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.
🇺🇸 OUR STATE-OF-THE-WEEK is Pennsylvania, and our COUNTRIES are Angola 🇦🇴, Antigua & Barbuda 🇦🇬, Argentina 🇦🇷, and Armenia 🇦🇲. (Our separate Sunday States & Countries lesson 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 341–356 in your current world almanac. Browse through our regular homeschool astronomy posts for even more.
🗓 TODAY, Sunday (10 September 2023) — Today is the 253rd day of 2023; there are 112 days remaining in this common year. Learn more about different modern and historical calendars on pages 357–363 in your recommended world almanac. 📚 Today is the birthday of the great English composer Henry Purcell (1659–1695). 🎵 And it’s also the birthday of the American physicist Arthur Compton (1892–1962), winner of the 1927 Nobel Prize for his studies of electromagnetism. ⚡
Monday (11 September 2023) — Today is the anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3000 people in New York, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. 🇺🇸 It’s also the birthday of the Scottish explorer Mungo Park (1771–1806), one of the first Europeans to travel to the interior of Africa. 🌍
Tuesday (12 September 2023) — This is the traditional date of the Battle of Marathon in 490 B.C., one of the most consequential battles in the history of the Western world, in which the Athenians and their allies defeated the armies of Darius the Great of Persia in his attempt to conquer mainland Greece. ⚔️ And on this day in 1962, President John F. Kennedy declared that the United States would land a man on the moon “before this decade is out.” 🚀 🌕
Wednesday (13 September 2023) — Today is the birthday of the German composer and pianist Clara Schumann (1819–1896). 🎵 It’s also the birthday of the British novelist, children’s author, and WWII fighter pilot Roald Dahl (1916–1990). 🖋 And our Wednesday tour of World Heritage Sites this week will take you to Mbanza Kongo in Angola. 🇦🇴
Thursday (14 September 2023) — The annual Monarch butterfly migration is underway in many parts of the United States this week. How many have you seen? 🦋 On this day in 1814 during the British bombardment of Baltimore, Francis Scott Key wrote a poem that he called “Defence of Fort M’Henry.” We know it today as “The Star-Spangled Banner,” the national anthem of the United States. 🇺🇸 The Soviet space probe Luna 2, the first man-made object to reach the lunar surface, crash-landed onto the moon on this day in 1959. 🚀
Friday (15 September 2023) — Today is the birthday of novelist James Fenimore Cooper (1789–1851), one of the most popular writers of nineteenth-century America. 🖋 It’s also the birthday of writer and illustrator Robert McCloskey (1914–2003), author of Make Way for Ducklings (1941) and other children’s classics. 🦆 Our Friday Bird Families post this week will introduce you (again, and appropriately enough) to the Ducks, Geese, and Swans. (Part II, because there are a lot of them!) Print your own River Houses Calendar of American Birds and follow the flyways with us throughout the year. 🦅 And our homeschool poem-of-the-week for the third week of September is Robert Frost’s “The Tuft of Flowers,” for the fall harvest, our common labor, and the Monarch butterfly migration. Print your own River Houses Poetry Calendar and follow along with us throughout the 2023–2024 homeschool year. 🦋
Saturday (16 September 2023) — On this day in 1776, with George Washington in direct command, the Continental Army in New York successfully defended several key positions on Manhattan Island in the Battle of Harlem Heights. ⚔️
Sunday (17 September 2023) — Today is Constitution Day! On this day in 1787, the U.S. Constitution was signed in Philadelphia by the members of the Constitutional Convention. Why not pay a homeschool visit to the original Constitution today at its current home in the National Archives. 🇺🇸 Today is also the anniversary of the Battle of Antietam in 1862, one of the bloodiest days in American history, with more than 22,000 Union and Confederate casualties. ⚔️ And our Sunday States & Countries for next week will be New Jersey 🇺🇸, Australia 🇦🇺, Austria 🇦🇹, Azerbaijan 🇦🇿, and the Bahamas 🇧🇸.
🥂 🇺🇸 THIS WEEK’S TOAST is in memory of Francis Scott Key and 9/11/2001 (and the army at Marathon): “To the land of the free and the home of the brave.”
❡ Toasts can be a wonderful educational tradition for your homeschool lunch or dinner 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: Angola in southwestern Africa is one of our countries-of-the-week, so our Weekly World River is the Cunene or Kunene River, which flows through Angola and along the Angolan border with Namibia. You can find its location in your recommended homeschool atlas, and you can read more about it in the Cunene 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, or start with the river lists in your world 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. 🌎 🌍 🌏
🙀 AND DON’T FORGET: Friday the 13th comes on a Wednesday 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. 📫
❡ 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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