louisa may alcott

Book Nerd: Library Chicken Weekly Scoreboard (9.12.17)

Book Nerd: Library Chicken Weekly Scoreboard (9.12.17)

Lots of Transcendentalists, why does no one talk about how terrible Bronson Alcott is, Suzanne finally reads some Faulker, and more Library Chicken.

Stuff We Like :: 8.7.15

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

One of my friends was teasing me that my weekly stuff posts make it seem like I have my homeschool life act totally together. So just for the sake of transparency: I haven’t been completely caught up on laundry since one glorious week in 2011 and I do not include things like “ordered cheap Mexican because I was too lazy to cook dinner” on my lists because they are such routine occurrences that they don’t bear mentioning. In other words, I totally have my homeschool life act together — for about 11 whole minutes of every day.

around the web

This warmed my heart: What happens when you give a tree an email address?

This blog rounds up every line spoken by a person of color in hit movies. Wow.

Is our obsession with photographing every minute of our children’s lives shaping the way they’ll remember their childhoods — and not necessarily for the better?

 

at home/school/life

on the blog: Did you enter our Oak Meadow curriculum giveaway yet?

on pinterest: I am in love with this cozy, creative corner.

from the archives: Easy ways to turn around a not-so-great homeschool day.

 

reading list

Is anybody else dying to get her hands on the adult-novel sequel to Five Children and It, set during World War II?

I have been listening to this Oxford lecture series on the works of George Eliot, so of course I had to crack open Middlemarch again. (It's even better reading on the other side of thirty.)

It’s that time again: I’m doing my annual end-of-summer reread of Little Women. (And I’m totally okay now that Jo doesn’t end up with Laurie. But even Gabriel Byrne is not going to reconcile me to Professor Bhaer.)

 

in the kitchen

In my effort to squeeze every bit of flavor from tomato season, I made a batch of tomato jam. Verdict: Yum. (Think of it as a very posh ketchup.)

Shawne inspired me to try making onigiri at home, and these little stuffed rice balls have become a favorite afternoon snack. The recipe makes them sound complicated, but they are actually really easy. (Sometimes I stuff mine with smoked salmon and avocado, and they are delicious.)

If there are blueberries, I’m making blueberry boy bait. And there are blueberries.

 

at home

My daughter and I had our annual homeschool planning retreat — at the pool, this year. I just reported my July homeschool budget, but August spending is well underway.

Jason and I are trying to find a new television show to obsess over, but in the meantime, we’re digging the Harriet Vane Collection on DVD.

We’re totally obsessed with Quirkle, which is kind of like dominoes but with more sophisticated strategizing required. We’re always pulling it out and saying “just one quick game.”


What We Read: July Edition

Homeschool readalouds and independent reading

Summer reading is in full swing over here, which means I have a deliciously gluttonous stack of books to report on. Here's what we're reading by the pool, while we're stirring pots of tomato sauce to can, on the hammock, on the deck, in the car, and pretty much everywhere else.

On Our Own

The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester ::  I am a little obsessed with the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary. (So much so that I have been known to joke that if we ever have another son, we will have to name him Oedipus so that we can call him OED.) So I relished this book about a little-known piece of its history, a man who contributed more than 10,000 definitions to the dictionary's creation and who also happened to be living in an asylum for the criminally insane.

Little, Big by John Crowley ::  Not everybody likes rereading books, but I do—as a kid, I would often flip from the last page of a book I loved right back to the front page so that I could start the whole thing over immediately. I think there's something sort of illuminating about going back to a literary world, and Little, Big is one of those books I can read over and over, finding something new to love every time. It's one of my perfect summer books.

Mimesis: The Representations of Reality in Western Literature by Erich Auerbach :: I read this for a pop culture in philosophy class I'm co-teaching at our homeschool group this fall. (Now watching Doctor Who and Buffy the Vampire Slayer counts as legitimate academic research!) It's an impressively comprehensive look at the history and evolution of Western literature, and each of the essays stands alone pretty well, so it's great for bits-and-pieces reading, which I do a lot of during the summer.

The Magic Treehouse: Dinosaurs Before Dark by Mary Pope Osborne :: I'm feeling super-sentimental watching my son dive into the Magic Treehouse series, just as his sister did before him.

My daughter's been on a feminist biography kick. (I'm not complaining!) I think she was inspired by Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women, which we read together last year, and which, if you haven't read it, definitely deserves a spot on your library list. (I love that in addition to giving the histories of some very cool women and girl inventors, it includes resources to get readers started with their own inventions.) She's breezed through Invincible Louisa (about Louisa May Alcott), The Daring Nelly Bly (from our spring issue!), and Rooftop Astronomer: A Story about Maria Mitchell. With biographies (and honestly with most books), I don't worry much about reading level—I just let her grab whatever appeals to her.

Together

The kids were fascinated by the mystery of the princes in the Tower, who vanished somewhere between Richard III and Henry VII's reign, so I thought The Daughter of Time, a mystery novel by Josephine Tey that tackles the topic with modern-day researching detectives, would be a hit. My 12-year-old is captivated—I don't think it had occurred to her that modern-day historians could try to solve historic mysteries.

Continuing my tradition of forcing my children to listen to readalouds of books I loved as a child, we're reading Honestly, Katie John by Mary Calhoun. Happily, this one has proven to be popular with the kids, too, and we've enjoyed reading about tomboy Katie's adventures.

We keep a running list of readaloud books, and everyone adds books to it as they strike our fancies. My daughter read Lloyd Alexander's Vesper Holly adventure series last fall, and we're finally getting around to The Illyrian Adventure for our bedtime readaloud. It's pure fun reading about 19th century American orphan Vesper, her prim-and-proper guardian Brinnie, and their adventures in an invented Adriatic nation.

So that's what we've been reading. What about you?