The History of Us

The History of Us

When my kiddos were between the ages of 2 and 11 and the basket beside our fireplace burgeoned with library books, a good friend from church set me a task: How can a homeschool mom with a bundle of children (and all the work that comes along with them) go about teaching the classics, especially if she didn’t get a great books education herself?…

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What Should a Student Read Before Going to College?

What Should a Student Read Before Going to College?

I’m often asked, “What does my high schooler need to read before college?,” as though there were one or two novels out of the hundreds and hundreds of spectacular works in the Western tradition without which any primary educational journey would be void of meaning. I don’t mean to ridicule the impulse to choose wisely what we offer our students. We clearly should. But I do sense an undercurrent of misunderstanding about the educational project in questions like these…

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Self-Judgment and Hamlet's Mutiny

Self-Judgment and Hamlet's Mutiny

My last blog post on The Hovel is dated April 17, 2017 – over one year ago. There are plenty of reasons and justifications for my silence: I’ve been busy working on more pressing projects, Ian and I moved across the country again, we bought our first house, etc., etc. If I’m honest, though, there’s one sad underlying cause for my lack of productivity that trumps all the other excuses: I have become Hamlet…

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The Triumph of Coco

The Triumph of Coco

Picture this: a young child, just beginning to develop his own taste, personality, and interests, takes up an art and begins to pursue it with all the intensity and excitement of youth. Along the way, however, he feels rejected and oppressed by his family, who vocally oppose his dreams of a grand future in which his art becomes his sole focus. “Wealth and fame might look alluring now,” they say, “but getting rich as an artist isn’t as easy as it looks, and the lifestyle holds far less actual happiness than you assume!” You know the rest, right?…

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Restoration and Remembrance in Cinderella

Restoration and Remembrance in Cinderella

I’m currently in the middle of a unit in some of my literature classes where we are reading and discussing fairy tales. Reading and talking about fairy tales is quite possibly my very favorite thing to do ever. I might be only a tiny little bit hyperbolic about that. Just a smidge. I could honestly do nothing but teach fairy tales all year, every year, and be perfectly happy. We kicked off our unit with “Cinderella.” The girls in my classes were thrilled when I announced the title. The boys, on the other hand, groaned. “Just you wait,” I said. “You only think you’ve heard ‘Cinderella.’”…

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Deconstructing A Wrinkle in Time

Deconstructing A Wrinkle in Time

“The resonant voice rose and the words seemed to be all around them so that Meg felt that she could almost reach out and touch them: ‘Sing to the Lord a new song, his praise from the end of the earth, ye who go down to the sea, and all that is therein; the isles, and the inhabitants thereof. Let the wilderness and the cities thereof lift their voice; let the inhabitants of the rock sing, let them shout from the top of the mountains. Let them give glory unto the Lord!’” So reads Madeleine L’Engle’s timeless classic, A Wrinkle in Time, a work of science fiction for juvenile readers... 

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