The Forgotten Door. Mary Poppins. The Darkest Hour. The Secret Lives of Church Ladies. At Home in Mitford. The Midnight Library. The Glass Castle.
After our local public school buildings had been closed for more than a year, we opted to keep our kids home for another two months. Why? Will this be a setback in their education?
Why, yes, the young Earthlings over here are still distance learning, and we’re glad they’re staying home and staying safe and leaving space in the schools for the kids who more strongly need to get back in-person...but some days are difficult. Today, there were three times in three hours when we checked on our first-grader … Continue reading Distance Learning Dance Party!
As the novel coronavirus that attacked Earth in 2019 continues into 2021, we're still staying home a lot of the time and seeing hardly anyone outside our family, and it's really getting old! Yes, I was able to write a cheery article about celebrating holidays with just your household, and I mean every word of … Continue reading The Upstairs Room and other pandemic reading
You might think kids doing distance learning don't need "school lunches"--but our kids showed us in the spring that they need more structure.
Games are great for practicing our ability to follow rules and compete fairly--but sometimes, we learn by breaking the rules. Join my 6-year-old, dinosaurs, Time Repair Agents, and Christmas carolers on board a ship in the year 345....
About ten days ago, I read my newly six-year-old Lydia a science fiction short story that she's since asked her father, older brother, and me to read again and again. It's available free to read online: "A Pail of Air" by Fritz Leiber. My father read this story to me many times, beginning one night … Continue reading Pandemic Perspective: A Pail of Air
I've been reading a whole variety of books lately, both to myself and to my kindergartner Lydia. We Need to Talk by Celeste HeadleeA radio host and expert interviewer tells us "how to have conversations that matter" in this book that has a lot of good advice but might have worked better as a shorter … Continue reading Book Reviews All Over the Place!
Starting a new year, especially a new decade, always makes me want to look back at what's changed. I also love reading books to my kids that I and/or other relatives enjoyed when we were young. Here we have a book looking back at the 1920s that belonged to my paternal grandparents, a book that … Continue reading Old Books I’ve Been Reading in 2020
Lydia is in kindergarten now and easily picking up the "sight words" and phonics as they're taught. There's no need to pressure her to pick up reading any faster, but I pounced on this opportunity to help her practice by doing something she was really interested in doing! The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien is one … Continue reading How playing Gollum can boost reading skills
I said that in 2019 I was going to write a series on this topic, and here it is New Year's Eve and I haven't! So here's my outline, and feel free to comment with questions about these topics, and I'll get to work on this in 2020! UPDATE: I've now filled in the outline … Continue reading 15 Ways to Build a Smarter Kid
As we wrap up the second decade of the twenty-first century, I've been reading and thinking about things like the effects of immigration policy on science and marriage, how the struggle against racism has changed over time, and what weird new technologies may emerge in the 2020s. Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler The cover emphasizes … Continue reading Vinegar Girl, Bright April, Tell the Machine Goodnight [book reviews]
My family spends a lot less time in the car than the American average, but we get into our car for hours-long errand binges some weekends and several long road trips each year. For the past three school years, my son had to be driven through urban rush-hour traffic to a weekly activity at dinnertime. … Continue reading Cutting Back on Car Snacks
My daughter Lydia is about to start kindergarten and is not really reading yet, only recognizing about 10 words. That's fine. When I was her age, I was reading on about a fourth-grade level, and that was fine, too--except that I got bored with the books in my classroom. My father mentioned to a co-worker … Continue reading Trixie Belden and the Little Fires Within You [book reviews]
There are various methods for teaching a child how to do household tasks and motivating her to be involved in the daily work of maintaining the family home. One that's worked well for me is this: Show the child how to solve a problem she created, and then extend her new skill into routine maintenance. … Continue reading How to Get Preschoolers to Help with Housework
Here are four books I read to myself and two I read to my daughter Lydia in the past month. Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty Nine people check into a ten-day wellness retreat in rural Australia. Three of them are a family, two others are a couple, but otherwise they've never met before. Each … Continue reading Books for Myself; Books to Read to my 5-year-old
Next week, I'll be starting a new job! That's great news in general, but it means I only have two days left to savor my daily bus ride with my four-year-old Lydia, bringing her home from preschool. My new job's location makes it too difficult and time-consuming for me to get to Lydia's school by … Continue reading Two Books for Me, Two for My Four-Year-Old
After I wrote about a stranger's astonishment that my four-year-old daughter understands what I read to her, and the book involved happened to be On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder, my mom sent me a link to an article about the recent controversy over whether Wilder's books are appropriate for today's … Continue reading Cultural Sensitivity and Laura Ingalls Wilder
Tonight I attended a meeting at my son's school (grades K-8) about the decision to hire a full-time security guard and get a metal detector. I meant to do some research before the meeting on the extent to which schools with metal detectors have experienced shooting rampages, compared to schools without. I ended up not … Continue reading Do metal detectors prevent school shootings?
I love the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder and have treasured the experience of sharing them with my children. Little House on the Prairie was the first chapter book that interested Nicholas enough for me to read it to him. His sister Lydia's first chapter book was Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of … Continue reading Little House on the Prairie: Too racist for children?