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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 Illinois, and our COUNTRIES are Israel 🇮🇱, Italy 🇮🇹, Jamaica 🇯🇲, and Japan 🇯🇵. (Our separate Sunday States & Countries post for the week went up just a few minutes ago.)
🗓 TODAY (Sunday, 20 January) — Today is the 20th day of 2019; there are 345 days remaining in the year. Learn more about different kinds of modern and historical calendars on pages 358–364 in your River Houses almanac (riverhouses.org/books). ⬩ There will be a TOTAL LUNAR ECLIPSE tonight (20–21 January), visible across all of North and South America. It will be a homeschool event not to be missed! 🌕 And fittingly, one of the first two men to walk on the moon, American astronaut Buzz Aldrin, was born on this day in 1930.
MONDAY (21 January) — Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a federal holiday in the United States. Lift every voice and sing! ⬩ And, since there was a full moon this past night (and an eclipse!), that means today we’ll have a report on student research projects from the River Houses Lunar Society.
TUESDAY (22 January) — Today is the birthday of two great English poets: John Donne (1573–1631) and George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788–1824). 🖋 And speaking of poets, our homeschool poem-of-the-week for last week of January is W.H. Auden’s “In Memory of W.B. Yeats,” for Yeats, who died 29 January 1939. Print your own River Houses poetry calendar (riverhouses.org/calendars) and follow along with us throughout the year.
WEDNESDAY (23 January) — Today is the birthday of John Hancock (1737–1793), president of the Continental Congress and the most flamboyant signer of the Declaration of Independence. ☤ And on this day in 1849, Elizabeth Blackwell graduated from the Geneva Medical College in New York, becoming the first woman to receive a medical degree in the United States.
THURSDAY (24 January) — On this day in 1848, James W. Marshall discovered gold at Sutter’s Mill, California, touching off the great California Gold Rush. 🍏 And on this day in 1984, Apple Computer introduced the Macintosh, and 1984 wasn’t like 1984.
FRIDAY (25 January) — Today is the birthday of the great Scottish poet Robert Burns (1759–1796), aye.
SATURDAY (26 January) — The world’s largest diamond, the Cullinan diamond, was found on this day in 1905 in the Premier mine near Pretoria, South Africa. 🏞 And on this day in 1915, Rocky Mountain National Park was established by an act of the U.S. Congress.
SUNDAY (27 January) — Today is the birthday of the great classical composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791).
🥂 YOUR WEEKLY TOAST: “May we be rich in friends rather than money.”
❡ Toasts can be a fun educational 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: Italy is one of our countries-of-the-week, so our Weekly World River is the ancient Po River, the longest river in Italy. You can chart its course in your recommended homeschool atlas (riverhouses.org/books), and you can read more about it in the Po 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 691–693), 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? 😊