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 Ohio, and our COUNTRIES are Ghana 🇬🇭, Greece 🇬🇷, Grenada 🇬🇩, and Guatemala 🇬🇹. (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 gibbous and waning — a good time for moon watching! 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, 23 December) — Today is the 357th day of 2018; there are only eight 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). ⬩ On this day in 1783, George Washington, the American Cincinnatus, surrendered his sword to Congress and resigned his commission as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army.
MONDAY (24 December) — It’s Christmas Eve! 🎅 On this day in 1968, fifty years ago, Apollo 8 entered orbit around the moon, and its crew of three — Frank Borman, James Lovell, and William Anders — became the first humans ever to see the earth rise over another world.
TUESDAY (25 December) — Merry Christmas to all friends of the River Houses! 🎄 Isaac Newton was born on this day in 1642. 🇺🇸 And on this night in 1776, George Washington led the cold and demoralized soldiers of the Continental Army across the freezing Delaware River to secure a decisive victory over Britain’s Hessian mercenaries at the Battle of Trenton.
WEDNESDAY (26 December) — Today is Boxing Day in many Commonwealth countries 🎁, and St. Stephen’s Day in many others, and Wren Day in Ireland. ⬩ It’s also the birthday of the English inventor and polymath Charles Babbage (1791–1871), whose “difference engine” is widely regarded as the first mechanical computer.
THURSDAY (27 December) — Today is the birthday of two of history’s great scientists: the German mathematician and astronomer Johannes Kepler (1571–1630), and the French chemist and microbiologist Louis Pasteur (1822–1895).
FRIDAY (28 December) — On this day in 1895, the German physicist Wilhelm Röntgen reported the discovery of a new type of radiation never before encountered. Today we call Röntgen’s new radiation X-rays.
SATURDAY (29 December) — On this day in the year 1170, Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Becket was murdered in Canterbury Cathedral by followers of King Henry II. ⬩ And on this day in 1890, soldiers of the 7th U.S. Cavalry massacred 300 Lakota men, women, and children at Wounded Knee Creek, South Dakota.
SUNDAY (30 December) — Today is the birthday of Indian-English author and Nobel laureate Rudyard Kipling (1865–1936).
🥂 YOUR WEEKLY TOAST, for Christmas: “Here’s to friends we’ve yet to meet, / Here’s to those here: all here I greet; / Here’s to childhood, youth, old age, / Here’s to prophet, bard, and sage, / Here’s to your health — may all be bright / On this so special Christmas night.”
❡ 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: Guatemala is one of our countries-of-the-week, so our Weekly World River is the Suchiate River, which forms part of the border between Guatemala and Mexico. You can chart its course in your River Houses atlas (riverhouses.org/books), and you can read more about it in the Suchiate 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? 😊