stuff we like

Stuff We Like :: 5.27.16

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

On our weekend to-do list: Shopping for fishing lures, baking lemon bars, cleaning out the crafts cupboard, and making mole. What we’ll probably actually do: Grill asparagus and sit in the sun.

around the web

You had me at Great Lakes Vowel Shift.

Being pretentious may not be as bad as we thought. (But it's still pretty annoying.)

Possibly related to pretentiousness: “Kafkaesque” has lost its meaning.

What your Venti Iced Skinny Hazelnut Macchiato, Sugar-Free Syrup, Extra Shot, Light Ice, No Whip says about American culture.

I love Martha Plimpton.


at home | school | life

on the blog: I’m sharing what 2nd grade looked like for my son this year.

on the website: Suzanne and I are in the process of recording the very first home | school | life podcast.

on instagram: When your knitting is so pretty you don’t want to give it away

in the magazine: Pages for the summer issue are looking amazing! We’ve been resizing them to read better on tablets, which has been a process, but I think we've figured it out.

in the archives: The new summer reading series is coming soon, but if you can’t wait, here’s a link to all of last summer’s book posts.


reading list

on my night table: Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution (honestly just so I can keep up with Suzanne), A Little Life: A Novel, Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World

on my 14-year-old’s night table: Go: A Kid’s Guide to Graphic Design, Manga for the Beginner Kawaii: How to Draw the Supercute Characters of Japanese Comics, Reflections on a Gift of Watermelon Pickle, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

on my 8-year-old’s night table: Clementine

together: Henry Reed’s Journey


at home

watching: The kids’ Craftsy crochet class

knitting: I hit the halfway point on my Goldwing.

planning: My first off-road walking expedition since the Great Ankle Injury of 2016—wish me luck!

eating: Ricotta toast (my new favorite eat-while-you-binge-watch snack)

listening: Invisibilia

Stuff We Like :: 4.8.16

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

What a whirlwind week! We got back from the beach, launched our new subscription system, and got the spring issue of the magazine out. Now I think I need a spring break to recover from my spring break.

around the web

I’ve had some issues with identifying as a Southerner in my life, but I’ve always been thankful to have a handy second-person plural pronoun to pull out. Thanks, y’all.

I apologize in advance for the giant time suck that is this Tumblr imagining the life of a Muggle IT guy at Hogwarts. (But it’s hilariously awesome!)

Further proof that librarians are the greatest people in the world.

I am a little bummed that my first fictional crush (Jeff from A Solitary Blue, if you want to know) didn’t make the list, but you know you want to read about what your first fictional crush says about you.

Relevant to my interests: How to be a Tudor by Hillary Mantel in the London Review of Books (That’s practically Amy bingo if you work knitting in somewhere)


at home/school/life

at the magazine: Our spring issue is out, and I think it’s so great! 

on the blog: Get inspired with ideas for every single day of National Poetry Month. (We're also looking for a couple of new bloggers to add their voices to the blog.)

on instagram: Gratuitous beach photo


reading list

Thanks to Suzanne, my son is completely obsessing over Ottoline and the Yellow Cat. (She’s got all the Chris Riddell-illustrated books you need on your shelves in her column in the spring issue.) Also on his night table: The Warriors Greystripe's Adventures manga trilogy

My daughter refuses to give back my advanced reader copy of Click Here to Start, so I’m assuming it must be good. (She’s comparing it to Ready Player One.)

I love books about women in research science, so I was happy to pick up a copy of Lab Girl, a memoir by research scientist Hope Jahren.


at home

We took a road trip to Tybee Island to get a little beach time. I was worried about the weather, but it was actually perfect—warm enough to play in the water and read in the sand. (I navigated the terrain fairly well, but there were a few places where I was balancing on all three of my family members. My mom bought me some super-supportive sandals, though, which proved invaluable.)

I’ve been wanting to knit a summery little sweater, and I think Helene may be just the ticket.

Jason and I watched Mr. Robot in a couple of big binge sessions. Have you seen this show? It’s so weird and completely engrossing. (I am a sucker for an unreliable narrator, though. Also for Christian Slater, who is basically J.D. from Heathers-turned-hacker in this show.)

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.

Stuff We Like :: 3.4.16

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

I’ve been doing physical therapy like a madwoman so that I can wean myself off my walker in time for a little beach getaway this spring. Is it weird that I start planning what books to pack way before I start to care about what clothes to bring? (I’m packing Kitchens of the Great Midwest and The Turnip Princess And Other Newly Discovered Fairy Tales for sure.)

around the web

at home/school/life

  • in the magazine: My favorite quote so far from the spring issue: "You may have a young child who has difficulty paying attention to boring things. That’s only a problem if you're trying to force that child to pay attention to boring things.”
  • on the blog:Shelli’s doing citizen science, and she didn’t even have to leave her house.
  • on pinterest:This little necklace is so cute—wouldn’t it be fun to make a set based on your favorite book characters?

reading list

  • I’m continuing my Diana Wynne Jones readathon; now I’m on Witch Week.
  • My best friend got me a subscription to The New Yorker for Christmas, and I’ve really been digging my weekly journalism fix. (I got her the Buffy season eight comics, so you can tell which of us has the intellectual street cred.)
  • I am so, so, so excited about the Sherlock Holmes comparative lit class I get to teach this summer, which means there is a lot of Holmes and Holmes-adjacent reading piled on my night table. But of course I’m kicking off with rereading A Study in Scarlet.

at home

  • We’ve been trying (with mixed success) to add a weekly science experiment, complete with lab report, to our schedule. I like the science experiments, but I find the weekly job of getting together supplies and tools such a slog. Do you have any suggestions to simplify it?
  • I am eating this avocado-mango salad (with cheese! and bacon! and toasted pumpkin seeds!) pretty much on repeat for lunch right now.
  • Future knitting planning: I really love Magrathea, but the lace is all charts, and charts scare me. Has anyone knitted it without exploding head problems? Or maybe you could pep talk me into believing that charts are totally within my range of knit-ability?

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Stuff We Like :: 2.26.16

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

This essay perfectly sums up what I love (and will miss) about Umberto Eco’s work: He was always the smartest person in the room but in the most inclusive way imaginable.

I think you know already that I will read pretty much anything about how and why words end up in dictionaries.

Delightful: The real history of the imaginary cocktail of the Galaxy


at home/school/life

in the magazine: I am currently viewing my way through so many Shakespeare movie adaptations that I might start speaking in iambic pentameter. (The best ones will end up in the spring issue.)

on the blog:How to find quiet amid the noise of homeschool life.

on pinterest: This tiny acorn tea set is adorable.


reading list

Have you ever noticed that if you reread one Diana Wynne Jones book, you want to go back and reread them all? I’m on Fire and Hemlock.

After our Top Chef: Masters marathon, I am reading my way through Rick Bayless’s Authentic Mexican cookbook, and I want to cook everything in it. (It’s almost more like an academic study of Mexican cooking than a traditional ooh-pretty-pictures cookbook, but I kind of like that about it.)

I have a shiny new copy of A Doubter’s Almanac that I can’t wait to start reading. (I guess that’s one of the benefits of making reading for pleasure more of a priority—lots of new books!)


at home

I took a break from my Zick Zack scarf (it’s a little over three feet long now, so it’s getting there!) to knit this adorable baby headband with a bird on it for a first birthday present. (It's a high-reward, low-effort baby present, if you find yourself needing one!)

Jas and I watched The Worricker Trilogy on a whim, and it was fantastic. (I love how watching British television is all random star spotting: Rachel Weisz! Ralph Fiennes! Helena Bonham Carter!)

Have I mentioned how much time we’ve been spending playing Yoshi’s Wooly World? Because it’s kind of become a family obsession.

Stuff We Like :: 2.19.16

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

I think winter is probably one of my favorite times to be a homeschooler. By February, we’ve hit our groove, we’ve usually got a few awesome projects going, and it’s still cold enough so that cuddling on the couch is a featured morning activity.

around the web

It’s like Patricia is living inside my brain with this post about her son’s professed disinterest in reading. (This is one of those times where just knowing that I am not alone helps SO MUCH.)

Wait, scientists printed a human ear?

Another you-read-my-mind post: What’s up with sites creating situations where kids have to lie about their age?

The history of the world, in puns.

The In Search of Lost Time graphic novel is at the very top of my I-want-this list, y’all.


at home/school/life

in the magazine: We’re working on a piece about experiences every homeschool family should have. What’s on your homeschool bucket list?

on the blog: Rebecca discovers a groovy curriculum for deep thinkers.

in the archives: When I need a little jolt of inspiration, I find myself turning back to Tracy’s post on the three words every homeschool parent should know.


reading list

I love starting a new readaloud, and Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library has all the makings of a new favorite.

I may have preordered the Doctor Who coloring book.

I will read anything about the Tudors, but even if you don't share my obsession, I can wholeheartedly recommend The Lost Tudor Princess: The Life of Lady Margaret Douglas, Alison Weir’s new biography of one of family’s lesser-known members.


at home

Pretty much all we talk about at dinner these days is Undertale. (Are your kids obsessed, too?)

Jason and I are on the last season of Smallville. I am all over the place about this show—I am glad we watched it because some of it has been really interesting (and I really love Ollie and Lois), but it is so uneven.

We are finally easing back into meal planning (after months of kitchen exile), and I love getting to make actual food again. (The bolognese from Ruth Reichl’s My Kitchen Year is my favorite cooking project so far, no question!)


homeschooling highlights

We’ve started watching an episode of Good Eats together most afternoons (a lot of episodes are free on Netflix now), and it’s become one of the most fun parts of our day. I love all the random information that sends us off on tangents together.

My friend’s daughter had so much fun in this Expressive Picture Book Characters Craftsy drawing class that I signed my daughter up, too.

We have been gearing up for Leap Day with some of these activities. The calendar math puzzling has been a surprise hit. Are you doing anything special for Leap Day?

Stuff We Like :: 2.12.16

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

After a couple of fun but way-too-busy weekends, I am looking forward to a completely lazy couple of days off this weekend. I'm enjoying getting (literally) back on my feet, but I need a recharge.

around the web

Obviously I am going to get excited if J.K. Rowling decides to reveal details about other wizarding world schools. (I’m sure my letter just got lost in the owl post.)

Now I really want a custom library tailored to my own weirdly specific interests, don’t you?

I can never get enough of weird Edgar Allan Poe theories.(This time: time-traveling!) 

This reimagining of the Doctors Who as American actresses of the same time isn’t new, but it’s new to me—and it’s awesome. (And now I want a Tina Fey Doctor SO BAD.)


at home/school/life

in the magazine: We’re so excited about our fall class line-up! (And we’re taking class proposals.)

on the blog: Everything you need to prepare for the Great Backyard Bird Count this weekend.

on pinterest: I’d love to recreate this adorable fox sweater for my daughter.


reading list

Like practically everyone else in the reading world, I couldn’t resist picking up Frances Hardinge’s The Lie Tree, a story about a 19th century English girl who gets caught up in the era’s intellectual battle between evolutionary theory and traditional faith when she sets out to solve the murder of her priest/amateur archaeologist father. I had some nits to pick, particularly with the resolution, but this one’s totally worth reading.

I am completely obsessed with Plotted: A Literary Atlas. Get on the list for it at your library now if you haven't already—it’s gorgeous!

My son and I have been reading Sees Behind Trees as part of our Native American study, and it’s one of the first books that he’s gotten completely caught up in. I love that he wants “one more chapter” every time.

I have a strange love of housekeeping books (strange because I do not have a love for actual housekeeping), and Erica Strauss’s The Hands-On Home: A Seasonal Guide to Cooking, Preserving & Natural Homekeeping is my new favorite. (My old favorite is the great Home Comforts, in case you wondered.)


at home

My daughter is so inspired by these anime-ed Harry Potter characters that she’s been anime-ing versions of all her favorite literary characters, from Daphne Grimm to Heidi. (They are pretty adorable, though, aren’t they?)

I’ve been recycling some of our old art projects into notepads with the good scissors and some padding compound, and I’m kind of addicted. I think I’m going to make my daughter’s lab sheets into a pad so that she can just tear them off, and I’ve already turned my weekly menu-planning printouts into a pad, too.(If you haven't used padding compound, which is basically the glue that sticks pages together to form a pad, you should try it—it is one of the easiest ways I know to feel productive and industrious without having to be productive or industrious.)

Now that I can hobble around, I am looking forward to (finally) seeing the Iris van Herpen exhibition at our local art museum.

Stuff We Like 2.5.16

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 busy, busy, busy around here — diving into the spring issue, making some big plans for this summer, booking a spring vacation, and getting into a high-intensity homeschool mode (which happens when one of the kids gets obsessed with a certain topic). It’s the good, happy kind of busy, which I love.

around the web

I totally believe in the health benefits of knitting. (It’s like meditation for people who have to be doing something to relax.)

And speaking of, I completely relate to this hilarious guided meditation for the anxious mind.

I’m slow getting around to reading "The Myth of Easy Cooking", but it’s so true! Sometimes dinner is just fuel, and that should be okay.

I’ve heard more than once that homeschooling is hard on schools because it means active parents are funneling their resources into homeschooling rather than into improving local schools, so I found this piece about rich parents, fundraising, and school inequality fascinating.


at home/school/life

in the magazine: The first articles for the spring issue are in!

on the blog: I really identify with Lisa's post about the joy of following your kids' passions.

on pinterest: I’m kind of in love with the idea of making tea time a thing. I feel like we need more regular rhythms right now. 


reading list

I have rarely looked forward to reading a book as much as I am looking forward to reading Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho, which Suzanne swears is a Jane-Austen-P.G.-Wodehouse-Georgette-Heyer delight but also with magic. It’s at the top of my weekend to-do list.

Speaking of delightful, we loved The Goblin’s Puzzle as a readaloud. I should give it a proper review.

A perfect combination: Bill Bryson + William Shakespeare in Shakespeare: The World as Stage. (It’s looking like a summer of Shakespeare at Casa Sharony.)


at home

This has been the season of frogging in my knitting life. I frogged my White Russian so that I could slim down the shouldersand just haven’t gotten the motivation to cast back on for that big cowl neck yet. And I frogged my Zick Zack scarf because as much as I loved it, I kept thinking that I would love it even more if there was more color and size variation in the stripes. That one I cast back on pretty much immediately, and I am so much happier with it, even though I have to reknit for miles to catch back up to where I was.

Apparently physical therapy makes me want to eat all the time. I cannot get enough roasted chickpeas or soy sauce eggs. (I use the recipe from Lucky Peach’s 101 Easy Asian Recipes, which is reprinted at the link, and they are totally addictive. Actually, this whole cookbook is pretty great.)

For Settlers of Catan nachos, I will even pretend to watch the Super Bowl.

Stuff We Like :: 1.22.16

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

We’re back with Stuff We Like after a much enjoyed holiday break. (Did you have a wonderful break? We sure did!)

around the web

I can totally get behind a television series about non-Caucasian Nancy Drew, but why would they make her thirtysomethibng?

I thought this piece from Fast Company about working and homeschooling got a lot right. (It also made me feel really lucky to have the life I have.)

The idea of a new planet is awesome, but I still really want Pluto back./

Not to get all serious, but this essay about casual racism really hit home for me. I try to be aware of my privilege, but I really struggle with how to deal with situations where someone who’s really a nice person is being racist in a way that seems genuinely unintentional. I feel like I would want someone to call me out—kindly—in that situation, but would I really? Anyway, no answers here but good questions are always the place to start.


at home/school/life

in the magazine: Our winter issue is out! But be warned: Your reading list might explode.

on the blog: Tracy’s post on rhythms and routines feels like just what I need as we ease back into our regular schedule.

on pinterest: I’m really tempted to try to Ikea hack a version of this awesome worktable—I love the picture book/workbook/curriculum shelf.


reading list

We’re finally taking Suzanne’s great advice and reading The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making. Delightful!

I loved Ruth Reichl’s novel Delicious!, and I am so glad I saved it for a time when I could just curl up with a book from start to finish.

I’m brushing up on Einstein for a piece in the spring issue, so I’m working my way through Walter Issaacon’s Einstein biography.


at home

True confession: I am a little obsessed with the game Tetrobot and Co. (Seriously, if you like computer puzzle games, do your life a favor and do not start playing this because you will never catch up on your laundry.)

I loved The Abominable Bride so much that I watched the New Year’s Sherlock special twice in row. I came to Sherlock as a fan of the Conan Doyle stories, so I loved the way this episode played with some of the ways the series deviates from the books. Plus: Victorian wardrobes!

I’m watching Wolf Hall (free on Amazon Prime!) because is someone made an infomercial about the Tudors, I probably would watch it twice.

Now that all my holiday knitting is done, I’ve cast on a White Russian for myself (but I think with longer sleeves). (Thea Coleman, babycocktails, may be the nicest designer on Ravelry, so if you are thinking of knitting a first sweater for yourself, consider her patterns — she gives awesome support. I knit a Cassis last year and love it.)

Stuff We Like :: Holiday Break Edition

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 taking a couple of weeks off to wrap up the winter issue and just chill (but we do have a few great blog posts scheduled over the next few weeks), so this will be our last Stuff We Like of 2015. We expect to like plenty of stuff in 2016, too, so we’ll be back to our regular posting in January.

around the web

Everybody is talking about Iceland’s Christmas Eve book flood, but that’s because it’s awesome.

I don’t really take selfies, but after reading this, I kind of want to.

Dream trip: The Alice in Wonderland guide to Oxford


at home/school/life

in the magazine: The winter issue may be my favorite issue yet—and it'll be out in just a few weeks. Right now I’m editing a really cool piece on planning your life after homeschool. (Because after homeschooling, you can do anything!)

on the blog: I am inspired by Lisa’s post on making your own wellness a priority—that’s something I really struggle with.

on pinterest: Now all I can think about is making homemade chocolate pop tarts.


reading list

I’m reading an odd little book about early 19th century murders that’s equal parts bizarre and fascinating. If you’re interested in a quirky history of the dark side of the Romantics, you too might enjoy Murder By Candlelight.

We started Sea of Trolls as a winter readaloud—even though it’s not build-a-fire weather at all around here, this seems like the perfect book to read by the fireplace. Maybe we’ll do it anyway.

Both the activity-ish books we got the kids for Hanukkah this year have been big hits: Finish This Book (for our teenager) and Don’t Let the Pigeon Finish This Activity Book (for the 8-year-old).


at home

We are settling in for a few days of much-needed vacation. On the agenda: Harry Potter movies, hot chocolate, cuddling, and starting my ZickZack scarf. (I couldn’t resist!)

My best friend and I are planning a Dollhouse marathon over the break. (Are you a Dollhouse fan? When I first watched it—when it originally aired—I was pretty bummed by what seemed like a lot of unrealized potential, but on further viewings, it’s really grown on me. I’m pretty interested in some of its ideas about identity and consent.)

I am practicing walking in the most comfortable, supportive shoes I have ever owned. Jas teases me that my Alegria Palomas are "prescription shoes" and they are definitely clunky looking, but wow, seriously comfortable.

New Year’s Eve is the best excuse to eat blinis with creme fraiche and smoked salmon.

Stuff We Like :: 12.11.15

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 am always seeking ways to help my children learn how to persevere, so I loved finding this article How creativity is helped by failure on BBC News. I even read the first four paragraphs to my son who happens to take pottery classes.

Another article that came to my attention lately was How do you raise a prodigy. I have never actually met a genius before, so I guess that’s why I found it so fascinating, but I also felt the article had some good advice for all parents.


at home/school/life

on the blog: I loved Shawne’s Mindful Homeschool: What Are You Afraid of?

the magazine: Hooray for our Curriculum Junkie’s latest review of EEME’s STEM-at-home Genius Light Kit. (Fall 2015 issue.) What a great resource for STEM-loving kids!



As you probably know by now, I have a documentary-loving family! This past week, we enjoyed re-watching Wildest Indo China (on Netflix) because it’s one of our favorites. And then we found a fun 2-part series on PBS titled Wild at Heart: Pets. My boys were giggling up a storm at the hamsters! (See Episode 1 and Episode 2.)

Right now we’re being blown away by the 3-part series Making North America! Geology lovers will especially love the first episode.

For fun we’ve been watching the The Next Food Network Star on Netflix. I think it’s actually teaching my son not only how difficult it is to work on television but the importance of being able to speak clearly and get your point across.


good reads

I’ve had the pleasure of reading one of my old favorites, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, to my nine-year-old, and he loves it. I have to explain a lot to him, especially since “causing mischief” is totally foreign to my “serious” child, but I think that’s also why he’s enjoying it so much.

As for adult fiction, I found buried on my shelf a book from one of my long-time favorite authors, Louise Erdrich. I first discovered her in my college Native American literature class, and I loved her early work. Some of her later work can be difficult for me to read, but I’m finding The Antelope Wife to be fascinating, if sometimes heartbreaking. I wouldn’t recommend it, if it’s the first book you’ve ever read by Erdrich though.



My six-year-old loves to draw. Sometimes he’ll produce stacks of artwork, and I’m left trying to find a place to put it all, but sometimes he’ll go awhile without producing anything.  Then something will spur him on again, and lately that’s been our art apps. (And I appreciate the savings on paper!) I love both of these apps, and both my boys like to use them: Art Set on iPad ($1.99) or the Pro Edition looks pretty cool for $6.99 and Sketchbook Express on Google Play (free).

Stuff We Like :: 12.4.15

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

It’s Jason’s birthday today and Hanukkah starts on Sunday, so it’s a party weekend here at Casa Sharony. I hope your family has plans for fun, too!

around the web

I may be obsessed with the education system in Finland—but articles like this make it seem kind of like learning paradise, don’t they?

“You're not irrational, you're just quantum probabilistic.”

This list of volunteer work for loners has some great ideas.

I am not surprised (but I am pleased) that Buffy kicked Dawson to the curb in Vulture’s best high school show battle.

You should know that my holiday menus will be inspired by Hermione Granger, Ramona Quimby, and Harriet Dufresnes , thanks to this guide to cooking like your favorite literary heroines.


at home/school/life

in the magazine: We’ve got so much good stuff coming up in the winter issue: a readaloud guide to Chinese history, inspiration for imagining your life after homeschooling, snow day science, the best winter field trips, and lots, lots more. (This looks like it’s going to be our longest issue yet!)

on the blog :Rebecca’s found a way to slow down and enjoy the holidays this year.

on pinterest: I wish someone would make me a batch of these salted caramels.


reading list

I discovered the Kindle edition of Greensleeves and spent a delicious evening rediscovering one of my favorite books from middle school. I had forgotten how much I loved this book.

I am on a cookbook buying spree, apparently: I picked up Lucky Peach Presents 101 Easy Asian Recipes, Mark Bittman's Kitchen Matrix, NOPI, Genius Recipes, and Gjelina. (At least a couple of them are for other people, I promise.) What’s on your cookbook radar these days?

We have commenced our annual December readaloud of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. I thought about switching it up this year and reading something different, but the kids were having none of it. And now that we’ve started, I’m glad — it wouldn’t feel like the holidays without it.


at home

We’re definitely deep into holiday making mode. Like a lot of people, we follow the “something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read” plan for minimizing stuff, but we also allow unlimited homemade gifts, which I like because they make everyone more excited about giving than getting. (Plus the “Keep Out” signs the kids come up with for their bedroom doors every year really crack me up.) I usually make one big knitted gift per person (this year, as you know, it’s sweaters for the kids and a scarf for Jas), a notebook of poetry, quotes, cartoons, memories, little notes, etc. for each person that I add to sporadically all year (I use these notebooks), and some kind of plush for the kids. This year, thanks to my forced downtime, I actually finished my making early for the first time ever.

And speaking of the holidays, few things are more fun than breaking out the Menorasaurus Rex for the first night of Hanukkah.

I’m so happy that the second season of Broadchurchis finally on Netflix. And people keep telling me to watch Jessica Jones—is it really that good?

I want to make this super cute Missoni-ish scarf so much. How cool is that a basically one-row pattern turns into such a cool chevron design?

Stuff We Like :: 11.20.15

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

Cross your fingers for me that by the time you’re reading this I’ll be getting permission to actually stand up—for the first time in 12 weeks! I love my family and my life, but being able to get to the bathroom on my own is totally what I’m thankful for this year.

around the web ::

If you know me, you might think that this history of yarn in video games was written just for me.

Have you ever wondered what to call all those different Lego pieces? You’re not the only one.

There was an actual light saber duel at the Fencing World Championships. 

I love these photos of immigrants arriving at Ellis Island.


at home/school/life ::

in the magazine: It’s the perfect gift for you or your favorite homeschooler: Get a subscription to home/school/life for just $12 through Nov. 30 with the code “thankyou.” Because we’re thankful for you!

on the blog :Lisa redefines her notion of having it all.

on pinterest: I think I’m definitely going to be making a couple of these Totoro plushies this year.


reading list ::

We’ve been listening to The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom (hilarious) and The Mysterious Benedict Society (again) while working on our holiday crafting.

I borrowed a page from Bryn’s book and am working my way through the Flavia de Luce mystery novels. They’re pretty delightful. I am just tucking into book four in the series.

Are you a Laurie Colwin fan? I picked up a copy of Home Cooking for my Kindle (on sale for $1.99 right now —love that!), which I read years ago and loved and now can’t believe I have gone so many years without rereading.


at home ::

Knitting update: Boxy finished. I’m halfway through my Ecken + Kanten, which is, as I suspected a totally fun knit. (I am striping it with color changes every two rows, so it seems like it's going really fast.) Fisherman's pullover cast on, but it’s kind of sitting in its bag right now. I am feeling ambitious and accomplished right now, so I am thinking of making a pair of Vancouver Specials for everyone—that overconfidence could change at any moment since I have both short rows and picking up stitches ahead of me.

Jason and I have been watching Jane the Virgin, which may be my favorite new show. Rogelio is definitely my favorite new character—#rogeliomybrogelio. (If you like sweet and snarky television, it’s worth checking out.)

We are planning an exciting week of board games and movies to celebrate Thanksgiving next week. I’ve been bummed about not cooking this year, but we’ve ordered a pretty impressive feast—and I’m starting to get behind the idea of not having to do all those dishes. I hope you have a terrific Thanksgiving, too!

Stuff We Like :: 11.13.15

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 is brought to you by Shawne, who always finds the coolest stuff.

around the web

I can’t get enough of Humans of New York. Seriously, this site (and the corresponding Facebook page) just keep getting better and better.

I’ve been couponing since last spring, and have saved over $500 so far (all on things we would have bought anyway). This site has been especially helpful in getting me up to speed and keeping me informed on where the savings are.

I found this post comparing a middle school reading list from 100 years ago to reading lists from today to be really eye-opening.


at home/school/life

in the magazine: The fall issue is blowing me away! Of course, I’m always excited to read the tech column (and not just because it’s written by my adult, homeschool graduate son), and this one is no exception. But I also really, really love this issue’s holiday gift guide, the whole inspiration section, and Amy’s “Time for an Upgrade” article.

on the blog: I’m finding Shelli’s Achieving Homeschool Academic Goals to be so helpful right now.


in the kitchen

I made a version of these yummy pinwheel sandwiches for a family reunion recently, and they were a big hit. They’re so versatile and easy to make, I think we’ll be taking pinwheels with us for lunch at the park (and to our homeschool classes) fairly often over the next few weeks.

I also made these delicious Brown Sugar Oatmeal Cookies last week, and had trouble stopping myself from eating them all. I added golden raisins and chocolate chips to kick it up a bit, but they would be just as good without.


at home

We are still on an old-school Disney movie kick with our youngest son. Most recently we’ve watched the 1960 version of Swiss Family Robinson, and the Kurt Russell/Disney trilogy – The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes, Now You See Him Now You Don’t, and The Strongest Man in the World. Surprisingly, the six-year-old loves these movies, and I love the nostalgia factor.

My husband and I finally binge-watched Ricky Gervais’ show Derek. Its subject matter may not be for everyone, but we found it to be a wonderfully written, sincerely acted, hilarious and often heartbreaking examination of relationships, aging, and simple life-lessons.

If you’re in the mood for a cute and quirky, beautifully filmed movie about a 10-year-old boy who leaves home to travel across country to the Smithsonian, to accept an award for a perpetual motion machine that he invented, then you’ll want to watch The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet. Be aware that, even with the PG rating, it may not be a good fit for some families. (One of the characters dies [it happens off-screen, but is still really sad], and one of the adults uses some bad words towards the end). My husband and I watched it alone, but I imagine our six-year-old may want to check it out when he’s a little older.



I can’t begin to express how excited I am that J.K. Rowling has released a new illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. I pre-ordered this book as soon as I read about it last January, and it finally arrived last week. And with over 100 gorgeous, full color illustrations by Jim Kay, I was not disappointed. I’m thinking of buying a 2nd copy just so I can frame some of the pages and hang them in our homeschooling nook at home.

My six-year-old has discovered The Notebook of Doom series from Scholastic, and can’t get enough. He chose book #1, Rise of the Balloon Goons, for his kids book club meeting last month, and now we’re moving on to books 2 and 3 and beyond.