Stuff We Like :: 4.14.17

You can tell that I’ve just wrapped up an issue because I’m suddenly very chatty! Pretend we're drinking wine instead of coffee.

around the web

I can’t decide whether I should be secretly proud or secretly embarrassed that I have read more than half of the most ridiculous Sweet Valley High plotlines. (That punch-spiking/drunk driving/evil twin drama, though!)

The internet has done many wonderful things, but perpetuating wrongly attributed quotes is definitely not one of them. (I do love the story about how Anne Rice accidentally attributed one of her own quotes to Kafka. I thank the internet for that.)

And since we’re talking about the internet, “what fresh hell” has become the jargon of our lives—which may actually be a coping mechanism. (This totally makes sense to me. And am I the only one who feels like she has to check the news just-really-quickly before bed just because if there is really bad news I don’t feel like I can deal with it emotionally before I have coffee? Even though I also probably really can’t deal with it right before I go to sleep. So it’s just basically touring myself.)

I mean, if you can resist the title, I don’t know if we can be friends: Toni Morrison is more Hemingway than Hemingway Himself


at home/school/life

for subscribers: A few brave souls have ventured into our new forum. You can join us by requesting your invite on the subscribers only page.

on the blog: File under not even a little a bit surprising: Wearing pajamas all day is the MOST HOMESCHOOLERY THING EVER. (The voting was really fun, though—thanks for playing!)

one year ago: Oh, I loved The Goblin’s Puzzle. Maybe I can convince my son to read it again.

two years ago: Resources for young entrepreneurs


reading list

My daughter and I are taking a brain break this week and not really doing any work, but we are having so much fun reading the first pages of books and analyzing them a la How to Read Novels Like a Professor. (If you’re not familiar with the book, it’s a fun read—he theorizes that you can tell most of what you need to know about a book from the first page, which you may or may not agree with but which is a fun way to spend a sunny front porch kind of afternoon.)

My best friend lent me a copy of Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria: And Other Conversations About Race—it’s ultimately destined for Jason’s school library, but I get to read it first. (The perks of being a volunteer librarian!) I feel like racism is one of those things that I always thought “oh, yeah, that’s bad” about without ever really digging into the reality or how culturally pervasive it is—which is ironic, kind of, because I get so annoyed when people do that with women’s issues. Now I’m reading everything I can get my hands on and trying to help my kids navigate the world in a way that’s respectful and inclusive and aware.

I have recently discovered Barbara Comyns in my never-ending quest to find women writers I’d never heard of (see also Isabel Colegate, Mariama Bâ). I started with The Vet’s Daughter, which is like—what? Sort of suburban Gothic/British Flannery O’Connor with magical realism woven through it? I feel like that comes close but doesn’t really do it justice. 


in the kitchen

Jas and I went out to brunch with the kids to celebrate our anniversary, and I had these amazing lemon-blueberry-goat cheese pancakes that I want to recreate at home. (Maybe I’ll start with this recipe.)

We have been experimenting with matzoh toast. So far, scrambled eggs have been the only universal hit, but I really like the avocado toast version, and my daughter is a fan of peanut butter and banana with just a little chocolate-hazelnut spread.

Cookie of the week: Passover chocolate chip cookies


at home

My daughter and I have had so much fun with our Studio Ghibli movie/book combo class that I’m toying with the idea of writing a comparative literature high school curriculum along those lines. You know, because I have so much free time. (Or maybe I’m just looking for an excuse to give up laundry forever? Though I have kind of fallen hard for this honeysuckle laundry soap. Does having a favorite laundry product make you a real grown-up?)

Having a dog is possibly the greatest thing ever. While I write this, my son is reading Encyclopedia Brown aloud to the dog and pausing at the end of each story just in case the dog decides he wants to solve it before he hears the solution. 

My district happens to be one with a spring election, and it felt so good to (early) vote after everything that’s happened in the past few months. 

Stuff We Like :: 3.31.17

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

I have to be honest: Most of what I’m doing this week is trying to finish the spring issue of the magazine! Still, you know what they say about all work and no play.

around the web

So true: Kon-Mari for homeschooling moms

This article really hit home with me—I love the easiness of the LIKE button, but I miss the conversations we’ve given up because of it. (Toward that end, I’m setting up a little forum for subscribers that I hope to have ready to roll out with the spring issue — but we’ll see!)

When I read The Handmaid’s Tale, I seriously thought it was the scariest book I’d ever read. It seems even scarier now. I’ve often wondered how Margaret Atwood feels about her dystopia in light of current world events, and now I know! (Aside: Are you planning to watch the TV adaptation? A year ago, I would have been all-in, but now I’m worried that it will just freak me out.)


at home/school/life

on the blog: It’s your last chance to vote for the MOST HOMESCHOOLERY THING EVER.

one year ago: Ideas for celebrating every day of National Poetry Month

two years ago: 3 Fun Ways to Welcome Spring to Your Homeschool

three years ago: Sentimental flashback: How this magazine got started


reading list

Colors of Madeleine update: I finished The Cracks in the Kingdom and am moving on to A Tangle of Gold. As soon as the spring issue ships. (I guessed the big twist — I made Suzanne tell me that I was right — but that didn't make it any less brilliant. I'm enjoying these books so much.)

My poor abandoned children, who are cruelly forced to entertain themselves while I am in get-this-issue done mode, are reading The Wingsnatchers and say, “It is really good, which you would know if you were reading it with us.” So parenting fail, but at least they are reading something good!

Meanwhile, in academic reading: Ancient Greece: From Prehistory to Hellenistic Times, The Scarlet Letter, Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography, A Room of One’s Own


at home

I have discovered this British version of House Hunters on Netflix, where people shop for houses in the English countryside, and I tell you, it is like balm for the soul.

Again this week, we are subsisting on Trader Joe’s Mandarin Orange Chicken and takeout Mexican, and we did not actually make cookies this week. (We bought the frozen macarons at TJ’s instead.) This is how all my big deadlines end up. 

I’m thinking of making this Amaretto Olive Oil Cake for Seder this year. But there has to be something chocolate, too, right?

Stuff We Like :: 4.22.16

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

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!


reading list

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.


at home

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.

Monday Pep Talk No. 32

home|school|life magazine's Monday Pep Talk has lots of fun ideas for planning your homeschool week.

3 fun things to do this week

Make your mark on Chinese Language Day (Wednesday) by learning how to write a few simple Chinese characters. I’m not always a fan of worksheets, but these step-by-step practice sheets are a good starting point.

Looking for an Earth Day science experiment? (Earth Day is Friday!) This vanishing styrofoam experiment from Steve Spangler Science is a great, hands-on look at why conservation and recycling are so important.

William Shakespeare’s birthday is this Saturday. Celebrate the birth of the Bard with an epic Shakespeare movie marathon. (We list our favorite adaptations in the spring issue.)


3 ideas for this week’s dinners

Sandwiches totally count as dinner when they are open-face steak sandwiches with parmesan dressing.

This golden leek and potato soup is warming enough for still-chilly nights, light enough for sun-warmed days.

A fresh take on a dinnertime classic: stuffed shells. (My children would probably eat these for dinner every other night.)


one great readaloud

Wonders and Miracles: A Passover Companion is a little like the Seder experience in a book: Lots of really interesting stuff (stories, poems, history) punctuated by occasional boring-ish bits. If you are interested in the history and context of Passover, this book makes a great readaloud.


one thought to ponder

Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer but wish we didn’t.
— Erica Jong



A charoset-inspired cocktail