baby knitting

Stuff We Like :: 8.18.17

home|school|life’s Friday roundup of the best homeschool links, reads, tools, and other fun stuff has lots of ideas and resources. 

There has been a lot NOT to like this week. Can we please just all agree, for the sake of sanity, that Nazis are doubleplusungood?


around the web

As your doctor, I am protesting the removal of your tumor because I don't want to erase your medical history

Short but helpful: What do you do when you realize your favorite childhood book is actually racist? (Spoiler: You read it, and you talk about it.)

In difficult times, we turn to the real purpose of the internet: cute animal pictures

More reasons James Baldwin will always be cooler than I am (and I am totally OK with that)

If you’re loving the excitement the eclipse has generated in your homeschool, keep up with other big astronomy events all year with this handy calendar.

I love this: reading aloud with others is more important than you think


at home/school/life

on the blog: Someone asked for an eclipse reading list, which made me realize there are a lot of great books about eclipses.

on instagram: It’s planning season!

one year ago: We should all know more about Nellie Bly

two years ago: Rebecca reviews Thames and Kosmos science kits


reading list

It’s another not-so-stellar week of Library Chicken over here as I obsess over planning and re-planning my outside classes, but I always manage to squeeze in a little reading time: No Time Like the Past (+1, actually managed to get this in, read it, and return it on time, which I think deserves a cake and/or parade); The Dire King (+0, advance copy, but it’s the new Jackaby book so I can’t wait to write about it!); The Jumbies (+1, thanks to Suzanne’s fall column for the recommendation); It’s Perfectly Normal (+0, off the shelf, just rereading before I read through it with my almost-10-year-old); Salad Samurai (+0, off my shelf, because I am looking for some lunchbox inspiration); Thorn (+1, I loved this fairy tale reimagining)


at home

I finished my baby knitting projects and cast on for my first pair of socks. Because apparently I don’t have enough to do. Which is also apparently why I’m applying to graduate history programs. What is wrong with me? :)

I have been too busy, but as soon as I have a minute, I have the second season of Mr. Robot all queued up. I’m not sure if I really like this show or just find it interestingly weird, but I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Stuff We Like :: 8.4.17

home|school|life’s Friday roundup of the best homeschool links, reads, tools, and other fun stuff has lots of ideas and resources. 

This is the time of year when I feel a little sorry for all the kids in our neighborhood going back to school but also I can’t wait to have the library to ourselves again!


around the web

I am obsessed with my disposable fountain pens, but Jas swears by the humble stick pen.

It’s like The Toast knew just what I needed.

Relevant to our interests: Hayao Miyazaki’s favorite children’s books


at home/school/life

on the blog: We published a review of a science curriculum that wasn’t actually secular, and we’re sorry

in the magazine: The good news: We’ve finally got a print edition! The bad news: It’s pretty pricey. (Maybe someone will buy it for you for the holidays if you start dropping hints, though?)

one year ago: Our favorite school supplies

two years ago: What to read next if you loved The Phantom Tollbooth

three years ago: Mindful Homeschool: Find Peace in Your Home


reading list 

This week in Library Chicken: A Circle of Quiet (+1, lovely whenever I need to feel that the world is a better place and I can be a better person in it); Labyrinths (+0, because it was on sale for the Kindle, and you can’t buy Borges and not read him immediately); The Hazel Wood (+0, advanced copy, and it was so weird because I don’t think it was a good book but it was so creepy that I couldn’t fall asleep until I finished it so maybe it actually was good? I will have to think further on this.); Dust Tracks on a Road (+1, and if you are a Zora Neale Hurston fan, you should definitely read this, and if you are not a Zora Neale Hurston fan, you may become one if you read this); Talking at the Gates: A Life of James Baldwin (+1, work-related); Howl and Other Poems (+1, work-related); People of the Book (+1, didn’t love it but it was still pretty good, and I was happy to cross it off my TBR list finally); The Library at Night (+1)


at home

We’ve been doing our homeschool planning meetings this week, and I think we’re all set to tackle 4th grade and 10th grade. I am especially excited about our NOT WHITE MEN world history year, which both my kids will be tackling in different ways. Putting together a plan for this was a little challenging, but I am so happy with what we came up with for both tracks. (If everything works as planned, maybe I’ll publish them here next summer.)

I finally got around to watching Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, and while it is nothing like either of the Dirk Gently books, it is silly and fun and interesting. And it entertained me while I finished the knitting parts of my Tiny Tea Leaves and matching headband, so onto the Tiny Shoes!

Stuff We Like :: 7.21.17

home|school|life’s Friday roundup of the best homeschool links, reads, tools, and other fun stuff has lots of ideas and resources. 

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.

Ooh, more Agatha Christie adaptations! (I have always thought Ordeal by Innocence would make a great series.)

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.”


at home/school/life

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


reading list

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)


at home

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.

Stuff We Like :: 8.12.16

home|school|life's Friday roundup of the best homeschool links, reads, tools, and other fun stuff has lots of ideas and resources.

around the web

Elephant and Piggie in Hamilton. Yes, please.

Being a regular reader may help you live up to two years longer. (So you’ve got plenty of time to binge-watch more television. :))

If you have ever gotten a letter from a Nigerian prince looking to make you a millionaire, you will appreciate this piece on letter-writing scams of the Victorian era.

It is really hard to see a crossword puzzle and NOT try to solve it, right?

Oh my gosh, I loved this group of children’s authors musings on whether fictional children should ever actually grow up. (I think I’m in the “no” camp, but I do like little flash-peeks into the future.)


at home | school | life

on the blog: How do you keep records for your homeschool? Shelli shares her method.

in the classroom: It’s a flash sale! You can save 10% if you register for your class today.

on instagram: A peek inside our weekly done list. 

on the podcast: Have you listened to the home/school/life podcast? We’d love it if you’d leave a review/rating on iTunes or share it with your friends.

from the archives: What to read after you finish all of Harry Potter?


reading list

on my night table:

I’m reading All the Birds in the Sky for the podcast, and I really, really like it, but I’m afraid to finish it because so many good books fall apart at the end.

I recently discovered Isabel Colegate, and I regret all the years of my reading life when I didn’t know she existed. I adored The Blackmailer (which has an Iris Murdoch-ish vibe and which is kind of darkly funny comedy of manners) and have moved on to The Shooting Party.

on my 14-year-old’s night table:

Goth Girl and the Fete Worse Than Death

The Golden Compass (I have been leaving this series ostentatiously out for her for years, so I am thrilled she picked it up!)

Storybook Toys

on my 8-year-old’s night table:

Sideways Stories from Wayside School (He liked the math problems in Sideways Arithmetic so much he wanted to read this book.)


My daughter and I are reading The Letters of John and Abigail Adams together — the first of her official high school lit projects.

Magic or Not?, a lesser-known but still delightful Edward Eager book, is our current morning readaloud.


at home

My lovely sister-in-law is visiting from California this week, and we’ve had so much fun hanging out with Auntie Rach.

watching: Ugly Betty is streaming on Hulu now, so I am re-watching the series from start to finish. I’d forgotten how much I love Betty! I’m also obsessed with Inspector Lewis.

eating: I keep talking about tomato toast, but I can’t help it—I’m obsessed. 

knitting: I’m still in the middle of my baby knitting frenzy. On the needles: This freakishly cute little bear sweater.

listening: To John Malkovich reading me Breakfast of Champions. Talk about embarrassments of riches.

Stuff We Like :: 8.5.16

home|school|life's Friday roundup of the best homeschool links, reads, tools, and other fun stuff has lots of ideas and resources.

around the web

Let’s take a moment to appreciate Roald Dahl’s contributions to the world of food.

Finally, a fashion “get the look” I can get behind.

I wouldn’t say that I’ve been running around gloating about passing The Strand’s new hire book test, but some of the people I live with might. (You should take it, too!)

Maybe it is all the Hamilton, but this article about the secret language of colonial handwriting was fascinating.

 And speaking of history, this was kind of depressing.

This article about the Olympics Refugee Team made me want to cry, hug my children, and cheer these guys on. (I would love to see them earn a medal.)


at home | school | life

on the website: So I always want to share good book deals when I see them, but I also stress about cluttering up people’s feeds with stuff they don’t want to see. I finally bit the bullet and set up a page on the website where we can highlight notable books on sale. (Don’t worry — this isn’t one of those crazy every-book-that’s-cheap lists — we’re only listing books we genuinely recommend for your reading list. And if you’re not interested in book sales, you never have to see it!) 

on the blog: Sometimes you just want to look at pretty school supplies and imagine how they could make your homeschool so shiny and organized.

in the classroom: Registration for fall classes is open!

on the podcast: I brag a little about getting my AP U.S. History syllabus approved this week, but it was all very exciting.

in the magazine: We’re starting the (months-long!) process of collecting data to update our Best Cities for Homeschool Families, and we’d love to hear from other homeschoolers about their favorite places to homeschool.


reading list

on my night table: All the Birds in the Sky (our next podcast read pick), The Memoirs of Aaron Burr (resistance was futile), Don’t Tell the Grown-Ups: The Subversive Power of Children’s Literature, The House of the Seven Gables

on my 14-year-old’s night table: A Separate Peace (I encouraged her to pick this one up, but she’s really not digging it), The House on Mango Street, The Princess Bride

on my 8-year-old’s night table: Sideways Arithmetic from Wayside School, The Complete Brambly Hedge

together: The Blood of Olympus (we have successfully binged this whole series over the summer), The BFG


at home

watching: Like everyone else in the world, we binged Stranger Things. #bringbackbarb

eating: I made a giant batch of blueberry jam to give as favors at my sis-in-law’s baby shower.

knitting: My daughter and I have teamed up on a project: I’m knitting the Snug as a Bug sleep sack, and she’s making a matching pea shoot hat to make a sweet pea baby sleep set.

listening: Invisibilia

Stuff We Like :: 7.8.16

home|school|life's Friday roundup of the best homeschool links, reads, tools, and other fun stuff has lots of ideas and resources.

The summer issue is out! And we’re pretty much happy dancing right to the pool for the rest of the summer.

around the web

Obviously, I’m totally a Mary Anne.

I cried reading this story about a Jewish family’s tea can treasure.

If you are having a rough day, I suggest you go and read about these underwear-stealing Scottish birds.

I thought this history of voracious reading was fascinating.

Elie Wiesel on All Things Considered. 


at home | school | life

in the magazine: Did we mention the summer issue is out?

in the classroom: The fall schedule is making me wish I were still in high school.

on the podcast: Suzanne and I are talking about how homeschool moms don’t get sick days.

on the blog: To go with our summer camping feature, a roundup of our favorite campfire readalouds.

on instagram: So, yeah, my whole life pretty much did revolve around the summer issue this week. 


reading list

on my night table: Baby Beanies: Happy Hats to Knit for Little Heads, Burr, A Super Upsetting Cookbook About Sandwiches, The Last Painting of Sara de Vos: A Novel

on my 14-year-old’s night table: Yotsuba&!, The Raven Boys, Fifty Dresses That Changed the World, One-Yard Wonders

on my 6-year-old’s night table: Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective

together: The Westing Game (because talking to Suzanne reminded me how much I love it), The Mark of Athena


at home

watching: Children playing in the pool

knitting: Sleeping Cedars, Baby Uggs (these are going to be my go-to bootie henceforth, and the pattern’s free!), and Elijah

playing: Badminton, badly

eating: Pork and pineapple tacos

listening: To the cicadas all night long

Stuff We Like :: 6.24.16

home|school|life's Friday roundup of the best homeschool links, reads, tools, and other fun stuff has lots of ideas and resources.

around the web

Knitting is so cool. Like, James Bond cool.

I think a homeschooler should live in Harriet the Spy’s house. And invite me over for dinner. And let me ride in the dumbwaiter. (Because of course there’s a dumbwaiter!)

This was awesome: An open letter to the female hat-wearing dog from Go, Dog, Go

Relevant to our podcast reading of Tooth and Claw (which is basically Trollope + dragons, and you should read it with us if that's your cup of tea, too): The Novels of Anthony Trollope Reviewed

It’s possible that I’m only posting this quiz because my literary mental twin was Hermione Granger, which I have ALWAYS SUSPECTED.


at home | school | life

in the classroom: We’re working on the fall class lineup, so let us know if there’s a class you’re looking for!

on the blog: I’m thinking of stealing Molly’s summer to-do list.

on the podcast: We’re on iTunes!

in summer reading: I love that the Studio Ghibli adaptation is making more people read When Marnie Was There because I really adore this book.

in the archives: Summer seems like the perfect time to take Amy Hood’s advice and start a family sketchbook habit.


reading list

on my night table: Tooth and Claw and Burr (for the podcast), From Puritanism to Postmodernism: A History of American Literature, Studio Ghibli: The Films of Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata, A People’s History of the United States, Henrietta’s House, A Spring Affair (technically, this one’s spending most of its time in the pool bag)

on my 14-year-old’s night table: My Antonia, Zakka Sewing: 25 Japanese Projects for the Household, A Geek in Japan: Discovering the Land of Manga, Anime, Zen, and the Tea Ceremony, Cool Japan Guide: Fun in the Land of Manga, Lucky Cats and Ramen

on my 8-year-old’s night table: Dust. 

together: The Son of Neptune, Poetry for Young People: Robert Frost, The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, Through the Looking Glass(We seem to be doing more readalouds because they’re so portable for school at the pool.)


at home

watching: The last season of Scandal, even though I’m so annoyed with every single character and the writing in general at this point that I spend most of my time complaining at Jason about everything that happens

knitting: Casting on for Sleeping Cedars (I talked about my knitting for babies obsession—and shared my Ravelry info, even though it's embarrassing that I never remember to take photos, on this week's podcast. )

)playing: Nancy Drew: Secret of the Old Clock

drinking: Frosé (It’s fun to say AND fun to drink!)

listening: Moonrise Nation’s cover of Disclosure's "Latch"

Stuff We Like :: 5.20.16

home|school|life's Friday roundup of the best homeschool links, reads, tools, and other fun stuff has lots of ideas and resources.

Do you take a summer break? We don’t, but it’s nice that so many of our regular activities do. I’m definitely enjoying that holiday feeling as our classes and groups wind down for the summer.


around the web

Apparently my spirit vegetable is a bolero carrot. What’s yours?

I love this: a case study in how to recognize archaeology pseudonews, or that kid didn’t really discover a lost Maya city.

Like all the other over-educated-in-the-liberal-arts girls, I am sad to bid farewell to the Toast.

I guess this essay means that I’m officially sold on that Asian philosophy class Shelly wants to offer this fall.

Not in my usual wheelhouse, but I’ve been reading about the Magdalene Laundries (did you realize the last one only closed 20 years ago?), and this piece got me a little choked up.


at home | school | life

on the blog: We’re so excited to welcome our new blogger Cate—and I bet you will be, too, after you read her first post.

in the classroom: What online classes would you like to see this fall?

on instagram: At least they’re playing their video games in the sunshine!

in the magazine: Stories are starting to roll in for the summer issue, and it’s looking like another great issue. (I’m loving our homeschool summer boot camp article, designed to help prepare us to teach tough classes this fall.)

in the archives: I’m stealing this high school organization method for next year.


reading list

on my night table: To Say Nothing of the Dog (an old favorite revisited), The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu: And Their Race to Save the World’s Most Precious Manuscripts (how could anyone resist this title?), Outdoor Math: Fun Activities for Every Season

on my 14-year-old’s night table: Raymie Nightingale, Meet the Austins, Danganronpa Volume 1

on my 8-year-old’s night table: Yo-kai Watch, Vol. 1, The Story of Diva and Flea

together: Gone-Away Lake


at home

watching: The Duchess of Duke Street with Jason and Just Add Magic with the kids

knitting:  Goldwing (it’s so pretty!) and the sweetest little Wee Envelope for a baby I can’t wait to meet

planning: Our not-at-all-busy summer schedule, which looks like it’s going to involve lots of pool time, crochet lessons, and library runs

eating: horchata semifreddo

listening: Wild Belle's Dreamland

Stuff We Like :: 2.26.16

home|school|life's Friday roundup of the best homeschool links, reads, tools, and other fun stuff has lots of ideas and resources.

around the web

This essay perfectly sums up what I love (and will miss) about Umberto Eco’s work: He was always the smartest person in the room but in the most inclusive way imaginable.

I think you know already that I will read pretty much anything about how and why words end up in dictionaries.

Delightful: The real history of the imaginary cocktail of the Galaxy


at home/school/life

in the magazine: I am currently viewing my way through so many Shakespeare movie adaptations that I might start speaking in iambic pentameter. (The best ones will end up in the spring issue.)

on the blog:How to find quiet amid the noise of homeschool life.

on pinterest: This tiny acorn tea set is adorable.


reading list

Have you ever noticed that if you reread one Diana Wynne Jones book, you want to go back and reread them all? I’m on Fire and Hemlock.

After our Top Chef: Masters marathon, I am reading my way through Rick Bayless’s Authentic Mexican cookbook, and I want to cook everything in it. (It’s almost more like an academic study of Mexican cooking than a traditional ooh-pretty-pictures cookbook, but I kind of like that about it.)

I have a shiny new copy of A Doubter’s Almanac that I can’t wait to start reading. (I guess that’s one of the benefits of making reading for pleasure more of a priority—lots of new books!)


at home

I took a break from my Zick Zack scarf (it’s a little over three feet long now, so it’s getting there!) to knit this adorable baby headband with a bird on it for a first birthday present. (It's a high-reward, low-effort baby present, if you find yourself needing one!)

Jas and I watched The Worricker Trilogy on a whim, and it was fantastic. (I love how watching British television is all random star spotting: Rachel Weisz! Ralph Fiennes! Helena Bonham Carter!)

Have I mentioned how much time we’ve been spending playing Yoshi’s Wooly World? Because it’s kind of become a family obsession.

Stuff We Like : Late Winter Edition

home|school|life’s Friday roundup of the best homeschool links, reads, tools, and other fun stuff has lots of ideas and resources.

The red-winged blackbirds are back — which means spring is coming, even though our back deck was dusted with snow a couple of days ago. This winter has been cold but not snowy, so we’ve spent a lot of time inside around the fire this year. That means lots of books and artsy-crafts projects in our house.

:: We have a lovely stack of biographies to read for Women’s History Month. (Did you see all the great recommendations we had in the winter issue? I think the Marie Curie biography is one of the best-written biographies I’ve read in a long time, but my daughter is loving Invincible Louisa, which didn’t even end up on our final list for the magazine.)

:: Everybody seems to be having babies this year, and I’ve made Milo and the Puerperium Cardigan (free) so many times I can knit them even when I get caught up in the Buffy musical (which may be the greatest single episode of television ever, no?).

:: My daughter is very into making felt portraits of her favorite anime characters right now, so we have been on the hunt for quality felt. We’re digging the plant-dyed colors from A Child’s Dream, which are richer and more subtle than some of the crayon brights we’ve discovered. Bonus: The pink is apparently just the right shade for Madoka’s hair.

:: Cold weather apparently makes me want comfort books because I have been rereading some of the cheerfully old-fashioned domestic books I loved in my younger days: The Blue Castle (don’t you really want a movie version of this in which Nathan Fillion plays Barney?), A Woman Named Smith,The Grand Sophy,The Rose Revived

:: Winter is my favorite time to make complicated, lots-of-prep-work-required recipes, and Nigella’s Mughlai Chicken is one of our favorites — creamy and not-too-spicy served over mounds of basmati rice with spinach on the side.

:: This is also our season of board game playing. Wildcraft remains our family favorite — we always cheer when we draw the chickweed card because that is one handy plant — but we have also enjoyed Quixx (a dice game that’s like a cooler, more strategic Yahtzee), Quilt Show, Tokaido (which nicely taps into the kids’ passion for all things Japanese), and the Laser Maze logic game.

:: We have had a lot of fun with the How to Make a Coat of Arms tutorial at the The Postman’s Knock. I think we now have coats of arms for ourselves, the Grimm sisters, Ciel Phantomhive, Pigeon (of Mo Willems fame), and the Baudelaire and Snicket families hanging up in our art room.

What's your family enjoying this March?