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 North Carolina, and our COUNTRIES are Cyprus 🇨🇾, Czechia (Czech Republic) 🇨🇿, Denmark 🇩🇰, and Djibouti 🇩🇯. (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 waxing 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 (19 November 2023) — Today is the 323rd day of 2023; there are 43 days remaining in this common year. Learn more about different modern and historical calendars on pages 357–363 in your recommended world almanac. 📚 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. 🇺🇸
Monday (20 November 2023) — On this day in 1820, an 80-ton sperm whale struck and sank the whaleship Essex about 2000 miles off the west coast of South America. The destruction of the Essex would become one of the inspirations for Herman Melville’s great novel Moby-Dick (1851), and it would be later dramatized in the 2015 film In the Heart of the Sea. 🐳 Today is also the birthday of the American astronomer and cosmologist Edwin Hubble (1889–1953), who vastly enlarged our understanding of the universe. 🔭
Tuesday (21 November 2023) — On this day in 1905, a technical paper titled “Does the inertia of a body depend upon its energy content?” was published in the German science journal Annalen der Physik (Annals of Physics). The author was a 26-year-old patent clerk named Albert Einstein and the paper established that E = mc². ⚛️️
Wednesday (22 November 2023) — Today is the birthday of the great Victorian writer Mary Ann Evans (1819–1880), better known under the pen name George Eliot. 🖋 Our Wednesday tour of World Heritage Sites this week will take you to the Painted Churches of the Troodos Region in Cyprus. 🇨🇾 And our homeschool poem-of-the-week for the last week of November is Rowena Bastin Bennett’s “Thanksgiving Magic,” for all Thanksgiving Day cooks from sea to shining sea. Print your own River Houses Poetry Calendar and follow along with us throughout the year. 🍽
Thursday (23 November 2023) — HAPPY THANKSGIVING! 🦃 🦃 (That’s emoji for “gobble gobble.”) We’ll have some lovely music to share with you today. Thank you all for following us here at the River Houses! 😊 One of the great early masters of polyphonic music, Thomas Tallis, died on this day in 1583. (He was born about 1505 on a date unknown.) Tallis wrote, and his themes inspired, some of the most ethereal music in the world. 🎼
Friday (24 November 2023) — One of the most influential books ever written, Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, was published on this day in 1859. 🦋 The much loved novel Black Beauty was also published on this day in 1877. 🐴 And our Friday Bird Families post this week will introduce you to the Sandpipers (Part II). Print your own River Houses Calendar of American Birds and follow the flyways with us throughout the year. 🦅
Saturday (25 November 2023) — On this day in 1783, at the end of the American Revolution, the final negotiated evacuation of British troops from New York City was completed. The last toast offered at the ceremonial dinner held that evening was, “May the Remembrance of This Day be a Lesson to Princes.” 🇺🇸 Today is the birthday of the great Scottish-American businessman and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie (1835–1919), who planted beautiful public libraries all around the world. (Thank you!) 📚
Sunday (26 November 2023) — The first lighthouse on the deadly Eddystone rocks off the southwest coast of England was destroyed on the night of 26/27 November in the Great Storm of 1703. No trace of the six occupants of the lighthouse was ever found. ⛈ The classic movie Casablanca, starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, premiered on this day in 1942. 🎥 Today is also the birthday of Charles M. Schulz (1922–2000), creator of the beloved Peanuts comic strip. 🐶 And our Sunday States & Countries for next week will be Rhode Island 🇺🇸, Dominica 🇩🇲, the Dominican Republic 🇩🇴, Ecuador 🇪🇨, and Egypt 🇪🇬.
🥂 🦅 🦃 OUR WEEKLY TOAST is a Thanksgiving traditional that makes a traditional American comparison: “To our two national fowls, the American Eagle and the Thanksgiving Turkey: may the one give peace to all our states, and the other a piece for all our plates.”
❡ 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: The Czech Republic (Czechia) in central Europe is one of our countries-of-the-week, so our Weekly World River is the lovely Vltava River, which flows through the Czech capital of Prague. You can find its location in your recommended homeschool atlas, and you can read more about it in the Vltava 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. 🏡