The hero’s journey is so prevalent in film and books that it makes a great jumping off point for a comparative literature study, and these texts are a great place to begin.
Around the Web
Guys, I’m having a difficult relationship with the internet right now. It’s important to me to stay connected and engaged with what’s happening—but it’s also important for me to stay upright and to hang out with my kids on occasion, instead of crawling under the bedcovers for the next four years or so, which is what I feel like doing every time I fire up Facebook or Twitter. Even my favorite non-political pop culture sites have almost daily WHAT THE @%*& IS HAPPENING posts, which I appreciate because we’re all in this together, but which makes it difficult to surf on those days when I just can’t handle another newsflash. So the web pickings are a bit slim this week, but I’m hoping that if we all share strategies and support each other, we can figure out how to stay engaged AND stay sane. Comment if you have suggestions!
Here’s a great list of children’s and young adult books on refugees and what the refugee experience is like. I’ll be adding some of these to our bookshelf. (We also have a big list of immigration books, which includes books about the refugee experience, in the winter issue.)
If you’re in the middle of a comfort re-read of Harry Potter (and isn’t it always a good time for a comfort re-read of Harry Potter?), be sure to check out Sarah Gailey’s Women of Harry Potter series which is WONDERFUL and inspirational and may possibly make you cry a little bit (looking at you, Molly Weasley) but in a good way, I promise.
Thanks to the Boy Scouts of America for giving us some good news to celebrate this week!
on the blog: Obviously you're going to want to add all of Suzanne's Hamilton fan reading recommendations to your library list. Because you never know when you might get stuck in a library with Lin-Manuel Miranda.
one year ago: We kicked off Black History month with a great high school unit study on the Harlem Renaissance.
two years ago: Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda: Better Homeschooling After the Fact
three years ago: Quick ways to cut the stress on hard homeschool days
I’m currently teaching a Hamilton History class (aka U.S. History 1765 - 1800), so I’m brushing up on my Revolutionary reading. I’m only a short way into Janice Hadlow’s A Royal Experiment: The Private Life of King George III, but it’s fascinating so far.
In honor of the new Shirley Jackson biography ( Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life by Ruth Franklin), I’m reading/re-reading my way through Jackson’s works. My favorite “discoveries” so far: the recently published collection Let Me Tell You: New Stories, Essays, and Other Writings, and her novel The Sundial, which I’m totally adding to my Apocalypse Lit curriculum.
I’ve mentioned before that I’m a big fan of Lyndsay Faye’s Jane Steele (a Jane Eyre homage), and now I’ve moved on to her Timothy Wilde series, set in 1845 New York City—the first book, The Gods of Gotham, was excellent!—and have just begun her Sherlock Holmes vs. Jack the Ripper novel, Dust and Shadow.
I know I talk about The Good Place every time, but the season finale was AWESOME and I’m now rewatching all the episodes on Hulu and you should watch them too because if it isn’t renewed for a second season it will be a small tragedy.
Big weekend coming up: Daughter #2 turns 14, Husband #1 turns 48, and the Falcons are in the Superbowl! I predict a lot of chips and dip and birthday cake in my immediate future.
So, my Christmas tree is still up. Is that bad? Between “I just don’t have the energy for this” and “the twinkly lights are so soothing and friendly” we haven’t managed to dismantle it. (Family of asthmatics = artificial tree, so at least it isn’t a fire hazard.) I’m sure we’ll have it down by Valentine’s Day. Probably. Maybe.
Suzanne's back with lots of geeky goodness in this week's edition of Stuff We Like.
Around the Web
JANE MY LITTLE SUNBEAM WHERE ARE YOU I NEED YOU BY MY SIDE: I know Amy already talked about how we’re going into mourning as The Toast closes its doors (fortunately, the archives will remain, so that we can catch up on Ayn Rand’s Harry Potter among other things), but I thought I’d take this opportunity to make sure that we’ve all got our copies of Texts From Jane Eyre by Toast co-founder Mallory Ortberg—we do, right? Yes? Excellent.
And while it doesn’t make up for the loss of The Toast, Mallory’s fellow co-founder, Nicole Cliffe, can now be found at The Guardian, writing about the Romanovs and Erma Bombeck (not together, but that would be an awesome fanfic).
In happier news, FILM CRIT HULK, my very favorite all-caps superhero/film critic has made a triumphant return to essay writing after a too-long absence (though I respectfully disagree with his take on Captain America: Civil War).
READER, I &*^%$ING MARRIED HIM: When Storytime Blows Kids’ Minds: The Power of the Plot Twist
at home | school | life
on the website: Amy and I recorded the first episode of The Podcast with Suzanne and Amy this week. Look for it next week!
on the blog: Apparently Amy’s obsessing over planning high school pretty much everywhere. (It’s going to be fine!)
on instagram: A little first-day-of-homeschooling nostalgia
in the classroom: There’s still time to sign up for my Hamilton class (and other great summer classes, too)!
Obnoxious and Disliked: Although I adore Hamilton and have new love and appreciation for the man himself, my very favorite founding father is still John Adams, so I’m thoroughly enjoying David McCullough’s John Adams (yeah, I’m just now getting around to reading it — I’ve been busy!)
Just got The Mind Readers, the last Campion mystery written by his creator, Margery Allingham (though the series continues with books written by her husband); Allingham created Campion as a spoof of his contemporary, Lord Peter Wimsey, and he indeed comes off as Wimsey crossed with Bertie Wooster at the beginning, though by now I’ve followed him through several decades and he’s his own man, surrounded by an entertaining group of family members, old friends, and various detective inspectors, some of whom at least I’m hoping will show up in this final book
My current fantasy pick is A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab, sequel to the original and entertaining A Darker Shade of Magic, about a magician who can travel across worlds from Red London (his home) to Grey London (our London, during the Regency period) and White London (where evil magic runs rampant)
I’m reading Jane Eyre with the 13-year-old, which gives me another excuse to link to The Toast, with The Best Part of Jane Eyre Is Guessing What the French Is (for the record, as an non-speaker of that language, my read-aloud approach has been “...and then Adele speaks in French for a bit.”)
Lots of video games in my house for summer break: Right now the 18-year-old and the 11-year-old (not to mention the 47-year-old) are obsessively playing Uncharted 4, which is convenient for me, the non-gamer, as Uncharted is my favorite video game to watch and I can’t wait to see what happens to explorer/thief/treasure-hunter Nathan Drake (who should totally be played by Nathan Fillion in the live action adaptation) in this, the final chapter of the series
Haven’t had a chance to play it yet, but the family is also looking forward to some tabletop gaming with Ghostbusters: The Board Game, a cooperative game (my favorite kind!) with some of the cutest pieces I’ve ever seen, including a very large (comparatively) Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man
And I know it’s a week away, but don’t forget to set your DVRs for the 2016 Tony Awards on June 12th, where we’re sure to get at least one freestyle-rap acceptance speech from Hamilton-creator Lin-Manuel Miranda!
We will be making matzo balls all afternoon so that we have matzo ball soup all weekend long. I hope your weekend plans are equally delicious! (A little housekeeping note: Apparently, not everybody's RSS feed is working since we updated the site, so you may have to resubscribe to keep getting updates. I'm sorry about that!)
around the web
More reasons to make time for art in your homeschool: What children’s drawings can teach us about history
I am late to the party, but if you haven’t seen Lin-Manuel Miranda and Emma Watson sort the cast of Hamilton into their proper Hogwarts houses, you should.
Obviously this ranking of every meal in Jane Eyre in order of severity is the perfect accompaniment to our Charlotte Bronte reading list in the spring issue
You don’t have to read everything by an author—and maybe sometimes you shouldn’t
at home | school | life
on the blog: Have you been following the updates on our online classes? I want to take them all!
in the archives: These planning tips are definitely inspiring me as I freak out about homeschooling high school. (We start 9th grade this fall!)
on instagram: Love this quote!
With high school planning at the top of my to-do list, I unearthed my old copy of An Incomplete Education, which I used as the basis for a year-long independent study for myself in 10th grade. Reading it again, I’m kind of amazed by how much it shaped my post-high school intellectual pursuits.
What is up with Malorie Blackman’s books not getting U.S. releases? I had to order my copy of Chasing the Stars from Book Depository, but for a gender-swapped version of Othello set in space and written by the author of the Naughts and Crosses series, I will wait. Impatiently.
So I finally read Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates’s letter to his son about, essentially, the experience of being a black man in the United States today. It is as good as everyone says it is. It is also uncomfortable—uncomfortable to read, uncomfortable to talk about, uncomfortable to write about. (I’ve been adding it to and taking it off this list for weeks now.) I think you should probably read it, too.
We’re having a pretty chill Passover this year, but I’m pretty excited to make these matzo fritters.
Time for the annual spring kitchen dishcloth update! I use this Mason Dixon pattern and whatever random leftover cotton yarn I have lying around.
We made a batch of these candied citrus rinds to use up some leftover grapefruit, and now I just want MORE MORE MORE.