Find Your Next Podcast Obsession: The Radio Adventures of Eleanor Amplified

Find Your Next Podcast Obsession: The Radio Adventures of Eleanore Amplified

The Radio Adventures of Eleanor Amplified is an excellent podcast and a Jula Family favorite, but it didn't start out that way. While I was instantly impressed by the production value (layer upon layer of sound effects!) and I liked that it was an old time radio show set in the present, I found the plot-line to be tired... crazy professor with an evil mind-control serum and a laser? That's been done. I found the character’s voices to be tired... rocket-scientist Dr. Gordon sounds just like Professor Frink from The Simpsons and the voice of Mr. Richmond, the newspaper editor, was so stereotypical it hurt. Both, so done. Maybe I was being overly-critical now that I critique podcasts. Maybe... I was just tired.  Regardless, I had downloaded the Road Trip Edition (which is a brilliant feature I wish every podcast would adopt) and there’d been nary a peep from the backseat so who was I to complain?

As we drove west on I-70 toward the Georgetown Loop Railroad for my nephew’s 4th birthday celebration, I found myself chuckling. Wait, what? Did I just laugh at the podcast that I had resigned myself to disliking? I sure did, and I didn't even know I'd been paying attention. Back up.

I had to pause the show to ask the kids what had happened, which they totally appreciated. After some mom-shaming on their part, and an insincere apology on mine, they caught me up on what I’d missed and gave me their blessing to skip back to the beginning anyway. This time around, I appreciated the jokes, especially when Eleanore tells Professor Ignome that his plot to bore into the city reservoir and fill it with mind-control serum was “boring, all right,” because I'd just had that same thought! I love Eleanor's mom, who sounds just like Charlie Brown’s teacher, and I was totally won over when in episode 2 they introduced Conn Seanery and his shatellite phone. Instantly, I was transported to a nostalgically hilarious place—the SNL skit where Sean Connery (Darrell Hammond) and Burt Reynolds, a.k.a. Turd Ferguson (Norm MacDonald), antagonize Alex Trebeck (Will Ferrell.) That image, combined with the dialogue from the actual podcast, made me so happy. I had done a full 180, and ironically I had gotten lost on the way to the train and had to make an actual u-turn, but in the end I'd arrived at two conclusions: Eleanor Amplified was awesome, and do not blindly follow Siri because she is a fickle friend who will betray you at the worst possible time.

If, like me, you're a huge nerd fan of NPR and their shows and podcasts, not included in the Road Trip Edition but worth a listen to, is the Extra Episode where Terry Gross from Fresh Air talks with John Sheehan, a former Fresh Air producer and winner of the in-house contest that WHYY conducted to encourage a new and original podcast. John created the winning podcast at his desk during his lunch break, and Eleanor Amplified spent five weeks in the #1 spot for Kids and Family and #23 overall on iTunes, and spent about a month in the top 100.  

While doing my research, I came across a review on Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls. “The father of now two daughters (one who is 2 and the other 11 months old), knew from the beginning that his main character would be a young woman — 'I didn’t need another male hero in the world.' The four major lessons he hopes young listeners will pick up from the project: don’t be greedy, ambition has its limits, commercialism can have side effects, and seeking truth and speaking truth is important in and of itself.” Based on the conversations the kids and I have had, I'd add that questioning the motivations of others and how they drive their actions is also a prominent theme (and given the current political climate, maybe adults need to learn these lessons, too.) I'd also like to draw attention to the fact that the most devious, ambitious and greedy bad guy in the show is actually a woman! CEO Ms Angela Brandt sounds a lot like Donita Donata (for you Wild Kratt fans out there) and is really good at being really bad.

Suitable for kids of all ages, The Radio Adventures of Eleanor Amplified is available for download on iTunes and for Android.


BONUS: Cincinnati Public Radio has this wonderful little podcast called Classics for Kids. There's not enough to it to warrant an entire review (each episode is only six minutes) but it is totally worth downloading. Did you know that Bach had 20 kids?!? And some of them were also famous composers? Full of historical facts, beautiful music and charming stories of the composers as young children, struggling adults, and mentors to other famous composers, these podcasts are perfect. While not a serial podcast, I do recommend you listen to each composer’s series in order.  

Find Your Next Podcast Obsession: The Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel

Find Your Next Podcast Obsession: The Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel

Close your eyes—assuming you can read with your eyes closed. Now imagine if Stranger Things (the show) had a mixed-media baby with The Mysterious Benedict Society (the books) and that awesome little offspring was The Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel (the podcast.) I know, right?!? And while you don’t have to be familiar with either to appreciate Mars Patel, or this review, you may end up wanting to check out both.

We were on our way to the farm from which we get our CSA. One of the privileges of membership is that we get to wake up crazy early, drive desperately far, and toil in the asparagus mines for hours under the blazing, hot sun. We needed a new podcast, and we needed one with plenty of episodes. Mars Patel had been on my list since last year, when it was voted one of the top 50 podcasts of 2016, but I’d been reluctant to listen with the kids since it’s described as a podcast for middle-schoolers (my youngest is a mature 7.5 year old) and I hadn’t had the time to audition it by myself.  

The Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel won a Peabody award last year, and it’s easy to see why.  After the first episode, there was no need to discuss whether or not we liked it enough to give the second episode a chance—I couldn’t get the second episode on fast enough.  

It was dramatic*, engaging, and suspenseful, tempered with just enough humor to assuage my youngest. The high production value makes it easy to follow along and the episodes are fast-paced, with enough plot-twists and cliff-hangers to make it binge-worthy. The actor’s voices are distinct and the rapport is authentic. The sound effects are like a tray of sometimes very loud watercolors and your imagination is the brush. Award-worthy for sure.  

Episode 1 “Code Red” starts with Oliver Pruitt, the sponsor and billionaire inventor, speaking directly to the children listeners, which my kids ate up. “Mom, don’t listen!” Then you meet Mars, who my son quickly points out hasn’t disappeared...yet. Mars is clearly distressed about the disappearance of his friend, Aurora. His locker-side conversation with his friends is interrupted by a Code Red, and the school goes on lockdown. Mars goes looking for his friend, who needed to run to the bathroom during the code red (to avoid a code brown!) and discovers that his friend Jonas has also disappeared. Only four minutes in and a glance in my rearview mirror shows four wide eyes. My son catches me peeking and smiles, nodding. We are instant addicts.

The similarities to The Mysterious Benedict Society and Stranger Things run deep. These are all children living on the fringe of their social peer groups—questioning authority, speaking the truth, standing up to bullies, and defending their friends—not the kinds of kids that acquiesce to society.  “Outcasts, misfits, freaks...losers, oddballs, weirdos…” They think for themselves and they think outside the box. In each series the characters have unique gifts and an element of other-worldliness is explored. Without the understanding and support of their parents, these kids brave out on their own, and it is their wit and ingenuity that save them. In all three, there is tension in aspects of the social dynamics, but ultimately the characters recognize that they have no choice but to trust and depend on each another, and friendships form despite the initial resistance. They persevere despite constant setbacks, and you quickly realize that these are the kids you would have wanted to be friends with in school and the kinds of kids you want your children to be friends with now. If these are the outcasts, I wouldn’t want to fit in. Plus, Oliver Pruitt is as creepy a bad guy as Mr. Curtain and Dr. Brenner.  

Later that evening, I am standing at the kitchen counter trimming 15 pounds of asparagus stalks—asparagus for days!—and my daughter calls down, “I think JP stands for Jennifer Pruitt!” (it doesn’t) but I laugh out loud and tell her that it is a good theory. She’d been working on that for hours, and I am thrilled that we have found another podcast that keeps her thinking. “Can we go on PruittPrep.com? I want to see if it’s real!” We have fun answering riddles and exploring the prizes, and we lament the fact that her brother is gone for the weekend or we would drive somewhere just to listen to another episode.   

The episodes are on average 15 or so minutes and you have to start at the beginning. Season 1 has ten episodes and so far Season 2 has six. New episodes post on Mondays, so be ready to solemnly promise on Sunday nights that yes, you will indeed wake up early to download the next episode.  


* Not surprising, considering the head writer is David Kreizman, who has won an Emmy and multiple Writers’ Guild awards for his work on Guiding Light, All My Children, and As the World Turns.  

The Unexplained Disappearance of Mars Patel is available for download on iTunes and for Android or you can listen to it at www.marspatel.com

Podcasts for the People: Myths and Legends

Podcasts for the People: Myths and Legends

[It's such a pleasure to welcome Nanette Jula to the HSL blogging team! Nanette's a passionate podcast listener who will be sharing some of her favorite podcasts in this space. —Amy]

I will forever picture the Black Hills of South Dakota when I hear Harry Potter and we still laugh about the fact that I had to pull over on I-78 while listening to The Mysterious Journey of Edward Tulane because I could not see through my tears, one sob away from crashing the car. Audiobooks and road trips go together like peanut butter and dark chocolate, but for our around-the-town carschooling, I rely on podcasts. The right podcast is engaging, informative, and bite-sized. It can delve deeper into a current interest or it can light a spark, introducing you to something you didn’t know existed and igniting a new love. 

And so, without further ado, I present to you... Podcasts for the People, a monthly-ish review of podcasts that will make your commute more educational and more enjoyable.

What has a Korean fox-demon, Vikings, a boot-wearing cat, and appeals to everyone from 6 to 96? It’s Myths and Legends, a podcast brought to you from the mind of Jason Weiser. “Some are incredibly popular stories you think you know, but with surprising origins. Others are stories you might not have heard but really should.” Jason compiles different versions of the same classic story, infuses it with his dry sense of humor, and retells it in a modern, almost conversational way. With the finesse of a gymnast, Jason walks the line between ridiculing the asinine while still honoring what makes these stories great. Myths and Legends strikes the perfect balance between nerdy and cool, which totally appeals to my kids (aged 7 and almost 10) as much as it does to my husband and me. 

Dan Ivette, from The Podcast Digest, interviewed Jason last year. In the interview, Jason talks about how after spending years rolling the idea around in his head, he was uninspired by his day job and needed a creative outlet. He recorded the first three episodes of Myths and Legends and spent months questioning whether he should even release them. His first shows were recorded in his car with such low expectations for the podcast that he was just hoping to make enough to buy books while pursuing his graduate degree. It took about four months for the podcast to gain popularity, which Jason realizes was a blessing in disguise. Had his show gained immediate fame, he wouldn't have had the chance to develop his voice. The turning point was when BuzzFeed randomly mentioned the show online and the next day, Myths and Legends was in the top 10 on iTunes. Jason’s story of following your passion appeals to me on so many levels, but more specifically as a homeschooling mom, I appreciate how reassuring these stories can be.

Now, two years later, Jason has recorded 99 episodes and Myths and Legends is his full-time job. He research, writes, and records each episode himself, typically working on three episodes at once. He gets his ideas by casting a wide net and reading a lot, evident in the spectrum of stories he covers. One of my son's favorite stories is episode 58-Monster, a Native American tale from Cree folklore where a monster skunk farts everyone to death, because as Jason points out, "This is a serious podcast that takes itself very seriously." One of my favorites, on the other hand, is 38A-Korean Literature: Crossing the Threshold, the two-part, heart-breaking story of Hong Gildong. It is a tale of self-discovery and an important part of Korean culture. Gildong is born to a concubine and spends his life trying to escape the shame of his ignoble life. His father, who loves him and is pained by the circumstances, is bound by societal expectations and becomes sick with grief. As someone who lives outside societal norms, I appreciate stories that explore the struggle between living your truth and honoring your authentic self and societal expectations. The story of Gildong is a dramatic and engaging one, and there are dragons and magic—what more could you possibly want? The majority of episodes end with a Creature of the Week, which is always interesting and ranges from shape-shifting Amazon river dolphins to my personal favorite, the barbegazi, a bearded gnome with enormous feet. 

On his website, Jason has a page called Where to Start, and I recommend beginning there. He lists his five favorite episodes, the ones that require no background knowledge. He also has the podcasts organized by categories, such as Disney, Greek Mythology, etc. 

As a final note, many of the episodes have violent undercurrents—think Vikings and pretty much all of Greek Mythology. The episode where Prometheus, who betrayed his fellow Titans and has his liver pecked out by an eagle, could be upsetting to some more sensitive readers—I listened to it with a car-full of kids and we all shrieked and gagged. Jason starts these episodes with a disclaimer, alerting you to creepy or violent content. He never gets too graphic and we can’t remember him ever cursing, but some episodes do contain mature content.

Myths and Legends episodes are available on iTunes and for Androids and can be found at https://www.mythpodcast.com/.

Stuff We Like :: 5.12.17

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

This week's Stuff We Like comes courtesy of HSL's fab senior editor Shelli.


I’m loving delving into world history with my boys, especially with this Kingfisher Encyclopedia, my husband’s history podcasts, and lots of library books.

My young classical pianist is enjoying these “Masterpieces old and new” music videos on Khan Academy.


My Faves this Week on Twitter

On Getting a Starter Kit for a Butterfly Garden

Stunning art made out of driftwood

I always heart owls.


At Home/School/Life

in the magazine: everything in the spring issue that just came out!

in a future magazine: I’m really enjoying perusing some Spanish curriculums for a review I will write for a future issue.

on the blog: This Civil War reading list

one year ago: What we did in kindergarten

two years ago: Rhythms and routines in unschooling


Books We’re Loving Right Now

All of us: The Game of Silence

The 10-year-old: Mossflower

The 7-year-old: The Complete Adventures of Curious George: 75th Anniversary Edition

Me: The new Pevear and Volokhonsky translation of Anna Karenina



I am constantly losing to my seven-year-old son in Star Wars Monopoly, and to make matters worse, I am miffed that Rey was left out of the character tokens. (Though happy to hear many people have complained, and they will include her in a later edition.) Still, it’s a fun game.

I fare better at Qwirkle, or my old favorite, Yahtzee.

Stuff We Like :: 3.11.16

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

We’re whistling while we work on the spring issue, which promises to be pretty fantastic. (Shakespeare! Inspiring self-directed learners! So many awesome books!) Here’s what else is making our happy radar sing lately:

around the web

I want to drape my house in Carson Ellis wallpaper the way George Costanza wanted to be draped in velvet.

This Got Milk? parody commercial for Hamilton fans is hilarious.

This post about how homeschooling is like living in a fraternity house is still [1] true and [2] the most popular blog post I’ve ever written.


at home/school/life

in the magazine: So excited that the fabulous Blair Lee will be joining us as a regular columnist starting with the summer issue. (She’s got a great piece on setting up a homeschool science fair in the spring issue.)

on the blog: We’re really enjoying spotlighting so many cool women’s biographies during Women’s History Month.

in the archives: It’s the perfect time to try one of Shelli’s bright ideas for welcoming spring in your homeschool.


reading list

I feel like I don’t always love Kazuo Ishiguro’s books, but I do usually love the experience of reading them, if that makes sense. His worlds are so deliberate, so nuanced—and The Buried Giant is no exception. I didn’t love it, but it gave me so many interesting things to think about. Worth reading, for sure.

I am almost done with my extreme Diana Wynne Jones-ing, which puts me right at The Power of Three.

Did you read Echo yet? I think it’s one of my favorite middle grades books of 2015—just gorgeous.


at home

I volunteered to knit another Brickless as an incentive for a friend’s Kickstarter campaign, so I had a legitimate excuse to order a pretty skein of Miss Babs yarn. Isn’t yarn delivery the best part of the day?

The Norman Centuries podcast is currently enlivening my physical therapy sessions.

My kids have got me trying to track down an Undertale-inspired cinnamon-butterscotch pie for Pi Day next week.


homeschooling highlights

I’ve been looking for a post-Miquon math option for next year, and I’m feeling optimistic that Beast Academy might be just the ticket. (Rebecca always finds the best stuff!)

My son has developed a passion for soap-carving, which has become his go-to project for read-aloud time. (My daughter continues to favor the time-honored tradition of doodling.) We just use plain Ivory soap bars and a small butter knife.

This has been a great week for nature journaling. We’ve been using the Know Your Bird Sounds CD to help us recognize all the different birds singing it up in the backyard.

Monday Pep Talk No. 21

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

We’ll be taking a couple of weeks off this month to wrap up the winter issue (also, to be honest, to play video games and start some projects with our Hanukkah yarn), but we’ll be back with your regular Monday pep talk in January. And since we’ll be gone for a little while, we’ve padded this week’s pep talk with a few extra ideas to tide you over.

fun things to do this week (and beyond)

Celebrate Bill of Rights Day on Dec. 15 with an Oregon Trail-ish online game.

December 18 is Bake Cookies Day, which means you haven’t been procrastinating your holiday baking, you’ve just been waiting for the official day. (I’ll be making rum balls.)

Celebrate National Flashlight Day (Dec. 21) by making your own flashlights.

Put on a family production. It could be that I have read Little Women too many time, but I love the idea of putting on a holiday show in your living room.

Make your own fake snow, and you can have a snowball fight whether it’s a white solstice or not.

Get hooked on a podcast. A few to try: Professor Blastoff’s archives (sadly, no new episodes are coming, but this mash-up of science, philosophy, and humor can be addictive); the Tolkien Professor’s Tolkien chats (perfect for people who want to obsess—and I mean, really obsess—over Middle Earth), and the Infinite Monkey Cage, which is a little bit like what would result if Doctor Who, Sherlock Holmes, and Monty Python got together and decided to host a podcast about science.


ideas for holiday eating

I want to eat this white bean risotto with garlicky greens tonight—but I’m also wondering if there’s a version of this with black-eyed peas that would make an awesome New Year’s lunch.

This winter vegetable soup is one of those slow-cooker meals that you’ll be so happy to come home to.

Sweet potato and kale bubble and squeak? Yes, please!

This crispy coconut kale with roasted salmon and coconut rice is fancy enough to feel special but a nice break from all the rich roasts we seem to eat over the holidays.

Beef stroganoff with dumplings is the perfect dinner on a chilly evening.

Someone brought this poppy seed chicken casserole to every single potluck when I was growing up, and I still think this with a big plate of roasted broccoli makes the perfect dinner.


one great readaloud



one thought to ponder


in case of emergency {because sometimes you need something stronger than inspiration}

eggnog milkshake

Stuff We Like :: 9.10.15

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

I’m still spending most of my time on the couch, but I feel like I’m starting to get my groove back a little. We started our official new school year this week, and I finally made it to the classroom for my creative writing students this week. (Last week I had to Skype in!)  

around the web

Fascinating: Can we blame handwriting’s decline on the invention of ballpoint pens?

OK, fair enough. Maybe I overdo the whole let-me-just-check-my-phone thing sometimes.

I’m finding the details of this recent fossil discovery so interesting.


at home/school/life

in the magazine: There’s some great stuff coming up in the fall issue. I'm especially excited about our big life after high school article that Shawne's been working on.

on instagram: This may just be the best quote about homeschool life ever.

from the archives: If you loved Harriet the Spy, here's what you should read next.


reading list

I’m still pretty heavily into audiobooks. This week, it’s The Diamond Age and All the Light We Cannot See.

I have hooked my daughter up with her first official copy of the AP Stylebook, and she is completely obsessed with all the rules and guidelines for writing for print.

My daughter and I also read The Hired Girl — about a farm girl who flees her abusive family and finds a new home with a family of Jews in 1911 Baltimore — and enjoyed it thoroughly. My son read The BFG for the first time, the second time, and is working his way through the third time. You can never go wrong with Roald Dahl.


at home

I’ve been watching Pushing Daisies when I can’t sleep because it is one of the most delightful television shows ever made.

Maybe it’s the bed rest talking, but I’m really digging NPR’s Planet Money podcast.

Similarly, do you know how many games of Uno you can play when you’re trapped on the couch? A lot. A lot of Uno.

Stuff We Like :: 7.31.15

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

Our month-long web extravaganza is ending, but we’d love to know what you’ve enjoyed reading on the site and what you’d like to see more of in the coming months. (Really! Pipe up!) And don’t worry, we’ve still got plenty of good stuff in the queue, including an awesome giveaway that we’ll tell you more about next week.

around the web

So I love Rebecca, which I read at exactly the right time to fall in love with its Gothic charms, but I do frequently find myself saying “What the heck is wrong with you, Max de Winter?” So this imagined conversation between Max and the second Mrs. de Winter made my day.

I still reread my favorite books every year. (I have reread Little Women every fall since I was 7 years old.) But apparently rereading is something we do less and less as we get older, and that’s a shame.

Great read for helping kids (and parents) recognize problematic statistics in news reporting.


at home/school/life

on the blog: We’re trying out the Monday pep talk as a little kickstart to your week. What do you think?

on pinterest: This wall-mounted kraft paper rollis so clever — I’m thinking we need one in the kitchen as a doodle station, and we’ll use the resulting artwork to wrap holiday presents.

in the magazine: You know your homeschool group wants our best subscription deal.


reading list

I already have a copy of Goodbye Stranger on order to give my daughter as soon as it comes out next week. I think this is THE book to give a middle school girl. (Despite the cover, it has nothing to do with boyfriends.)

We’re reading The Island of Dr. Libris as our morning readaloud, and it’s been a lot of fun. (I caught my 7-year-old trying to read ahead, which is high praise indeed.)

I just finished Silver in the Blood, which I wanted to love (shape-shifting! mysterious family origins! best-friend cousins! Jessica Day George!) but which was ultimately just okay.


in the kitchen

I love watermelon pickles. And now I have a bunch.

I am totally hooked on this quick skillet granola because I want to be the kind of person who has healthy homemade granola on hand but am more frequently the kind of person who needs a breakfast that comes together in under 15 minutes. (I add Trader Joe’s dried blueberries.)

Does anybody have a great tomato sauce recipe? I am at the stage where the tomatoes are outpacing our eating ability. (Luxury problems!)


at home

Mystery Show is my new podcast.

I am still chugging along on my Beekeeper’s Quilt. I keep trying to justify buying the big KnitPicks palette sampler to help motivate me over the last hill (or three), but my stash is already beyond reasonable life expectancy.

Do you play Ticket to Ride? It’s had a featured role at our table this summer. I like that it’s fast-paced so we can finish a game in an hour or so and challenging enough that it’s fun to play over (and over).

Stuff We Like :: 6.12.15

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

We are busy-busy-busy wrapping up the summer issue and getting ready to launch our new website, but don’t worry: We’re still making plenty of time to hang out at the pool, catch up with old friends, and enjoy the pleasures of summer.

Around the Web

I wrote this piece on putting together your own homeschool retreat (a.k.a. homeschool conference for introverts) a few years ago, but I’m taking my own advice this summer.

Loved this blog post from Christina Kelly about losing your career identity as a parent. (We’re actually launching a new department in the summer issue that’s about just that.)

This genius 10-minute kids’ room cleanup method may solve our “at least clear a path to the bed” battles for good.

Here’s the reason I so seldom assign a reading level to the book reviews here on home/school/life: Kids know what they want to read.


On home/school/life

On Pinterest: Fill up your queue with Shelli’s favorite documentaries

On the blog: I’m so inspired by Idzie’s musings on the benefits of travel for life learning.

On the blog: Check out the first book in a great new series: Jackaby by William Ritter. (It’s a little bit Sherlock, a little bit Doctor Who, and a whole lot of fun.)



Casting on for another Sleeves in KnitPicks Gloss Lace. I love this pattern, which is basically a shawl with sleeves so it doesn’t require constant repositioning. (Maybe that’s just me?) I’m making a summer version in a lace-weight yarn to wear with sundresses and tank tops. - Ooh, and KnitPicks has all its Swish line (DK and worsted) on sale for $3.75/ball. I'm trying to justify stocking up!


At Home

I’m making my way through The Magicians again because Suzanne swears the last book in the trilogy makes it all worth it.

New glasses! I love how crisp and shiny everything looks. Have you guys tried Warby Parker? I love that they send you a selection to try on at home, so you can test out their stay-on-your-nose ability while knitting, building marble runs, or typing.

I am hooked on the podcast On Being. Are you a listener?

This broccoli-edamame-arugula salad is so good, I’ve had it for lunch two days in a row. (Keep scrolling to get the recipe at the end of the post.)

Stuff We Like :: 5.28.15

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 loved this: that magic moment when you become a reader, not just someone who can read a book. (With bonus REM lyrics!)

Why can’t we read anymore?

Are you watching this great web series from the American Museum of Natural History? This most recent episode, all about languages as seen through the eyes of an anthropologist and a computational biologist, is fascinating.


On home/school/life

On the blog: Lisa nails it with her thoughts on the whole “Oh, I could never do that” attitude homeschool parents sometimes run into.

From the magazine:Practical strategies to help a student who’s having trouble focusing. (Middle school parents, this one’s for you!)

On Pinterest: I think building this cardboard castle would be such a fun summer project.



I’ve been ripping up old T-shirts to knit rugs for all our bathrooms. (It feels so good to find a use for all those old T-shirts.)

I’m also knitting up fresh dishcloths for the kitchen, which is probably as close as I ever get to spring cleaning. I like the Ballband Dishcloth pattern (it’s free!). (I use KnitPicks Dishie because it has the best colors, the cotton isn't too hard on my hands, and it seems to hold up well.)



Sometimes these kinds of books annoy me because you would have to have a PhD in woodworking to do anything they suggest, but Woodshed for Kids: 52 Woodworking Projects Kids Can Build really does have projects that kids can build.

I downloaded Rebecca from the free SYNC summer audiobooks series and have been loving listening to it while I’m walking the neighborhood. (Rebecca's not available anymore, but they have a great lineup of freebies for this summer.)

I am stalking Amazon for my copy of The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings, The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings: J.R.R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Owen Barfield, Charles Williams— it’s supposed to be a fascinating read.


At Home

I am so late to the party with the whole Homicide: Life on the Streets thing, but I am so hooked.

Speaking of being late to the party, Jason and I are just getting around to listening to Serial, finally. Of course, being late adopters means we can binge listen, which is a plus.

Honey-roasted carrots with tahini yogurt are so good. (If you don’t have Ottolenghi’s book Plenty, go get it — it will change your vegetable cooking life forever.)