sideways stories from wayside school

Stuff We Like :: 8.12.16

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

Elephant and Piggie in Hamilton. Yes, please.

Being a regular reader may help you live up to two years longer. (So you’ve got plenty of time to binge-watch more television. :))

If you have ever gotten a letter from a Nigerian prince looking to make you a millionaire, you will appreciate this piece on letter-writing scams of the Victorian era.

It is really hard to see a crossword puzzle and NOT try to solve it, right?

Oh my gosh, I loved this group of children’s authors musings on whether fictional children should ever actually grow up. (I think I’m in the “no” camp, but I do like little flash-peeks into the future.)


at home | school | life

on the blog: How do you keep records for your homeschool? Shelli shares her method.

in the classroom: It’s a flash sale! You can save 10% if you register for your class today.

on instagram: A peek inside our weekly done list. 

on the podcast: Have you listened to the home/school/life podcast? We’d love it if you’d leave a review/rating on iTunes or share it with your friends.

from the archives: What to read after you finish all of Harry Potter?


reading list

on my night table:

I’m reading All the Birds in the Sky for the podcast, and I really, really like it, but I’m afraid to finish it because so many good books fall apart at the end.

I recently discovered Isabel Colegate, and I regret all the years of my reading life when I didn’t know she existed. I adored The Blackmailer (which has an Iris Murdoch-ish vibe and which is kind of darkly funny comedy of manners) and have moved on to The Shooting Party.

on my 14-year-old’s night table:

Goth Girl and the Fete Worse Than Death

The Golden Compass (I have been leaving this series ostentatiously out for her for years, so I am thrilled she picked it up!)

Storybook Toys

on my 8-year-old’s night table:

Sideways Stories from Wayside School (He liked the math problems in Sideways Arithmetic so much he wanted to read this book.)


My daughter and I are reading The Letters of John and Abigail Adams together — the first of her official high school lit projects.

Magic or Not?, a lesser-known but still delightful Edward Eager book, is our current morning readaloud.


at home

My lovely sister-in-law is visiting from California this week, and we’ve had so much fun hanging out with Auntie Rach.

watching: Ugly Betty is streaming on Hulu now, so I am re-watching the series from start to finish. I’d forgotten how much I love Betty! I’m also obsessed with Inspector Lewis.

eating: I keep talking about tomato toast, but I can’t help it—I’m obsessed. 

knitting: I’m still in the middle of my baby knitting frenzy. On the needles: This freakishly cute little bear sweater.

listening: To John Malkovich reading me Breakfast of Champions. Talk about embarrassments of riches.

Stuff We Like :: 6.17.16

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

We are definitely getting into our summer groove here! Jason was off on his big annual fishing trip last week, so the kids and I had a little staycation fun (lots of baking, a Back to Future marathon, many hours of Mario, and daily kung fu parades). Now we’re basically just trying to squeeze in every possible minute of pool time.

around the web

Apparently I am not the only person who thinks this election season feels a lot like an 80s wrestling match. (Of course, now I'm going around making everyone read "The World of Wrestling.")

This: It’s nice to be polite, it’s fine to be a good sport sometimes, but it’s also perfectly, 100 percent, totally okay to get angry, daughters of the world.

I really love stories about snarky writers. Is it wrong that this article totally made me wish I could have been friends with D.H. Lawrence?

Every single writer who has ever tried to make a living writing should read this.

If someone writes a piece on the awesomeness of Wayside School, I’m going to share it.


at home | school | life

on the website: A few people have asked about getting email notifications when a new blog post goes up. (You guys are so nice!) We have added a Bloglovin’ sign-up in the right-hand sidebar—if you put in your email address, you’ll get an email whenever there’s a new post.

on the blog: The answer to the question I get asked the most: How do you work full-time and homeschool your kids?

on the podcast: Tune in Monday for our new episode—Suzanne and I are talking about summer homeschooling, dropping your kids off for a week on a college campus, Hamilton, baby knitting, Greensleeves by Eloise Jarvis McGraw, and more.

in the magazine: Everything’s starting to come together with the summer issue, and I know I say this every time, but I think it may be my favorite issue yet.


reading list

on my night table: Basically everything that was on it last week, plus The New Yorker’s fiction issue

on my 14-year-old’s night table: Bloomability, Seraphina, A Royal Pain (I was so excited to see this Ellen Conford book at the library—I’m hoping it holds up well because I loved it as a kid)

on my 6-year-old’s night table: Comet in Moominland, Karlson on the Roof (this one was a surprise hit from the library—he's already read it twice)

together: The Lost Hero (still), Mr. Lemoncello’s Library Olympics


at home

watching: Overly Sarcastic’s Classics Summarized, which are possibly my new most favorite thing ever

knitting: Tell me your favorite baby knitting patterns because I’m going to be an aunt! There are many, many reasons to be excited about this, but baby knitting is pretty high on the list.

playing: The Adventure Time version of Munchkin, which has a lot of weird rules that I can’t seem to keep up with but which my children love

eating: no-churn salted caramel bourbon ice cream on the front porch

listening: The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration (This is keeping me moving during physical therapy, which is starting to feel like it will never end)

YA Bookalikes for Summer Reading

Not sure what to recommend next for your teen? These in-the-adult-section novels are great follow-ups to classic kid favorites and great YA books to read this summer.

Never Let Me Go
By Kazuo Ishiguro


CHECK OUT: Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

There’s a reason utopia means “nowhere.” The perfect world always comes at a cost. Lowry’s starkly beautiful dystopia reads like a little sister to Ishiguro’s lyrical science-fiction novel about an idyllic English boarding school where special children are groomed for a bleak future. The same questions resonate through both books: Who decides how the truth is revealed? What does it mean to have free will? What makes a person alive? And in both books, the answers are complicated.


IF YOU LOVED: The Harry Potter series

CHECK OUT: The Magicians by Lev Grossman

Just like the indomitable Mr. Potter, Brooklyn teen Quentin Coldwater finds himself enrolled in a school for magicians. But he quickly discovers Brakebills Academy is quite unlike Hogwarts and that being a magician isn’t a cure-all for dissatisfaction with everyday life. Quentin doesn't share Harry's likable heroism, which makes him a more complicated protagonist.


Sideways Stories from Wayside School
By Louis Sachar, Julie Brinckloe

IF YOU LOVED: Sideways Stories from Wayside School

CHECK OUT: Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

Heller takes a darker view of human nonsense in his World War II classic, but there’s plenty of similarity between characters like the major who never sees anyone in his office when he’s in his office and the teacher who sends herself home on the kindergarten bus for (temporarily) turning evil.


The Hunger Games (Book 1)
By Suzanne Collins
The Handmaid's Tale
By Margaret Atwood

IF YOU LOVED: The Hunger Games

CHECK OUT: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Panem is an equal opportunity dystopia—young men and women are equally at risk in the country’s annual ba􏰁ttle-to-the-death games. But in the republic of Gilead, a totalitarian Christian theocracy, women like Offred must play an even more dangerous game. Atwood’s dark imagined future is ripe for rebellion, but rising up against an entrenched government in The Handmaid’s Tale is not as easy — or dramatic — as taking on Panem’s President Snow.


We’re reprinting some of Amy’s summer reading series favorites from home/school/life magazine. This list appeared in our 2014 summer reading guide.