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 year at riverhouses.org/calendars.
🇺🇸 OUR STATE-OF-THE-WEEK is Rhode Island, and our COUNTRIES are Dominica 🇩🇲, the Dominican Republic 🇩🇴, Ecuador 🇪🇨, and Egypt 🇪🇬. (Our separate Sunday States & Countries post went up just a few minutes ago.)
🌖 THE MOON at the beginning of this week is gibbous and waning — an increasingly good time for stargazing. 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, 25 November) — Today is the 329th day of 2018; there are 36 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 also is the birthday of the great Scottish-American businessman and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie (1835–1919), who planted beautiful public libraries all around the world.
MONDAY (26 November) — 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. ⬩ And today is the birthday of Charles M. Schulz (1922–2000), creator of the beloved Peanuts comic strip.
TUESDAY (27 November) — Today is the birthday of the Swedish astronomer and physicist Anders Celsius (1701–1744), a man of degrees. ⬩ The first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was held in New York City on this day in 1924.
WEDNESDAY (28 November) — Today is (probably) the birthday of the Puritan preacher and theologian John Bunyan (1628–1688), author of The Pilgrim’s Progress, the second most widely printed book in world history (after the Bible). ⬩ Today is also the birthday of the great English mystical poet William Blake (1757–1827). ⬩ And on this day in 1972, the first successful arcade video game, Pong, was released. (Does anyone remember arcade games?)
THURSDAY (29 November) — Today is the birthday of the American novelist Louisa May Alcott (1832–1888), author of Little Women and Little Men.
FRIDAY (30 November) — Today is the birthday of another American novelist, Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known as Mark Twain (1835–1910). ⬩ It’s also the birthday of British statesman and Nobel laureate Winston Churchill (1874–1965). 🌠 And on this day in 1954, a meteorite smashed through the roof of a house in Sylacauga, Alabama, and struck a woman named Ann Hodges, who was taking a nap. The Sylacauga meteorite, as it is now called, is the only known meteorite in the Western Hemisphere ever to have struck a person. (Hodges was bruised, but sustained no permanent injuries.)
SATURDAY (1 December) — Today is the beginning of Orion Term in the River Houses. ⬩ And December in the River Houses is Holiday Music Month! 🎵 Keep your eyes and ears open for many musical delights throughout the month. ⬩ Our homeschool poem-of-the-week for the first week of December is “R.L.S.,” a gem-like homage to Robert Louis Stevenson written by A.E. Housman (1859–1936). Print your own River Houses poetry calendar at riverhouses.org/calendars and follow along with us throughout the year. ⬩ On this day in 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama, civil rights activist Rosa Parks (1913–2005) was arrested for refusing to give up her bus seat to a white man, an event that sparked the Montgomery bus boycott and the subsequent growth of the American civil rights movement.
SUNDAY (2 December) — The Touro Synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island, the oldest Jewish synagogue building in the United States, was dedicated on this day in 1763.
🥂 YOUR WEEKLY TOAST: “May we always see our neighbor’s distress with an eye of compassion.”
❡ 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: Egypt is one of our countries-of-the-week, so our Weekly World River is the great Nile, the mother of human civilization. You can chart its course in your River Houses atlas (riverhouses.org/books), and you can read more about it in the Nile 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? 😊