Clerihews

I haven’t finished reading G.K. Chesterton’s autobiography yet, but, as usually happens when I read nonfiction, one thing led to another.  In the chapter on his boyhood and school days, Chesterton mentions: “The first of my friends, with whom I fought in the field, has since written the best detective story of modern times and…

Burgess Bird Book

In all of my childhood, I never heard of Thornton Burgess. It took motherhood and homeschooling for me to become acquainted with his genius and I am very sorry that I missed out on knowing him sooner. I personally do not love his writing voice, but I love his approach to the natural world and…

Spelling V: Blended Families

Part five of our Spelling series: Blended Families You’ve been working with your child on the single-sound consonants and the first sounds of vowels.  He knows that most of the e’s on the ends of words are silent but busy.  He’s wanting to know how to spell everything and trying to read signs and cereal…

How The West Was Won

In April, 1959, Life Magazine started what they called “a great new series” entitled “How The West Was Won”. The series included photos and stories of the American expansion into the West. A story of the struggle between the settlers, wagon trains, railway lines, cowboys, ranchers, and Native Americans who were all fighting for different…

Rory Story Cubes

Several years ago I *really* discovered Rory Story Cubes from a homeschool friend. Until that time, I understood that these funny little dice were a family game. Gathered around a table, families would roll the dice and then make up stories based on the pictures rolled. Interesting, potentially fun, but also anxiety producing in my…

Keeper of the Bees

  Kathy Andrews is a co-founder of Potato Peel Pie Book Community and writes today about our upcoming August book club, Gene Stratton Porter’s Keeper of the Bees.  “But I don’t know a thing about bees!  I don’t know a damn thing about bees!” James Lewis MacFarlane, recently self-discharged from the hospital, finds himself given a…

Spelling IV: Let’s Get Started

Let’s Get Started I’ve established that simply telling children, “English spelling doesn’t make sense, just learn it,” doesn’t work for me.  I have also asserted that teaching phonics is essential.  After my foray into a bit of the history of English, someone commented, “Fine, but I still don’t know how to teach spelling.” All right…

Enemy Brothers

“England and her Allies aren’t just fighting the Axis countries – they’re fighting the evil spirits that have laid hold of Germany and Italy and Japan.” War always turns things on their heads. Real life during WWII was especially good at turning things inside out and upside down. During that creatively brutal time, so many…