The hero’s journey is so prevalent in film and books that it makes a great jumping off point for a comparative literature study, and these texts are a great place to begin.
Our 9th grade homeschool reading list is heavy on U.S. history and literature, with an effort to bring in diverse voices and stories. (Plus lots of physical science and a Studio Ghibli lit class!)
around the web
People used to call me a grammar vigilante because I’d pull over while driving to complain to someone about a pluralizing apostrophe (what is up with that, though?), but this guy totally puts me to shame.
Who’s up for an HSL field trip?
Why do women’s dystopias seem so prescient right now?
I love this: What famous authors’ most used words say about them
on the blog: Celebrate Shakespeare’s birthday with some of our favorite film adaptations
one year ago: 4 ways to get your homeschool mornings off to a great start
two years ago: Inside Shelli’s project-based homeschool
I loved The Lost City of Z (which is the kind of twisty, nerdy historical mystery I can’t resist, and which you should definitely read if you’re also into that), so I was excited to pick up David Grann’s new book Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI.
Continuing my “women writers I’d never heard of” run, I read Rumer Godden’s In This House of Brede, about a successful career woman who retires from the world to join a community of Benedictine nuns just in time to help solve the financial crisis caused by the death of the order’s charismatic Abbess. It's one of those books that you want to go back and read again right away just so that you don’t have to leave the world and people it’s created.
It’s funny to be reading The Adventures of Tom Sawyer with my son so soon after rereading Huckleberry Finn because I am still full of post-Huck Tom hatred. (Seriously, let’s go drink too much wine and complain about how terrible Tom Sawyer is, can we?) I’m trying to embrace the lighthearted spirit especially because my son is kind of digging it, but I AM NOT A FAN.
in the kitchen
I am in the restocking the freezer phase of cooking right now, and I was happy to discover this recipe that uses leftover brisket because I may have gone a little overboard with the brisket this year.
Nobody else in my family will eat this, but that’s okay because I want it all for myself anyway.
Cookie of the week: glazed lemon cookies
I am a sucker for time travel and Victoriana, so obviously it was only a matter of time before I watched Time After Time. (If it sounds familiar, it’s because the television series is based on the 1979 movie and has the same premise: Jack the Ripper steals H.G. Wells’ time machine and travels to the present day; Wells follows him to bring him back to face justice for his crimes.) It’s just OK, but it’s fun enough for those collapsed-on-the-couch evenings.
Am I being totally superficial if I say that I have finally found my perfect everyday lipstick?
I don’t know what it is about this time of year, but everything always feels so hectic! I’m looking forward to the winding-down phase of all our school-year activities and the slower-paced summer school days. Though I am not looking forward to the crowds at the library!
Happy Friday! We're looking forward to getting all dressed up for Purim this weekend—what's on your to-do list?
around the web
Great tips for talking to your librarian about getting more diverse books on the shelves at your local library.
How to write great protest signs
No, but seriously, I think the best compliment I ever got was when someone told me I reminded him of Daria.
Relevant to my interests: Neil Gaiman talks about Norse mythology
on the blog: Voting for Round Two of HOMESCHOOL MADNESS opens this afternoon!
on Facebook: My annual dithering about starting an HSL forum—what’s your opinion?
one year ago: Rebecca reviews the Art of Problem Solving’s Beast Academy. (She was so convincing, we ended up using it in our homeschool!)
two years ago: Shelli rounded up some practical, real-life tips for making a little room for me-time in your homeschool life
I’m finally getting around to reading Susan Wise Bauer’s The History of the Ancient World, and I am happy to report that it has a much more reasonable number of exclamation points than Story of the World. (I know it's not for everyone, but I love Story of the World, used it with both my kids, and recommend it all the time, but it definitely does that thing where when you want to sound casual and chatty, you add more exclamation points. I do this in email all the time, so no judgment!) I think it’s a solid history, anchored around pivotal people and moments, which to me are the most interesting parts of history.
I’ve heard so many good things about Exit West that I picked up a copy even though I cannot justify adding another book to my To Read pile if I ever want to use my nightstand for anything else.
I’m helping one of my old students catch up on American literature this spring, so that means I get to read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn again. My daughter is reading a collection of Mark Twain essays, so this is one of those lovely (and rare) moments when I get to feel like I’ve totally got my homeschooling act together.
in the kitchen
Dinner: Changing the Game is my new cookbook obsession. (I could eat the escarole salad with runny egg and crispy, spicy chickpeas for every meal right now.)
These black bean and brown rice cakes are the latest in our hunt for the perfect veggie burger. (I really liked them, but the rest of the family was kind of meh.)
Cookie of the Week: compost cookies
I’m sort of obsessed with the Walden computer game. (You can still get in on the Early Access Alpha phase!)
I get to buy books for Jason’s new school’s library, and it is the BEST JOB EVER.
Instead of just talking about books, I thought I'd do a little round-up of all the things we've been loving in our homeschool life this past month. (Feel free to share yours in the comments!)
1 :: Cold weather makes me want to knit, and I've been churning out new hats for the whole family. We all have a new Ripley to keep our heads warm. (I love patterns like this, that are utterly simple but have a little twist that makes them seem more complicated than they are.)
3 :: This fall, my best friend and I both celebrated milestone birthdays, and we've been cheering each other up by making mixtapes with Dar Williams' "You're Aging Well" on them. Because, darn it, we are.
4 :: Much reading, of course, is happening. We read The Beasts of Clawstone Castle as our not-at-all-scary Halloween readaloud, and we're still working our way through The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn together. I'm putting together a creative nonfiction class for our homeschool group, so I've been reading a lot about writing, including Several Short Sentences About Writing, which I picked up when Patricia recommended it a few years ago and am just getting around to reading. We've also had a lot of fun putting together the skeletons from Excavate! Dinosaurs: Paper Toy Paleontology.
5 :: Do you know about DIY Scouts? We are kind of obsessed with it.
7 :: I've been stocking the freezer with heat-and-heat meals for the upcoming holiday crunch. (I actually like cooking, but some days, the prospect of making dinner makes me want to hide in the basement.) So we've been having easy-ish dinners, like quinoa-stuffed sweet potatoes (I often add bacon because, well, bacon) and baked avocado and egg with miso butter.
8 :: I am officially a rabid fan of bullet journals. I have never been able to find a calendar/planner that really worked for me, but I have been using the bullet journal method (with this little Moleskine because I buy them in bulk, but you could really use any notebook) for six months and can't believe how well it works with my life.
9 :: We are really enjoying using The Nature Connection: An Outdoor Workbook for Kids, Families, and Classrooms by Clare Walker Leslie. I am not a naturally outdoorsy kind of person, and the whole nature study thing sometimes feels overwhelming to me. I like the simple, practical suggestions this book has for studying nature with your kids, and I love that it's helped us make our nature journals a daily habit.
10 :: Of all the holiday gift-making I'm working on right now, I think this little cold-weather outfit by the fabulous Alicia Paulson is my favorite. So much cute!