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.
🌠 THE ANNUAL LEONID METEOR SHOWER will peak on Thursday–Saturday nights this week. Viewing is expected to be fairly good this year, with only a thin crescent moon competing with the meteors. The Leonids are debris from Comet Tempel–Tuttle. For a great little lesson on meteor showers, turn to pages 130–133 in your backyard astronomy guide. ☄️
🇺🇸 OUR STATE-OF-THE-WEEK is New York, and our COUNTRIES are Costa Rica 🇨🇷, Cote d’Ivoire 🇨🇮, Croatia 🇭🇷, and Cuba 🇨🇺. (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 a waning crescent — a good time for stargazing! 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 (12 November 2023) — Today is the 316th day of 2023; there are 49 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 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. ☄️
Monday (13 November 2023) — Saint Augustine of Hippo, one of the most influential figures in the history of Christianity, was born on this day in the year 354 in ancient Numidia, a region of the Roman Empire that is today part of Algeria. ✝️ Today is also the birthday of Scottish novelist and poet Robert Louis Stevenson (1850–1894), the author of A Child’s Garden of Verses and many other much-loved classics for young people. “Bright is the ring of words!” 🔔
Tuesday (14 November 2023) — Today is the birthday of Charles Lyell (1797–1875), the father of modern geology. ⚒ It’s also the birthday of German composer and pianist Fanny Mendelssohn (1805–1847). 🎹 The great French Impressionist painter Claude Monet was born on this day in 1840. 🎨 And today is the birthday of American composer and conductor Aaron Copland (1900–1990). 🎵
Wednesday (15 November 2023) — On this day in 1777, after many months of debate, the Continental Congress approved the Articles of Confederation and sent them to the states for ratification. 🇺🇸 The cornerstone of the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C., was laid on this day in 1939 by President Franklin Roosevelt. 🏛 Our Wednesday tour of World Heritage Sites this week will take you to Cocos Island National Park in Costa Rica. 🇨🇷 And our homeschool poem-of-the-week for the third week of November is A.E. Housman’s “Stars, I have seen them fall,” for the annual Leonid meteor shower. Print your own River Houses Poetry Calendar and follow along with us throughout the year. 🌠
Thursday (16 November 2023) — The movie Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the first in the series, was released on this day in 2001. It earned just shy of $1 billion worldwide at the box office. 🧙
Friday (17 November 2023) — Today is the birthday of German mathematician and astronomer August Ferdinand Möbius (1790–1868), the inventor (or discoverer?) of the strip that bears his name. 🥓 Our Friday Bird Families post this week will introduce you to the diverse Sandpipers (Part I). Print your own River Houses Calendar of American Birds and follow the flyways with us throughout the year. 🦅
Saturday (18 November 2023) — Saint Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, the largest church in the world, was consecrated on this day in 1626. 🇻🇦 And today is the birthday of the great American musician Johnny Mercer (1909–1976), lyricist of “Moon River” and many other American standards. 🎼
Sunday (19 November 2023) — Eight score years ago today, Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address. American school children often memorized it once upon a time. Why not read it aloud in your homeschool today — you’ll find the text on page 473 of your almanac. 🇺🇸 And our Sunday States & Countries for next week will be North Carolina 🇺🇸, Cyprus 🇨🇾, Czechia (Czech Republic) 🇨🇿, Denmark 🇩🇰, and Djibouti 🇩🇯.
🥂 🇺🇸 OUR WEEKLY TOAST is for the 160th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address: “To a new birth of freedom.”
❡ 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: Croatia in central Europe is one of our countries-of-the-week, so our Weekly World River is the Kupa River, which forms part of the border between Croatia and Slovenia. You can find its location in your recommended homeschool atlas, and you can read more about it in the Kupa 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 Monday 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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