summer reading

July 3, 2014

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“Which is all well and glorious, these homeschooling days of wonder. But there are other days wracked with a whole different sort of wonder, particularly if you are a parent. Why can’t he write a paragraph by himself if schoolkids his age can? Should I push her to read instead of listening to audiobooks for hours on end? Do I really need to teach long division if it makes him throw things and his mental estimates come pretty close? Does watching back-to-back episodes of Myth Busters count as science? Will he always do the least amount of work necessary to get what he wants? And does that prove that he’s lazy—or incredibly smart?”

Do you feel teased? That’s a paragraph from my first column for home/school/life magazine. A column in which I lay out how the word wonder shows up so often, in so many getups, in our homeschooling life. If you want to read more, you can click here, subscribe, and have the whole magazine zip into your device faster than you can zip that device into your beach bag. Oh, please put my column into your beach bag! How I’d love to accompany you to swimming lessons, or to the ocean, or up to the lake, or even to the playground down the street, the one with the concrete slide.

Honestly, I do hope you feel teased enough to check out the magazine. Even before I got the writing job I was gushing over how it’s the homeschooling magazine I wish I’d had when we started out. Fresh, smart, inspiring, gorgeous to look at. (Just what you want in your beach bag, if not personified on the chaise lounge beside your beach bag.) Plus, it encompasses a variety of homeschooling styles, which I find refreshing. More teasing: Amy, the magazine’s editor, offers 11 reasons to love the summer issue.

Speaking of summer reading, I seem to be on a food memoir kick. (Food! Memoir! Two of my favorite things! Two great tastes in one candy bar!) I started off with Delancey, by Molly Wizenberg of Orangette. Longtime readers here already know how charmed I am by Molly’s writing. Hearing the inside story on how she and her husband opened their restaurant is particularly compelling–and it made me glad that even though my husband talks about opening a breakfast joint, he doesn’t really mean it. Then I read Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef by Gabrielle Hamilton–a different sort of story of finding one’s way into a restaurant. Man, there is some gorgeous writing in that book! It’s lush and evocative and I highlighted lines like a zealous college student. I wish they’d organized the book as a collection of essays, rather than a memoir; it sometimes feels disjointed, as if there are important parts missing, and others that are repeated unnecessarily. Still, I was happy to put up with that to read lines like, “The heavy agenda I’d brought–and had been carrying around for years–effortlessly slipped from my body and disappeared, like a dinner napkin, under the table.”

Writing like that makes me loll my head back in my lounge chair and sigh.

So, tell me, what books do you have there in your beach bag?



this is 49

June 9, 2014
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Recently I had a birthday. Also recently I read This is 38, a post I loved from Lindsey Mead on being, well, thirty-eight.  And then I read This is 57, from Cynthia Newberry Martin. Here’s one for the decade in between. This is 49. 49 is watching my oldest graduate from college. 49 is not [...]

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just another witness to homeschooling

May 2, 2014
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I’m kicking off this post with a quote from a pope. I’ll bet that wasn’t what you expected when you showed up here today, and I hope you’ll bear with me. I’m going somewhere with this, and it has nothing to do with religion. Last Sunday at Mass, this line came up in the homily. [...]

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lemony snicket is our man

April 7, 2014
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Since we’ve been talking about college application essays, I might also add that Lulu wrote two application essays on Lemony Snicket. Apparently this was a bad idea, as she got wait-listed at both schools. Then again, one might assume that a school which wait-lists applicants who write essays on Lemony Snicket has a severe lack [...]

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in which she bashes traditional schooling

March 31, 2014
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photo by Lulu When we last met here, I was tearing my hair out at the wait for Lulu’s college application results. I knew there might be a few restless nights of sleep involved, but I never imagined how much I would worry about the essay she’d written for her Common App. L. heard from [...]

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the wait

March 21, 2014
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It’s mid-March and a hellish time if you happen to be seventeen or eighteen years old and have applied to colleges. Some colleges have started sending out their acceptances and rejections, via email and sometimes letter. Most are coming in the next week or so. Meanwhile my girl waits, on the very precipice of the [...]

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March 7, 2014
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For years Chris has told me that we should hire a housecleaner. Before you read too much into that, it’s not that I’m a terrible housekeeper. I’m just, like everyone, busy. It’s also not that he is an unhelpful husband. No, I managed to marry one of those rare, neater-than-his-wife husbands, the sort of husband [...]

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writing ideas: infographics

February 7, 2014
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So, what do you do when you homeschool and you have a kid who doesn’t take to projects? Who loves to read and research and talk, but has utterly no interest in taking those ideas and making a model, or painting a picture, or crafting a handmade book? When you have a kid whose interests [...]

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January 16, 2014
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You know how when a new year rolls around, some people come up with a word for that year? Something that will guide them and give a mission to their year? My online friend Amy of mama scout selected story as her guiding word this year. I’ve tried this in the past, but apparently it didn’t [...]

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