Stuff We Like :: 7.1.16

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


Hooray! Suzanne is back with this week’s edition of Stuff We Like, most of which I plan to borrow for my own homeschool life, stat.

Around the Web

What’s better than a summer reading list? A LIST of summer reading lists!

As a long-­time reader of science fiction and fantasy­ mostly written by white men ­ I’ve really been enjoying the new books by authors like .N.K.Jemisin, Karen Lord, and Zen Cho. And (speaking of lists) here’s a great list of authors past and present to help diversify your sf/fantasy reading: 

I’m also enjoying Black Nerd Problems, a website with commentary, news, and reviews about diversity in comics, television, movies, video games, and all things geeky. (For a sample, check out this recent article on cultural appropriation.)

One of each, please! (My birthday is in October, but don’t feel you have to wait ‘til then.)


At home | school | life

in the magazine: The summer issue is coming out any minute. That means even more summer reading lists. Time to clear out some room on your library card!

on the blog: If you can’t wait another minute to fill up your library tote, there are some great summer readaloud ideas in the July Pep Talk.

in the classroom: The fall class schedule isn’t officially out yet, so I’ll just mention that if you are looking for a U.S. History class that is pretty much based around Broadway musical numbers, you are in luck. (Hamilton and 1776, together at last!)

on instagram: A much better comeback than the classic “only boring people are bored." (Though what's so bad about being bored anyway?)


Reading List

Just finished Nimona, the much praised web comic collection about teen shapeshifter Nimona, sidekick to the evil Lord Blackheart, and am ready to pass it on to the 13­-year-­old, who has discovered (after reading Persepolis that she really likes graphic novels. (Did I mention that Lord Blackheart’s hero nemesis is Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin?)

In the category of “Arrgh! What do you MEAN the third book isn’t out yet?!?”, I’d like to encourage Robert Jackson Bennett to hurry up with the final book (following City of Stairs and City of Blades) of his Divine Cities trilogy. I’m in love with these books and this world, not to mention Bennett’s smart, strong, and in­-charge female protagonists.

Fortunately, Jane Smiley recently did finish her Last Hundred Years trilogy, a multi­-generational saga following one Iowa farming family from 1920 to 2020, so I was able to power through all three (wonderful) books, me Some Luck, Early Warning, nd Golden Age, in one (long) go.

And Amy tells me I’ve been sorely remiss in leaving it this long, but I finally got around to reading some Chuck Klosterman, specifically his I Wear the Black Hat, essays on the nature of villainy. I’m glad I’ve got more by him to look forward to!


At Home—Special Board Game Edition!

We’re heading off for our annual vacation to meet up with family and do as little as possible for a week, so it’s time to pack the boardgames! ndemic s one of my all-time-favorites, so I’m excited to try out Pandemic Legacy, hich is an “epic twist” on the game with “ever­-changing elements”! I have no idea what that means, but I’m in.

For a person who can’t read Stephen King or watch a horror movie, I’m remarkably fond of “horrific” games, so we’ll definitely play a couple of rounds of Arkham Horror and and Betrayal at House on the Hill.

These days, I mostly prefer cooperative games, but I’ll make an exception for Portal: The Uncooperative Cake Acquisition Game.

And of course, there’s always room to pack various Munchkin card sets and maybe a deck or two of Gloom.

Summer Reading: If You Liked Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Who can resist the perfect combination of words and pictures? Add a spunky hero with a few problems, and you’ve got worthy Wimpy Kid follow-ups.

Your next picture book:


In Luke on the Loose, a boy follows a flock of pigeons in an increasingly wild chase out of New York’s Central Park, through Manhattan, and all the way across the Brooklyn Bridge. 


Your next chapter book:

The Brilliant World of Tom Gates is the Diary of a Wimpy Kid gone British, with a doodling, diary-ing hero who just wants to make it through middle school alive.


Your next readaloud:

Timmy Failure would like to believe that he’s the greatest detective in the world, but he’d be wrong. Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made has delightful illustrations on every page but enough story to make reasonable for a readaloud.


Your next teen read:

By Noelle Stevenson

Nimona is a smart, sassy comic about a shape-shifting girl who teams up with a not-so-evil villain to take down a not-so-great hero. It may just turn out to be your new favorite fantasy story.


Your next grown-up book:

Sacred Heart
By Liz Suburbia

In the weird, unresolved Sacred Heart, teenager Ben is just trying to survive adolescence while her parents—and all the other adults in town—are off on a four-year pilgrimage. This coming-of-age story nails the awkward ordinariness and utter strangeness of being a teenager.

Stuff We Like :: 6.10.16

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

I think we all know what I want for Hanukkah this year: this. (Think I can convince Jason to grow a mustache for this one?) Eternal thanks to Stephanie for bringing this to my attention.

Helen Keller is so much cooler than we think she is.

Fascinating: Exploring a French cave has expanded our knowledge of Neanderthals in some really interesting ways

I am not displeased to have ended up as Lucy Honeychurch in this Which Helena Bonham Carter character are you? quiz. (You should take it, too, but use caution: You could be Bellatrix Lestrange.)

Because I would read a cereal box about the Mitford sisters.


at home | school | life

for subscribers: I uploaded a summer bingo reading card to the subscribers’ library. It ties into our summer reading series this year, so grab one if you want to play along! 

on the blog: I liked our new blogger Carrie Pomeroy already, but she totally won me over with her adolescent V.C. Andrews sneak-reading. And I love her post on supporting her kids in their book choices, whatever her personal feelings about them might be.

on the podcast: Suzanne and I are talking about how we got started as homeschoolers.

in the classroom: We’re toying with the idea of doing a one-day workshop online later this summer. Is there something in particular you’d like us to cover?

in the magazine: Coming in July: 8 questions to ask before you buy anything new for your homeschool

in the archives: It’s that time again: The Dreaded Summer Break Question


reading list

on my night table: Greensleeves (my reading pick for the HSL podcast); The Mysterious Affair at Styles (I read this in high school last, and I’d totally forgotten whodunnit); Rip Van Winkle and Other Stories (since I need to brush up on my early U.S. literature for this fall), Anglo-American Feminist Challenges to the Rhetorical Traditions: Virginia Woolf, Mary Daly, Adrienne Rich (really digging this)

on my 14-year-old’s night table: Conrad’s Fate, The Princess Diaries, Eight Cousins, Nimona

on my 8-year-old’s night table: Junie B. Jones: Shipwrecked

together: Owls in the Family, The Lost Hero (the kick-off to Rick Riordan’s Heroes of Olympus series, which the kids picked as our summer readaloud series)


at home

watching: Mercy Street with Jason, about a Civil War hospital in Alexandria that treated both Union and Confederate soldiers—it's espeically interesting from a feminist perspective since the show focuses on "ladies" who take on the fairly unladylike task of nursing (I’ve ordered the book Heroines of Mercy Street so that I can nitpick, but I am really enjoying it); Annedroids with the kids—who doesn't love a girl scientist?

knitting: Finishing up my Goldwing, which is pretty and pink (and easy to remember, which makes it great for pool knitting). I made the large version with two skeins of Hawthorne, and it's pretty close to exactly enough yarn.

playing: Super Mario Bros U

eating: haricots verts with herb butter with pretty much every meal

listening: Wild Honey (possibly the perfect pool album) around the web