Stuff We Like :: 9.9.16

You know what I like? Starting a new homeschool year. (If you listened to the not-back-to-school episode of the podcast, you know that my main goal for a new homeschool year is keeping “Absolutely no spitting. Ever” on the school rules list, and that happened, so I already feel like the 2016-17 homeschool year is a success.)


around the web

I have been rocking some very retro wavy hair lately (I may be a little obsessed with my Beachwaver, which may be the most superficial thing I have ever admitted in a public forum—please don’t think less of me!), so this roundup of 90s TV fashion icons hit a little close to home for me. (Even though we all know that Cher Horowitz is really number one.)

One-upper parents in action, courtesy of my awesome friend Tama. I laughed so hard. (I think my favorite may be the mom who collects and bottles “the tears of pure non-vaccinated non-mainstream vegans who can’t spell the word ‘sugar.’”)

While I’m in not-back-to-school mode, here’s a roundup of great teachers in literature. (I’m so glad Professor Lupin’s on the list because I feel like he gets kind of shafted in the books once Sirius turns up.)

Just putting this out there: Study Shows People With High IQs Are Actually Happier With Less Social Interaction

Fascinating: Our brains may actually be wired to be bilingual.


at home | school | life

on the blog: Back-to-school season means great back-to-school posts, like this one from Shelli and  this one from Carrie. I love the reminder that the right way to homeschool is the way that works for your family!

in the magazine: Looking at pretty editions of books for our holiday gift guide is hard work, but somebody’s got to do it!

on the podcast: Suzanne and I are talking about E. Nesbit fan fiction, among other things.

one year ago: I broke both my ankles taking out the trash.

two year ago: Shelli started our Mindful Homeschool series with this lovely post on letting go of things that don’t matter


reading list

on my night table: Blackout (I picked it up when it was on sale, so of course had to reread it immediately); Rise to Rebellion (which is on our U.S. history reading list); The Book of Disquiet (which I bought many years ago and am just getting around to actually reading); UnSelfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in Our All-About-Me World

on my 14-year-old’s night table: The Borrowers, Lumberjanes, Vol. 1: Beware the Kitten Holy; The Sea of Trolls

on my 9(!)-year-old’s night table: Chi’s Sweet Home


at home

homeschooling: Even though we school year-round, I have a big soft spot for the first official day of school and a whole routine that we do every year to celebrate. I am still sort of in shock that I have a child in high school.

eating: The sticky toffee pancakes are our favorite thing to have for tea right now.

playing: Ticket to Ride

watching: Galavant, and it’s DELIGHTFUL

Q&A: Dealing with Competitive Homeschool Parents

Great tips for dealing (politely) with homeschool moms who get competitive about how their kids are doing. #homeschool

One of the moms at our regular park day wants to turn every learning-related conversation into a competition where her kids are smarter and better than everyone else. How can I politely shut her down?  

If you started homeschooling to get away from competitive education, you may be out of luck. For every chill, laidback homeschooler who’s never looked at her child’s test scores, there’s a homeschooling mom who watches her — and your — child’s academic progress like a hawk. Your son loves Harry Potter? Her daughter just finished War and Peace. Your daughter is finishing up her math workbook? Her son found that particular curriculum way too easy. Your son loves his new art class? Her son is repainting the Sistine Chapel. Whatever you’re talking about, the conversation always seems to veer to how smart/talented/superior her child is.

Before you get grumpy, consider the fact that this mom may be facing criticism from her family or insecurity about her own abilities to be a successful homeschool parent. She may be aggressive because she feels like she has to convince other people that her child is doing well. While that knowledge won’t make her behavior any less irritating, it can help you deal with it politely, says Maralee McKee, an Orlando homeschool mom and author of the book Manners That Matter for Moms. For starters, resist getting drawn into specifics: The more details you give, the more ammunition she has for comparison. Be vague: “Oh, we’re always reading, but I don’t know what’s on the list off the top of my head,” or “We’re doing pretty well in math right now, but I’m afraid if I talk about it too much, I’ll jinx it.”

If she keeps pushing, it’s perfectly acceptable to let her know you’re not interested in the conversation: “All we’ve done is talk about school stuff! I’d love to know more about that farmers market you were talking to Susan about” or “Jordan’s reading list is under control, but I’m looking for something to read myself. Have you read any good books lately?” And if your polite diversions don’t have any effect, you’re well within your mannerly rights to excuse yourself and relocate your blanket to another part of the playground.


Originally published in the summer 2014 issue of home/school/life magazine. Subscribe to get great homeschool content every season. Do you have a question about homeschooling? Email us, and we’ll try to help you find an answer. Questions may be published in future issues of home/school/life.