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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 Kentucky, and our COUNTRIES are Ethiopia 🇪🇹, Fiji 🇫🇯, Finland 🇫🇮, and France 🇫🇷. (Our separate Sunday States & Countries post went up just a few minutes ago.)
🌒 THE MOON at the beginning of this week is a waxing crescent — a 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).
(Have you noticed that we use the correct symbol for the phase of the moon each week? We do! Here’s the complete sequence from New to First Quarter to Full to Third Quarter to New again: 🌑🌒🌓🌔🌕🌖🌗🌘🌑.)
🗓 TODAY (Sunday, 9 December) — Today is the 343rd day of 2018; there are 22 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 and political revolutionary John Milton (1608–1674), one of the towering figures in the history of the English language. ⬩ And on this day in 1965, the much-loved special “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” with music by Vince Guaraldi, premiered on CBS television.
MONDAY (10 December) — Today is the birthday Augusta Ada (Byron) King, Countess of Lovelace (1815–1852), a pioneer of computer science (long before the field even existed). ⬩ It’s also the birthday of the great American poet Emily Dickinson (1830–1886).
TUESDAY (11 December) — Today is the birthday of two very different Nobel laureates: the German microbiologist Robert Koch (1843–1910), and the Russian novelist and historian Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1918–2008).
WEDNESDAY (12 December) — On this day in 1901 at St. John’s, Newfoundland, engineer and inventor Guglielmo Marconi (1874–1937) successfully received the first trans-Atlantic radio transmission (sent from Cornwall in the U.K.).
THURSDAY (13 December) — The annual Geminid meteor shower is expected to peak tonight.
FRIDAY (14 December) — Today is the birthday of the great Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe (1546–1601). ⬩ And on this day in 1911, Roald Amundson, Olav Bjaaland, Helmer Hanssen, Sverre Hassel, and Oscar Wisting became the first men ever to reach the South Pole.
SATURDAY (15 December) — The famous film Gone With the Wind, starring Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh, premiered in Atlanta, Georgia, on this day in 1939. ⬩ And on this day in 1970, the Soviet spacecraft Venera 7 made the first-ever soft landing on another planet (Venus). ⬩ Our homeschool poem-of-the-week for third week of December is Christina Rossetti’s “In the Bleak Midwinter,” for the upcoming winter solstice and the Christmas holiday. Print your own River Houses poetry calendar at riverhouses.org/calendars and follow along with us throughout the year.
SUNDAY (16 December) — It’s Beethoven’s birthday! ⬩ It’s also the birthday of the English novelist Jane Austen (1775–1817). ⬩ And on this day in 1773, a group of disgruntled Bostonians disguised as Mohawk Indians dumped hundreds of pounds of tea into Boston Harbor — and “the Boston Tea Party” has been a part of American history ever since. ⬩ Also, Comet 46P/Wirtanen, the closest-approaching comet of 2018, may be bright enough to see with the naked eye this evening.
🥂 YOUR WEEKLY TOAST: “May we never envy those who are happy, but always strive to imitate them.”
❡ 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: France is one of our countries-of-the-week, so our Weekly World River is the storied Seine, which flows through the French capital of Paris. You can chart its course in your River Houses atlas (riverhouses.org/books), and you can read more about it in the Seine 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!
AND DON’T FORGET: Friday the 13th comes on a Thursday this month! 😲
What do you have planned for your homeschool this week? 😊