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 STATE-OF-THE-WEEK is Indiana, and our COUNTRIES are Haiti 🇭🇹, Honduras 🇭🇳, Hungary 🇭🇺, and Iceland 🇮🇸. (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 full (or just a tiny bit past full) — a good time to be out and about in the well-lit night! 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 (8 January 2023) — Today is the 8th day of 2023; there are 357 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. 📚 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. ⛸
Monday (9 January 2023) — On this day in 1923, Spanish engineer Juan de la Cierva made the first successful flight in an autogyro, the ancestor of the modern helicopter. 🚁
Tuesday (10 January 2023) — On this day in the year 49 B.C., Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon river and approached the city of Rome with his army, touching off a civil war that led to the destruction of the Roman Republic and the eventual formation of the Roman Empire. For an illustrated overview of the life and times of Julius Caesar and his outsized impact on the Western world, see pages 108–109 in your homeschool history encyclopedia. ⚔️
Wednesday (11 January 2023) — Today is the birthday of Alexander Hamilton (1755–1804), the first United States Secretary of the Treasury, whose portrait appears on our $10 bills. 💵 It’s also the birthday of William James (1842–1910), one of the founders of the modern field of psychology. 🧠 And our Wednesday tour of World Heritage Sites this week will take you to the volcanic island of Surtsey in Iceland. 🇮🇸
Thursday (12 January 2023) — Today is the birthday of the French author Charles Perrault (1628–1703), who gave the world Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty, and many other beloved fairy tales. 🛌 It’s also the birthday of the American writer Jack London (1876–1916). 🐺
Friday (13 January 2023) — It’s Friday the 13th! 🙀 The National Geographic Society was founded on this day in 1888 in Washington, D.C. 🗺 And our Friday Bird Families post this week will introduce you to the long-legged and long-necked Herons, Bitterns, Ibises, and Spoonbills. Print your own River Houses Calendar of American Birds and follow the flyways with us throughout the year. 🦅
Saturday (14 January 2023) — Today is the midpoint of Orion Term and thus one of the four cross-quarter days of the River Houses year. How are things going? 🗓 🗡 Today is Ratification Day. On this day in 1784 in Annapolis, Maryland, Congress ratified the Treaty of Paris, officially ending the American Revolutionary War. 🕊 And since this is the second Saturday of the month, we’ll introduce you to one of the Great Stars of the northern hemisphere night sky. This month: Capella, the brightest star in the constellation Auriga the Charioteer. 🌟
Sunday (15 January 2023) — Queen Elizabeth I of England was crowned on this day in 1559. For an illustrated outline of the historical period named for her, turn to pages 260–261 in your homeschool history encyclopedia. 👑 Our homeschool poem-of-the-week for the third week of January is James Weldon Johnson’s “Lift Every Voice and Sing” (1900), for American minister and civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., born on this day in 1929. Print your own River Houses Poetry Calendar and follow along with us throughout the year. 🇺🇸 And our Sunday States & Countries for next week will be Mississippi 🇺🇸, India 🇮🇳, Indonesia 🇮🇩, Iran 🇮🇷, and Iraq 🇮🇶.
🥂 🔔 OUR WEEKLY TOAST is a traditional offering for the New Year ahead: “May every new year bring us new joys.”
❡ 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: Iceland in the north Atlantic Ocean is one of our countries-of-the-week, so our Weekly World River is Iceland’s glacier-born Hvítá River. You can find its location in your recommended homeschool atlas, and you can read more about it in the Hvítá 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? 😊
❡ 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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❡ Join us! The aim of the River Houses project is to create a network of friendly local homeschool support groups — local chapters that we call “Houses.” Our first at-large chapter, Headwaters House, is now forming and is open to homeschoolers everywhere. Find out how to become one of our founding members on the Headwaters House membership page. 🏡