(It’s going to be a kind of Julius Caesar Week in the River Houses. Beware the Ides of March!)
Quick Freshes are our regular Sunday notes on the homeschool week ahead. Pick one or two (or more!) of the items below each week and use them to enrich your homeschooling schedule.
🇺🇸 OUR STATE-OF-THE-WEEK is Texas, and our COUNTRIES are Malta, the Marshall Islands, Mauritania, and Mauritius. (Our separate Sunday States & Countries post will be up shortly.)
❡ Little lessons: “Did you know that the tiny island nation of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean was the home of the Dodo, a kind of giant flightless pigeon that became extinct in the 1600s?” You can find a facts-and-figures outline of Mauritius on page 804 in your River Houses almanac and on plate 136 in your atlas, with a map of the country (look close!) on atlas plate 95 (riverhouses.org/books).
🌘 THE MOON at the beginning of this week is a waning crescent — a good time for stargazing! Track the moon’s phases each month at timeanddate.com/moon/phases, and dial up this week’s constellations with your River Houses star atlas (riverhouses.org/books).
🗓 TODAY (Sunday, 11 March) — Today is the 70th day of 2018; there are 295 days remaining in the year. Learn more about different kinds of modern and historical calendars on pages 351–357 in your River Houses almanac (riverhouses.org/books). ⬩ Today is also the birthday of Vannevar Bush (1890–1974), one of the pioneering thinkers of the early computer age, who envisioned something like the World Wide Web all the way back in 1945.
Monday (12 March) — Monday is Museums & Monuments Day at the River Houses. For Julius Caesar Week, we’re going to look at a number Caesarian images from different museums. ⬩ Today is also celebrated as Girl Scouts’ Birthday, commemorating the establishment of the first American girl scout troop by Juliette Gordon Low in Savannah, Georgia, in 1912.
Tuesday (13 March) — Join us for Tuesday Tea at the Library and some notes on books, libraries, and history — and of course, Julius Caesar!
Wednesday (14 March) — Wednesday is Wonderful Words Day at the River Houses. This Wednesday, spend a few homeschool minutes with Shakespeare’s great play Julius Caesar. (Of course!) ⬩ Today is also celebrated as Pi Day (3/14) by many mathematically inclined people in the United States. ⬩ It’s also the birthday of the great German-American physicist Albert Einstein (1879–1955).
Thursday (15 March) — On the ancient Roman calendar, the 15th of March is called the “Ides,” or midpoint, of the month. On the Ides of March in 44 B.C., the military dictator Julius Caesar was stabbed to death by Marcus Junius Brutus, Gaius Cassius Longinus, and several other Roman senators. This ultimately unsuccessful coup led to the consolidation of Rome as an Empire under Caesar’s successors and its decline as a Republic. ⬩ In a strange juxtaposition, today is also the birthday of Saint Nicholas (270–343), the early Christian saint who became, through centuries of cultural transformation, our modern Santa Claus.
Friday (16 March) — Our regular Friday Field & Nature Notes will take a look at the developing spring bird migration. ⬩ Today is the birthday of James Madison (1751–1836), “Father of the Constitution” and the 4th President of the United States. ⬩ On this day in 1926 in a field in Auburn, Massachusetts, Robert Goddard launched the first experimental liquid-fueled rocket.
Saturday (17 March) — Saturday is Arts & Music Day at the River Houses. Spend a few homeschool minutes with us today on, well, Julius Caesar! ⬩ Today is also St. Patrick’s Day — Erin go Bragh! (Ireland forever!) ⬩ On this day in 1776, British forces evacuated Boston after eleven months of siege. It was George Washington’s first victory in the American Revolution.
🥂 YOUR WEEKLY TOAST: “Sic semper tyrannis!” (“Thus ever to tyrants!” Said to have been uttered by Brutus as he stabbed the dictator Julius Caesar in 44 B.C.; also, the state motto of Virginia.)
❡ Toasts are a fun 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 variety in toasting!”). Our current examples are adapted from two old collections: Marchant’s “Toasts and sentiments” (1888) and the anonymous Social and Convivial Toast-Master (1841). What will you toast this week?
🌎 EVERYTHING FLOWS: Mauritania is one of our countries-of-the-week, so our Weekly World River is the Senegal River, one of the major rivers of Africa, which marks the border between Mauritania and Senegal. You can chart its course in your River Houses atlas (riverhouses.org/books), and you can read much more about it in the comprehensive Senegal River entry in Wikipedia or on your next visit to your local library.
❡ Let the river run: 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 691–692), 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 Tuesday this month!
What do you have planned for the homeschool week ahead? 😊