🎉 Happy New Year to all our homeschool readers and friends!
Quick Freshes is our regular Sunday almanac for 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.
📖 Have you gotten your NEW WORLD ALMANAC for the new 2023 year? It’s one of the handiest educational reference books you can have in a homeschool library.
🎵 🎄 🎅 OUR HOLIDAY MUSIC MONTH is approaching its close. For the past four weeks we have been sharing an assortment of seasonal favorites — classical and modern, sacred and secular, serious and silly — along with a collection of easy educational notes to help you teach little musical lessons all along the way. Our grand finale will be on the Twelfth Day of Christmas (January 5th), and I bet you can guess what it will be. 🍐🌳
🇺🇸 OUR STATE-OF-THE-WEEK is Louisiana, and our COUNTRIES are Guatemala 🇬🇹, Guinea 🇬🇳, Guinea-Bissau 🇬🇼, and Guyana 🇬🇾. (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 341–356 in your almanac. Browse through our many homeschool astronomy posts for even more.
🗓 TODAY, Sunday (1 January 2023) — HAPPY NEW YEAR! 🎆 Today is the 1st day of 2023! There are 364 days remaining in this common year. Learn more about different modern and historical calendars on pages 357–363 in your (brand new 2023!) River Houses almanac. 📚 The Julian Calendar went into effect on this day in the year 45 B.C. It was the principal calendar system used in the Western world for more than 1500 years before it was largely replaced by the Gregorian Calendar. 🗓 Today is the birthday of Betsy Ross (1752–1836), who, tradition says, sewed the first American flag. 🇺🇸 And our homeschool poem-of-the-week for first week of January is Philip Larkin’s winter poem of promise, “First Sight.” Print your own River Houses Poetry Calendar and follow along with us throughout the year. 🐑️
Monday (2 January 2023) — On this day in 1860, French mathematician and astronomer Urbain Le Verrier announced the discovery of Vulcan, a planet circling the sun inside the orbit of Mercury. No subsequent research has been able to confirm the existence of this planet. 🖖 Perhaps coincidentally, or perhaps not, today is also the birthday of the great science fiction writer Isaac Asimov (1920–1992). 🤖
Tuesday (3 January 2023) — Today is the birthday of the great Roman orator and statesman Marcus Tullius Cicero (106–43 B.C.). 🏛 It’s also the birthday of English writer J.R.R. Tolkien (1892–1973), author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. 🌋 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 Social 300s. 📚
Wednesday (4 January 2023) — Today is the birthday of French educator Louis Braille (1809–1852), the inventor of the famous tactile writing system for the blind. ⠗⠓ It’s also the birthday of the original James Bond. 🐦 Our Wednesday tour of World Heritage Sites this week will take you to the Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve in Guinea. 🇬🇳 And today is Perihelion 2023, the date on which the earth in its annual (and slightly elliptical) orbit is closest to the sun. ☀️ 🌎
Thursday (5 January 2023) — Today is the Twelfth Day of Christmas and tonight is Twelfth Night, and that means it’s the end of our Holiday Music Month — and you know what song we’ll be going out with. 🍐🌳 😊
Friday (6 January 2023) — Today is the birthday of the American poet Carl Sandburg (1878–1967). 🖋 Our Friday Bird Families post this week will introduce you to the Storks, Frigatebirds, Boobies, Gannets, Cormorants, Darters, Pelicans. Print your own River Houses Calendar of American Birds and follow the flyways with us throughout the year. 🦅 And, there’s a full moon tonight, so that means we’ll have a report from the River Houses Lunar Society on the many independent “citizen science” projects that are available to homeschool students. 🌕
Saturday (7 January 2023) — On this day in 1610, Galileo Galilei first reported that he had discovered several previously unknown moons orbiting the planet Jupiter — we now call them the Galilean moons: Ganymede, Callisto, Io, and Europa. You can see them from your backyard with almost any small telescope. 🔭 Today is also the birthday of the African-American writer and folklorist Zora Neale Hurston (1891–1960). 🖋 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 (8 January 2023) — Today is the birthday of two great British scientists: the naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace (1823–1913), co-discoverer with Charles Darwin of the principle of natural selection, and the physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking (1942–2018). 🦋 🌌 And in another sphere of human accomplishment, today is also the birthday of Elvis Presley (1935–1977)! 🎸 Our homeschool poem-of-the-week for second week of January is Gail Mazur’s “Ice,” for homeschool dads and all wintertime learners. Print your own River Houses Poetry Calendar and follow along with us throughout the new year. ⛸ And our Sunday States & Countries for next week will be Indiana 🇺🇸, Haiti 🇭🇹, Honduras 🇭🇳, Hungary 🇭🇺, and Iceland 🇮🇸.
🥂 🗓 OUR WEEKLY TOAST, for the New Year, was first published in Poor Richard’s Almanac in December of 1755: “May you always be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and may every New Year find you a better man.”
❡ 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: Guatemala in Central America is one of our countries-of-the-week, so our Weekly World River is the Los Esclavos River, which flows southwestward into the Pacific Ocean. You can find its location in your recommended homeschool atlas, and you can read more about it in the Los Esclavos 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 695–697), 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, this month, and this wonderful new year? 😊
❡ 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. 🗓
❡ Homeschool calendars: We have a whole collection of free, printable, educational homeschool calendars and planners available on our main River Houses calendar page. They will all help you create a light and easy structure for your homeschool year. Give them a try today! 🗓
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