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. Add your name to our free mailing list to get posts like these delivered right to your mailbox each week. Visit our River Houses calendar page to print your own homeschool calendars and planners for the entire year.
🇺🇸 OUR STATE-OF-THE-WEEK is Mississippi, and our COUNTRIES are India 🇮🇳, Indonesia 🇮🇩, Iran 🇮🇷, and Iraq 🇮🇶. (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 a waxing crescent — a good time for stargazing! You can explore the night sky and the features of the moon in your recommended backyard astronomy guide and your homeschool world atlas, and you can learn a host of stellar and lunar facts on pages 371–386 in your almanac. Browse through our many astronomy posts for even more.
🗓 TODAY, Sunday (17 January 2021) — Today is the 17th day of 2021; there are 348 days remaining in this common year. Learn more about different kinds of modern and historical calendars on pages 387–393 in your River Houses almanac. 📚 Benjamin Franklin was born on this day in 1706 in Boston, Massachusetts. 📰 And one of the most important battles in the Southern Theater of the American Revolution, the Battle of Cowpens, took place on this day in 1781 near Cowpens, South Carolina. ⚔️
Monday (18 January 2021) — Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a federal holiday in the United States. Lift every voice and sing! 🇺🇸 On this day in 1788, the first convict ships from Britain, now known as the First Fleet, arrived at Botany Bay, Australia. 🇦🇺 And today is the birthday of the Polish-British mathematician and historian of science Jacob Bronowski (1908–1974), creator of the pioneering documentary series “The Ascent of Man.” 📺
Tuesday (19 January 2021) — Today is the birthday of the polemical American lawyer and freedom-philosopher Lysander Spooner (1808–1887). ⚖️ It’s also the birthday of the spooky American poet and short-story writer Edgar Allan Poe (1809–1849). 👻
Wednesday (20 January 2021) — One of the first two men to walk on the moon, American astronaut Buzz Aldrin, was born on this day in 1930. 👨🚀 And our Wednesday tour of World Heritage Sites this week will take you to the Sangiran Early Man Site in Indonesia. 🇮🇩
Thursday (21 January 2021) — Today is St. Agnes Day, named for Agnes of Rome, a teenage Christian martyr of the fourth century and a favorite subject of artists and writers for hundreds of years. On this day, saith tradition, young girls will have their future husbands revealed to them in their dreams: “Agnes sweet, and Agnes fair, / Hither, hither, now repair; / Bonny Agnes, let me see / The lad who is to marry me.” 👰
Friday (22 January 2021) — Today is the birthday of two great English poets: John Donne (1573–1631) and George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788–1824). 🖋 And our homeschool poem-of-the-week for last week of January is John Masefield’s “Sea Fever,” in memory of the Space Shuttle Challenger and its crew, who died 28 January 1986. 🌊 Print your own River Houses Poetry Calendar (riverhouses.org/calendars) and follow along with us throughout the year. 🗓 Our Friday Bird Families post this week will introduce you to the New World Vultures, the Ospreys, and the Hawks, Kites, and Eagles. Print your own River Houses Calendar of American Birds and follow the flyways. 🦅
Saturday (23 January 2021) — On this day in 1849, the first woman to receive a medical degree in the United States, Elizabeth Blackwell (1821–1910), graduated from the Geneva Medical College in New York. 👩⚕️
Sunday (24 January 2021) — On this day in 1848, James W. Marshall discovered gold at Sutter’s Mill, California, touching off the California Gold Rush. ⛏
🥂 OUR WEEKLY TOAST: “May obstacles entice enterprise and ensure perseverance.”
❡ 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 unpredictability in toasting!”). Many of our current toasts are taken from an old anthology called Toasts and Tributes: A Happy Book of Good Cheer (New York, 1904). What will you toast this week? 🥂
🌍 🇮🇷 EVERYTHING FLOWS: Iran in western Asia is one of our countries-of-the-week, so our Weekly World River is the Haraz River, which flows across northern Iran and empties into the Caspian Sea. You can find its location in your recommended homeschool atlas, and you can read more about it in the Haraz River entry in Wikipedia or perhaps on your next visit to your local library.
❡ Daughters of Ocean: 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 699–701), 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? 😊
❡ Lively springs: This is one of our regular “Quick Freshes” posts looking at the homeschool week ahead. Add your name to our River Houses mailing list and get these weekly messages delivered right to your mailbox all through the year. You can also print your own River Houses calendars of educational events and follow along with us. 🗓