sylvia plath

Monday Pep Talk No. 11

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

Like that extra cup of coffee, our Monday Pep Talk will help you get motivated to tackle the week.  

3 fun things to do this week

Celebrate Virus Appreciation Day (Oct. 3) by conducting an experiment to see how rapidly viruses can spread. You’ll have to adapt this Tracking a Virus experiment to use with a smaller group (we taped drawings to our cups to represent different characters from Harry Potter), but it’s a pretty fun chemistry experiment that lets you see how viruses spread and how to track-back an infection to its source.

Celebrate Name Your Car Day (Oct. 2) by screening a flick starring a classic car with a name: friendly VW Herbie is the star of The Love Bug, or you can start your Halloween spookfest early with Christine.

Enjoy the changing leaves! Make a fall leaf animal alphabet with this fun tutorial from Martha Stewart.

 

3 ideas for this week’s dinners

If you need a new idea for chicken (and who doesn’t?), this mustard-dill chicken may be just what you’re looking for.

Give your potato night an autumn twist with loaded sweet potatoes with spiced chickpeas, broccoli, and lemony tahini.

You could definitely add in chicken or lamb, but I think these portobello gyros sound pretty much perfect as-is.

 

one great readaloud

The It-Doesn’t-Matter Suit by Sylvia Plath (yes! Sylvia Plath!) is a whimsically delightful picture book. (It’s out of print, but you can still find used copies for sale or look for it at the library.)

 

one thought to ponder

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

spiked snickerdoodle milkshake


Unit Study Idea: Mushrooms

Resources for an elementary level unit study about mushrooms. Love that it includes living books as well as more traditional resources. #homeschool

Like strange flowers or magical dwellings, mushrooms are endlessly enchanting — and an ideal subject for nature study since you can delve as deep as you’re inspired. Even better: 2015 has been a bumper year for ’shrooms in some parts of the country, so there's never been a better time to add mushrooms to your curriculum.

Reading List

Mushroom in the Rain by Mirra Ginsburg A little ant shares his mushroom umbrella with other forest creatures during a rainstorm.

The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet by Eleanor Cameron Two boys use their science skills to build a spaceship that takes them to a mushroom-filled planet, where they must help the inhabitants solve an environmental crisis.

Mushrooms of the World with Pictures to Color by Jeannette Bowers Learn to recognize more than one hundred different types of mushroom with this coloring book.

Katya’s Book of Mushrooms by Katya Arnold Gorgeous illustrations make this book by a Russian mushroom enthusiast worth seeking out.

Our Living World: Fungi by Jenny E. Tesar A practical, information-rich book, this volume is a nice introduction to mycology.

World Treasury of Mushrooms in Color by Bernard Dupre Just flipping through this book makes you aware of the impressive variety of mushrooms.

Mushrooms by Sylvia Plath This simple poem paints a vivid picture of fungi life.

 

Activity Ideas

Grow a Mushroom Garden: Grow your own edible garden of mushrooms with an easy-to-set-up kit. One to try: The Back to the Roots Organic Mushroom Farm

Make a Spore Print: Mushroom spores make beautiful prints. Mature mushrooms make the best prints, but it’s not always easy — even for pros — to tell which mushrooms are at their peak, so collect plenty of specimens and hope for the best. Martha Stewart has a handy tutorial for making spore prints on her website.

Practice Your Identification Skills: Identifying mushrooms is surprisingly challenging — there are so many varieties of fungi, and sometimes you need to know whether a mushroom is fully developed or just starting out to identify it correctly. But the challenge is part of the fun, and kids will learn as much trying to make an identification as they will successfully I.D.-ing a mushroom.

Learn from the Experts: Join the North American Mycological Association, and you’ll have access to all kinds of mushroom-focused learning materials, events, and publications. A family membership is just $30.


What You Should Read in High School

Great homeschool reading list for high school. #homeschool

In the summer issue of home/school/life, we're helping you figure out the best way for your family to homeschool high school — and for us, what to read is an essential piece of the puzzle. By high school, your reading list should reflect your teen’s interests, but we think these books are worthy contenders. 

The Great Gatsby
By F. Scott Fitzgerald
 

Why you should read it: Fitzgerald’s novel about love, success, and the Jazz Age is arguably the quintessential American novel, reflecting both the spirit of the American dream and the high cost paid for it.

 

Of Mice and Men
By John Steinbeck
 

Why you should read it: This simple-on-the-surface novella lends itself to deeper reading and raises compelling questions about friendship, love, and what happens when life doesn’t work out the way you’d imagined.

 

Why you should read it: Vonnegut writes in his introduction to this book that “there is nothing intelligent to say about a massacre” — and then proves himself completely wrong in the following funny, curious, heartbreaking pages that mix fact and fiction.

 

Brave New World
By Aldous Huxley
 

Why you should read it: Everyone is happy in this futuristic fantasy — and that’s terrifying. If you don’t recognize in this dystopia pieces of our own modern world — mood-lifting meds, technologically assisted everything — go back and look again.

 

Why you should read it: The brilliant, self-destructive narrator of this book is intriguingly complicated. Equal parts fascinating and repugnant, he’s the kind of complex character you can talk about for hours.

 

Why you should read it: Beckett’s masterpiece lacks sensible characters, a logical plotline, and a coherent setting, but teasing it out will uncover the genius — and hilarity — of this absurd play.

 

Why you should read it: Gleefully, manically, Heller reveals the absurdity of war through the twisty-turny stories of a group of World War II fighter pilots.

 

Why you should read it: Perhaps no author better captures the downward spiral of depression into madness than Plath does in this semi-autobiographical novel.

 

The Metamorphosis
By Franz Kafka
 

Why you should read it: Teenagers can really identify with Gregor Samsa, who wakes up one morning to find himself transformed into something else entirely, reviled by his family, and forced to question his own identity.

 

Why you should read it: If you read only one book in high school, it should be this one, which inspires all the questions that matter: Who am I? How do I live well? What is art? What is the meaning of my life?

 

Things Fall Apart
By Chinua Achebe
 

Why you should read it: The stark, simple tale of Igbo boy Okonokwo is both a richly resonant reflection of African culture and an indictment of European colonialism.

 

The Handmaid's Tale
By Margaret Atwood
 

Why you should read it: What’s terrifying about Atwood’s dystopian future, in which a totalitarian religious regime controls women’s lives completely, is how believable it is.

 

Why you should read it: What does it mean to be human? Dick’s twisted, dark tale of an android-hunter on a mission to take down rogue robots dives fearlessly into the question of self.

 

All Quiet on the Western Front
By Erich Maria Remarque
 

Why you should read it: This coming-of-age novel (set in World War I Germany) perfectly captures the experience of modern war — from the patriotic elation of joining up to the despair and disillusionment of the trenches.

 

Why you should read it: OK, this one’s not an easy read. But slow down, dig in, and let the rhythms of Faulkner’s language wash over you.

 

The Brothers Karamazov
By Fyodor Dostoevsky
 

Why you should read it: Kurt Vonnegut said that this Russian novel can teach you everything you need to know about life. I think he might be on to something.