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!
🇺🇸 OUR STATE-OF-THE-WEEK is Kansas, and our COUNTRIES are Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, and Paraguay. (Our separate Sunday States & Countries post will be up shortly.)
❡ Little lessons: “Did you know that the tiny Pacific Ocean nation of Palau has a population of only 21,000 people?” You can find a facts-and-figures outline of Palau on page 822 in your River Houses almanac and on plate 137 in your atlas, with maps of the country on atlas plates 109 and 110 (riverhouses.org/books).
🌓 THE MOON at the beginning of this week is a waxing crescent — a relatively good time for stargazing. Track the moon’s phases each month at timeanddate.com/moon/phases, and dial up this week’s constellations with your River Houses star atlas (riverhouses.org/books).
🗓 TODAY (Sunday, 22 April) — Today is the 112th day of 2018; there are 253 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 also Earth Day!
Monday (23 April) — Monday is Museums & Monuments Day at the River Houses, and since today is the birthday of William Shakespeare (forsooth!), we’ll be visiting some suitably Shakespearean monuments. ⬩ The Boston Latin School, the first public school in America, was founded on this day in 1635 (and it’s still going strong). ⬩ Today is also the birthday of the great German physicist and Nobel laureate Max Planck (1858–1947), the originator of quantum theory.
Tuesday (24 April) — Join us for Tuesday Tea at the Library and some notes on books, libraries, and history. Appropriately enough, the United States Library of Congress was established on this date in 1800 with an appropriation of $5000 to purchase “such books as may be necessary for the use of Congress.” ⬩ The Hubble Space Telescope was released from the Space Shuttle Discovery on this day in 1990. ⬩ Today is also the traditional date given for the fall of Troy in 1184 B.C.
Wednesday (25 April) — Wednesday is Wonderful Words Day at the River Houses. This Wednesday, spend a few homeschool minutes reading a lovely poem by English poet Walter de la Mare, born on this day in 1873, and listening to a beautiful musical setting of the poem by Gerald Finzi (1901–1956). ⬩ On this day in 1953, Francis Crick and James Watson published the first description of the structure of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), the molecule that carries the information of heredity.
Thursday (26 April) — On this day in 1803, large numbers of meteor fragments fell near L’Aigle, France, clearly establishing that the meteors seen as streaks of light in the night sky are indeed objects falling from space. ⬩ Today is also the birthday of the great French-American artist and naturalist John James Audubon (1785–1851).
Friday (27 April) — Today is Arbor Day! First celebrated in 1872 when an estimated one million trees were planted in Nebraska, Arbor Day is now recognized each year in the United States on the last Friday in April. Similar tree-planting holidays are held in many other countries around the world.
Saturday (28 April) — Saturday is Arts Day at the River Houses, and in memory of the fall of Troy we’ll look at some famous artistic depictions of the Trojan horse, a cultural image that all good homeschoolers should be able to recognize. ⬩ Today is also the birthday of American novelist Harper Lee (1926–2016), author of To Kill a Mockingbird (1960), which has been a standard component of high school literature courses for many years.
🥂 YOUR WEEKLY TOAST: “May God speed the plow, and reward the men who drive it.”
❡ 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 examples are adapted from two old collections: Marchant’s “Toasts and sentiments” (1888) and the anonymous Social and Convivial Toast-Master (1841). What will you toast this week?
🌎 EVERYTHING FLOWS: Paraguay is one of our countries-of-the-week, so our Weekly World River is the the Paraguay River, a major river of south-central South America, flowing through Paraguay, Argentina, Bolivia, and Brazil. You can chart its course in your recommended River Houses atlas (riverhouses.org/books), and you can read much more about it in the Paraguay River entry in Wikipedia or 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 the homeschool week ahead? 😊