One of my New Year’s resolutions is to get more comfortable with myself, and so you might see a little more of my life peeking through here in these weekly roundups. For instance, I’m going to confess that I haven’t done a load of laundry since Hanukkah, and when I stumbled past the hamper this morning, I caused a clothing avalanche that I didn’t even pick up. This is what doing it all looks like in my house, y’all.
around the web
I love blogs. I really do. And I’ve learned a ton from homeschooler bloggers who’ve been willing to put their lives out there. Heck, we post on the HSL blog multiple times a week. But I worry when blogs take the place of real reporting — we need both! Real people’s stories and experiences AND serious journalism. I think that’s why this Wired piece about why journalism is a great place for tech to invest really hit home for me.
Love this! How “Get Out” inspired a college class on racism. (Suzanne and I are still trying to figure out how to teach an ethics class based on The Good Place.)
What was life like before the Internet? “‘Should I test out these pens on this turquoise pad?’ you’d ask yourself, staring at some pens by the phone.”
Warning: This piece by Clint Smith about visiting the National Museum of African History and Culture with his grandfather and realizing how not-at-all-long-ago legislated racism actually was might make you tear up a little.
in the magazine: The winter issue’s out next week!
on the blog: Join our 2018 Reading Challenge!
one year ago: Perk up your homeschool space for a happiness boost
two years ago: Transitioning back to homeschooling after a break (I should probably go read this!)
three years ago: Education for a different version of success
four years ago: What do we mean when we say we’re a secular magazine?
Holiday reading is the best reading! We read Aru Shah and the End of Time together — it’s basically Percy Jackson with Indian mythology (and the heroine is a girl), but that’s not really a surprise since this is one of the first books in Rick Riordan’s new imprint. Maybe critically it would have been nice if it had diverged a little from the Percy Jackson narrative line, but hey, it’s the hero’s journey, right? That’s the story. And it was fun and full of Indian mythology, and I giggled every time someone got huffy about the Pandava brothers being the Pandava sisters in this incarnation, so I’ve got no complaints. It's out in March, so I'll plan to review it properly closer to the release date.
We also enjoyed Winterhouse, another middle grades book with a familiar feeling — it will remind you a bit of books like The Mysterious Benedict Society. Orphan Elizabeth Somers is summoned to Christmas at the resort Winterhouse, which she dreads until she arrives and discovers the friendly staff, delicious food, and (best of all) massive library. Elizabeth makes her first friend — Freddy, who loves word games as much as she does — and discovers a hidden book in the library that points to a dark Winterhouse mystery. We liked it but didn’t love it.
Also read: A Darker Shade of Magic, which I have had forever on my Kindle and which I am now kicking myself for not reading sooner because it’s surprisingly compelling. Kell is a kind of magician who has the power to move between worlds: Red London (his world, where magic is real), Gray London (our world, where George III is king of England), and White London (a creepy place ruled by creepy people). There also used to be Black London, which now exists as a cautionary tale about the trouble that can happen when people introduce magic into worlds that don’t have it. I don’t always love fantasy, but this book had likable characters, great world-building, lots of action, and enough surprises to keep me reading.
I have been wrapping up the winter issue and trying to get ahead on a couple of other projects, plus planning out the spring semester classes I’m teaching, so I am not sure this has been the totally chill, relaxing break I would have liked it to be. It has been lovely being home all day again, though, and I am not going to ever complain about getting to wear pajamas for 24 hours straight, so I am going to say it’s been a great holiday. I hope yours has, too!