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.
🕑 ↺ 🕐 DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME ends this morning (November 5th, the first Sunday in November) in most U.S. jurisdictions. At 2:00 a.m. you should set your clocks back to 1:00 a.m.
🇺🇸 OUR STATE-OF-THE-WEEK is Virginia, and our COUNTRIES are Colombia 🇨🇴, Comoros 🇰🇲, Congo (Kinshasa) 🇨🇩, and Congo Republic (Brazzaville) 🇨🇬. (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 at its third quarter — a good time for moon watching! You can explore the night sky and the features of the moon in your 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 (5 November 2023) — Today is the 309th day of 2023; there are 56 days remaining in this common year. Learn more about different modern and historical calendars on pages 357–363 in your recommended world almanac. 📚 On this day in 1605, the Gunpowder Plot to bomb the opening session of the English Parliament and assassinate King James I was foiled and the plotter Guy Fawkes and his co-conspirators were arrested. (“Remember, remember, the Fifth of November.”) 💣 Today is also the birthday of British poet and playwright James Elroy Flecker (1884–1915). 🖋
Monday (6 November 2023) — On this Election Day in 1860, Abraham Lincoln was elected the 16th President of the United States of America, and one year later, on this Election Day in 1861, Jefferson Davis was elected the first President of the Confederate States of America. 🗳
Tuesday (7 November 2023) — Today is Election Day in the United States, the first Tuesday after the first Monday of November. This is an off-year election, when most of the voting is for offices in state and local government. 🗳 On this day in 1492, a meteorite struck the earth near the village of Ensisheim, France. The Ensisheim meteorite is the oldest recovered meteorite with a known date of impact. 🌠 Today is also the birthday of the Polish-French physicist and Nobel laureate Marie Skłodowska Curie (1867–1934). ⚛️ 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 Philosophical 100s. 📚
Wednesday (8 November 2023) — Today is the birthday of the great English mathematician and astronomer Edmund Halley (1656–1742), of comet fame. ☄️ It’s also the birthday of Irish novelist Bram Stoker (1847–1912), the inventor of Count Dracula. 🧛 On this day in 1895, German physicist Wilhelm Röntgen accidentally discovered X-rays, and that makes today World Radiography Day! 💀 Our Wednesday tour of World Heritage Sites this week will take you to the Fortresses of Cartagena in Colombia. 🇨🇴 And our homeschool poem-of-the-week for this second week of November is Laurence Binyon’s “For the Fallen,” for Veterans Day (Armistice Day). Print your own River Houses Poetry Calendar and follow along with us throughout the year. 🕊
Thursday (9 November 2023) — On this day in 1985, at age 22, Garry Kasparov of the Soviet Union became the youngest World Chess Champion in history. ♚ And on this day in 1989, the Berlin Wall fell. For a good homeschool review of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of Soviet Communism turn to pages 426 and 448 in your River Houses history encyclopedia. 🇩🇪
Friday (10 November 2023) — Today is the birthday of the German priest and monk Martin Luther (1483–1546), the leader of the Protestant Reformation. For an illustrated review of the Reformation and its consequences, turn to pages 197 and 256–259 in your River Houses history encyclopedia. ✝️ Today is also the birthday of the English artist and satirist William Hogarth (1697–1764). 🎨 Our Friday Bird Families post this week will introduce you to the Lapwings, Plovers, and Jacanas. Print your own River Houses Calendar of American Birds and follow the flyways with us throughout the year. 🦅
Saturday (11 November 2023) — Today is Veterans Day in the United States, the federal holiday on which we honor all those who have served in the nation’s armed forces. 🇺🇸 On this day in 1572, Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe observed a new star in the constellation Cassiopeia, now known as supernova SN 1572. 🌟 On this day in the year 1620, the Mayflower Compact was signed in what is now Provincetown Harbor on the Massachusetts coast. 📜 On this day in 1918, at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the guns of World War I fell silent. This is the anniversary that is recognized as Veterans Day in the United States, and as Armistice Day and Remembrance Day in many other countries. 🕊 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: Algol, “the Demon Star,” the second brightest star in the constellation Perseus. 🌟
Sunday (12 November 2023) — Today is the birthday of American women’s rights advocate Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815–1902). ⚖️ It’s also the birthday of the great French sculptor Auguste Rodin (1840–1917). 🎨 On this day in 2014, the Philae spacecraft touched down on the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko, becoming the first manmade object ever to land safely on a comet. ☄️ And our Sunday States & Countries for next week will be New York 🇺🇸, Costa Rica 🇨🇷, Cote d’Ivoire 🇨🇮, Croatia 🇭🇷, and Cuba 🇨🇺.
🥂 🕊 OUR WEEKLY TOAST, taken from our weekly poem, is our annual offering for Veterans Day, Armistice Day, and the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918: “At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them.”
❡ 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: Colombia in northern South America is one of our countries-of-the-week, so our Weekly World River is the Magdalena River (Rio Magdalena), one of the principal rivers of Colombia, flowing north into the Caribbean Sea. You can find its location in your recommended homeschool atlas, and you can read more about it in the Magdalena 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. 🌎 🌍 🌏
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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❡ 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. 🏡