a look, but this month the full moon will likely wash out all but the brightest meteors, so it may not be the best year for viewing. The Perseids are debris from comet Swift–Tuttle.
🇺🇸 OUR STATE-OF-THE-WEEK is Alaska, and our COUNTRIES are Vietnam 🇻🇳, Yemen 🇾🇪, Zambia 🇿🇲, and Zimbabwe 🇿🇼. (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! (But maybe not meteor viewing.) 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 (7 August 2022) — Today is the 219th day of 2022; there are 146 days remaining in this common year. Learn more about different modern and historical calendars on pages 347–353 in your River Houses almanac. 📚 General Nathanael Greene, George Washington’s right-hand man and one of the great military strategists of the Revolution, was born on this day in 1742 in Warwick, Rhode Island. Wherever you live in the United States, from Mississippi to Maine, there’s a good chance there’s something named after General Greene near you. ⚔️ And speaking of George Washington, on this day in 1782 he established the first American military decoration, the Badge of Military Merit, for soldiers wounded during the American Revolution. The award is today called the Purple Heart and it bears Washington’s profile. 🎖 Today is also the birthday of famed paleoanthropologist Louis Leakey (1903–1972). 💀
Monday (8 August 2022) — The wreckage of the Civil War submarine H.L. Hunley, which sank in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina, in 1864, was raised on this day in the year 2000. It contained the remains of eight Confederate sailors who went down with the vessel. ⚓️ Our homeschool poem-of-the-week for the second week of August is Robert Frost’s “A Star in a Stoneboat,” for this month’s Perseid meteor shower. (The meteors are still falling, whether the moon lets us see them or not.) Print your own River Houses Poetry Calendar and follow along with us throughout the year. 🌠
Tuesday (9 August 2022) — On this day in the year 1173, construction began on a new bell tower next to the cathedral in Pisa, Italy. Still standing (more or less), we know it today as the Leaning Tower of Pisa. 🔔 And speaking of Italy, today is also the birthday of the Italian scientist Amedeo Avogadro (1776–1856), beloved (or despised) by chemistry students the world over. ⚗️
Wednesday (10 August 2022) — This is an important day in museological history: the famous Louvre Museum in Paris opened on this day in 1793, and on this day in 1846 the Smithsonian Institution in Washington was chartered by Congress and named for its principal benefactor, the English chemist and mineralogist James Smithson, who had died seventeen years before and who had never even visited the United States. 🏛 On this day in 1990, NASA’s Magellan spacecraft entered orbit around the planet Venus. 🛰 And our Wednesday tour of World Heritage Sites this week will take you to Khami Ruins National Monument in Zimbabwe. 🇿🇼
Thursday (11 August 2022) — According to the Mesoamerican Long Count Calendar, used by the Maya and several other pre-Columbian civilizations, the world was created on this day in the year 3114 B.C. (as reckoned by our own modern Gregorian Calendar). 🗓 And, there’s a full moon tonight, so that means we’ll have a report on student research opportunities from the River Houses Lunar Society. 🌕
Friday (12 August 2022) — Today is the birthday of poet and educator Katharine Lee Bates (1859–1929), the author of the great anthem “America the Beautiful.” 🇺🇸 It’s also the birthday of Austrian physicist and Nobel laureate Erwin Schrödinger (1887–1961), one of the founders of quantum mechanics. 🐈 Our year-long series of Friday Bird Families posts that reviewed all the birds of North America is now complete! Take a look at all the wonderful avian friends we made this past year, and visit our main River Houses calendar page and print a new Calendar of American Birds for the new homeschool year that will begin in September. 🦅
Saturday (13 August 2022) — Today is the birthday of American abolitionist and women’s rights advocate Lucy Stone (1818–1893). ⚖️ It’s also the birthday of spooky British-American film director Alfred Hitchcock (1899–1980). 🎬 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: Vega, the brightest star in the constellation Lyra the Lyre and our last Great Star for this homeschool year. 🌟
Sunday (14 August 2022) — On this day in the year 1040, Scotland’s King Duncan I was killed by his rival Macbeth, probably in battle and not in his sleep as depicted in Shakespeare’s play. 🗡 And our Sunday States & Countries for next week will be Hawaii 🇺🇸 and Antarctica 🇦🇶 (as the year approaches its close).
🥂 OUR WEEKLY TOAST: “Worth in our hearts, wealth in our houses, and wisdom in our heads.”
❡ 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 in your homeschool this week? 🥂
🌍 🇿🇲 EVERYTHING FLOWS: Zambia in central Africa is one of our countries-of-the-week, so our Weekly World River is the Kafue River, one of Zambia’s longest rivers. You can find its location in your recommended homeschool atlas, and you can read more about it in the Kafue 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. 🌎 🌍 🌏
🙀 AND DON’T FORGET: Friday the 13th comes on a Saturday 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. 🗓
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