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! Print your own River Houses calendar for the whole year at riverhouses.org/calendars.
🇺🇸 OUR STATE-OF-THE-WEEK is South Carolina, and our COUNTRIES are Cabo Verde 🇨🇻, Cambodia 🇰🇭, Cameroon 🇨🇲, and Canada 🇨🇦. (Our separate Sunday States & Countries post will be up shortly.)
🌔 THE MOON at the beginning of this week is gibbous and waxing, on its way to becoming full on the 24th. Track the moon’s phases each month at timeanddate.com, and dial up this week’s constellations with your River Houses star atlas (riverhouses.org/books).
🗓 TODAY (Sunday, 21 October) — Today is the 294 day of 2018; there are 71 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 the birthday of the great English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772–1834). ⬩ And since we talked a lot about apples this past week, it’s only fitting to note that today is celebrated as Apple Day in the United Kingdom. 🍎
MONDAY (22 October) — Today is the birthday of the great Hungarian composer and pianist Franz Liszt (1811–1886). ⬩ On this day in 1836, Sam Houston (1793–1863) was inaugurated as the first president of the Republic of Texas. ⬩ And on this day in 1879, Thomas Edison tested his design for first practical and long-lasting incandescent light bulb.
TUESDAY (23 October) — On this day in 1739, England declared war on Spain in the conflict memorably known as the War of Jenkins’ Ear. ⬩ Today is the birthday of the popular naturalist and children’s author Neltje Blanchan (1865–1918). ⬩ And sometime between 6:02 a.m. and 6:02 p.m. today, chemistry students will want offer a toast in honor of International Mole Day (6.02 × 1023).
WEDNESDAY (24 October) — One of the most famous buildings in the world, Chartres Cathedral, was consecrated on this day in the year 1260. ⬩ Today is the birthday of the pioneering Dutch microscopist Antonie von Leeuwenhoek (1632–1732). ⬩ On this day in 1861, the first North American transcontinental telegraph line was completed. ⬩ Since the moon is full today, we’ll have a report from the River Houses Lunar Society. ⬩ And: to-morrow is Saint Crispin’s.
THURSDAY (25 October) — On this day in the year 285 (or perhaps 286), the early Christian saints Crispin and Crispinian, patrons of cobblers and leather workers, were executed in Rome by the emperor Diocletian. ⬩ And on this day in 1415, the feast day of Saints Crispin and Crispinian, Henry V of England, outnumbered, defeated the armies of France in the Battle of Agincourt. And Crispin–Crispian shall ne’er go by, from this day unto the ending of the world, but they in it shall be rememberèd.
FRIDAY (26 October) — The Erie Canal connecting New York City to the Great Lakes opened on this day in 1825. ⬩ And today is the birthday of the great American gospel singer Mahalia Jackson (1911–1972).
SATURDAY (27 October) — On this day in the year 312, the armies of rival Roman emperors Constantine and Maxentius fought one another in the Battle of Milvian Bridge north of Rome. Tradition says that Constantine secured victory after having a vision of the Christian Cross the night before, leading to his conversion and the eventual adoption of Christianity as the religion of the Roman Empire. ⬩ Today is also the birthday of the great Welsh poet and playwright Dylan Thomas (1914–1953).
SUNDAY (28 October) — The great Dutch Renaissance philosopher Erasmus of Rotterdam was born on this day in 1466. ⬩ On this day in 1886, President Grover Cleveland dedicated the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor. ⬩ And today is the birthday of American medical researcher Jonas Salk (1914–1995), developer of the polio vaccine.
🥂 YOUR WEEKLY TOAST is one of the most famous toasts in history, to be offered each year on the 25th of October: “To-morrow is Saint Crispin’s.”
❡ 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 set of toasts are mostly taken from an old anthology called The Pic-Nic, a Collection of Recitations, and Comic Songs, Toasts, Sentiments, &c. (London, 1816). What will you toast this week?
🌎 EVERYTHING FLOWS: Canada is one of our countries-of-the-week, so our Weekly World River is the the great Mackenzie River, the longest river system in Canada and the second longest in North America (after the Mississippi). You can chart its course in your River Houses atlas (riverhouses.org/books), and you can read more about it in the Mackenzie River entry in Wikipedia or perhaps 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.
What do you have planned for your homeschool this week? 😊