Apparently, finishing an issue makes me very chatty. I promise I am not enjoying a glass of frosé while writing this. (But no promises about what I’ll be doing after it’s written!)
around the web
The best thing I read this week was Rebecca Solnit’s talk about the time she spent roaming—both books and wilderness—during her childhood summers: “I was lucky that children were weeds, not hothouse flowers, in those days, left to our own devices, and my own devices led in two directions: north to the hills and the horses, south to the library.”
One thing you have to decide when you have a website is how you want to handle ads. I guess it’s obvious that my decision has been to limit them to the occasional sponsored post from companies whose homeschool philosophy syncs with ours, which is maybe not the most financially savvy decision but one I (mostly!) feel good about. (Obviously other people make other decisions, and those are the decisions that work best for them, so this isn’t any kind of criticism, just me musing.) But this piece about video ads taking over editorial content makes glad we’ve made the decisions we have—and that I’ve been the person with the power to make those decisions.
This is terrifying.
Great piece on how we think poetry is so much more complicated than it actually is.
Nice to see book clubs have remained consistent since the 1700s: “In most cases, food and alcohol in copious quantities, accompanied we may suspect by a considerable element of boisterous good humour, played an important part in the life of the book clubs.”
on the blog: Look! I finally posted our 9th grade reading list. Now to finish our reading list for 10th grade! (It's a world history year—suggestions welcome.)
one year ago: Homeschooling High School: Mythbusters Edition
two years ago: Resources for teaching current events in your homeschool
three years ago: Mindful Homeschool: You Have All the Time You Need
I have basically rocked Library Chicken this week in my post-issue to-do list vacuum, so I am just going to give this whole space to my own reading list this week. I returned Just One Damned Thing After Another (first in the Chronicles of St. Mary’s series) because I was having second thoughts, but I picked it up again because some of my requests for further books in the series came in, so I read my way through the aforementioned Just One Damned Thing After Another, A Symphony of Echoes, A Second Chance, and A Trail Through Time like I was a binging a TV series. (And this would make a great series—ooh, maybe Eleanor Tomlinson could play Max!) These books are pure, history nerd, easy reading fun—the perfect back-porch-poolside-too-lazy-to-get-out-of-bed-today summer reading. Resist the urge to compare them to Connie Willis, and you should be fine. (Library Chicken score: +4)
I also recently discovered that Joan Aiken (you may remember her from The Wolves of Willoughby Chase and the Armitage family stories) wrote Jane Austen fan-fiction. How did I not know this? Suzanne said to start with Jane Fairfax (whom you may remember from Emma—she marries Frank Churchill), so I did, and it was such fun revisiting the world of Highbury and getting a different perspective on some of the characters. Some parts were better than others, and I definitely wouldn’t describe it Austenian, but it was certainly worth reading. Next up: Mansfield Park Revisited. (Library Chicken score: +1)
I am also really digging into my upcoming Greek history/literature/music/philosophy/art/science class for this fall. I’ve been reading a lot of context and criticism to help get oriented in the Classical world, and now I’m going back to the primary sources, some of which I hadn’t read since college and some of which I read before I had my inner chronology of Greek history properly in place. First up: Herodotus’s Histories, which really helped me get into the Greek mindset (and to appreciate that history has always been a narrative rather than an objective collection of facts) and Thucydides’s History of the Peloponnesian War (again, now that I have the Peloponnesian War straight in my head and a different edition, which I really liked), which goes into long, delicious (and only very occasionally tedious) detail about the war between Sparta and Athens. Is it weird that I’m starting to view Greek history as my own personal soap opera? (Library Chicken score: +2)
I’m also trying to wrap my brain around a plan for high school world history next year, so I’ve been reading with that in mind. I really enjoyed Glimpses of World History, which Jawaharlal Nehru wrote in the 1930s as a series of letters to introduce his daughter to world history—I’m always looking for a way to see world history through non-Western eyes. I also enjoyed the perspective offered by Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, which mixes science into history in a way that many traditional world history books don’t. And I know we’re going to read Guns, Germs, and Steel, so I gave it a quick reread. (Library Chicken score: +3)
Another summer, another friend with a baby on the way. This time I’m knitting a Tiny Tea Leaves (I love this pattern!), some Tiny Shoes, and a matching Violets Are Blue headband. (It’s a girl.) I got some lavender-ish yarn in the KnitPicks summer sale, and I think it's going to be adorable.
It is apparently our Summer of New Appliances. We recently replaced our hot water heater, and now we’re getting a new fridge. Yay?
The kids and I have taken up cross-stitching to cope with all the steamy, soggy afternoons we’ve been having this summer, and it’s a really fun project. I think I know what I am getting for Hanukkah this year! I would be really happy to get in some pool time, too, though.
AMY SHARONY is the founder and editor-in-chief of home | school | life magazine. She's a pretty nice person until someone starts pluralizing things with apostrophes, but then all bets are off.