CM on the Goodness (and Badness) of Children

Dear Reader,

I am (re)working my way through Charlotte Mason’s 20 Principles with the aid of this study guide from Brandy at Afterthoughts Blog. I shared some new thoughts I had had on the first principle, “Children are born persons,” here. Now it is time for that tricky second principle: “Children are not born either good or bad, but with possibilities for good and for evil.”

As many have said before, this principle is often a stumbling block because we tend to immediately think of it in theological terms – that Charlotte is saying that children are able to choose between moral good and bad and that therefore they could choose not to sin. The usual response to this is that Charlotte is not talking in theological terms. Ambleside Online says that:

“Principle 2 should not be understood as a theological position on the doctrine of original sin, but as a belief that even poor children who were previously thought incapabale of living honest lives could choose right from wrong.”

AO goes on to pint out that Miss Mason was a member of the Anglican Church which holds to the doctrine of original sin.

Karen Glass also addresses this issue in her article “Why Did She Have to Say That.” She says that to properly understand this statement we must understand its opposite, the idea which Charlotte is here rejecting, namely that children are born with a propensity for either good or evil. This was the idea in Charlotte’s day, that some children were born good but others evil and that these latter had no hope of improvement, intellectually or morally.

Now I think both these interpretations of Charlotte’s position are true to an extent, but I wonder if we absolve her too easily. There seems to have been an assumed equation in Charlotte’s day which she is rejecting. It is a three part equation that says poor=stupid=sinful (and, conversely, rich=intelligent=good). That is, children who were born into poverty were assumed to be uneducatable and incorrigible, meaning literally “untrainable” or unable to be disciplined in a moral sense. Thus many assumed that the children of, for instance, a miner were both unable to be educated and were apt to be morally depraved. Illegitimate children, of which rumor has it Charlotte herself may have been one, were also deemed uneducatable. It is worth noting that if the rumors are true, Charlotte herself had a horse in this race. As much as I love her ideas, we must acknowledge that she may not have approached this issue completely dispassionately. While illegitimacy no doubt often corresponded to poverty as well, we see here the connection between moral degradation and intellectual inferiority.

What I’d like to suggest is that while Charlotte breaks with her time in taking a strong position that all children were educatable, she does not sever the connections completely. In essence she breaks the first half of the equation and says that poor does not mean stupid nor does it mean immoral. But she does not break the tie between education and morality.

I have before my Charlotte’s sixth volume, Towards a Philosophy of Education. It is actually my least favorite; I think something has changed for Charlotte by the time she wrote it. Truth be known, something has changed for the whole world. And that thing is WWI. The Great War, as they called it, really rattled European society. Charlotte’s educational philosophy predates the war but in this sixth volume, we see that she has a new fervor for promoting her ideas which I think the war has engendered. It caused people to see the evil in society and in themselves; they were horrified at the scale of the bloodshed and sought desperately for ways to prevent such atrocities from ever happening again (oh, how little did they know what was coming!). For many, Charlotte among them, education was the answer.

We are all quick to say, when we read this 2nd principle, “Oh, she didn’t mean it theologically,” but the truth is Charlotte herself never makes this distinction; she never says “I don’t mean this theologically.” She never says “But of course I believe in original sin” or “I am not here talking about moral goodness and badness.” Why not? My proposal is that she does not say such things, does not even address the issue and waylay our qualms, because she sees no real distinction. She is still a victim of her times to some extent and to her educational or intellectual goodness still equals moral goodness. Which is to say if a child can choose the good intellectually, then they can recognize and choose the moral good as well. The Bible talks of children being of an age to choose the good and reject the bad. Depending on the conetxt, this can mean various things. I always think of very little ones who will stick everything in their mouths; they are not able to discern what is good to eat and what isn’t. As they grow they learn discernment. So too we hope that chidlren will learn that Dickens is more nourishing than Captain Underpants. This is an intellectual discernment that sees the goodness, the truth, the beauty in one piece of work and the lack therof in another. It is much like how our consciences work – we are to discern what is morally good and true from that which is not. But we modern folks see these as distinct things – one can love Shakespeare but still be a pretty morally depraved person. I’m not sure Charlotte saw that line as we do. So when she, like her contemporaries, saw the depravity fo the human soul on display in the Great War, she turned to education as the answer. If we can feed the next generation on goodness, intellecutal goodness, then we will also bolster moral goodness was the idea.

The section I am reading in that sixth volume begins thus:

“A well-known educationalist has brought heavy charges against us all on the score that we bring up children as ‘children of wrath.’ He probably exaggerates the effect of any such teaching, and the ‘little angel’ theory is fully as mischevious.” ( Towards a Philosophy of Education, p. 42)

How can we read this and not think that Charlotte is talking about moral goodness or badness? She goes on to say:

“The fact seems to be that children are like ourselves, not because they have become so, but because they are born so; that is, with tendencies, dispositions, towards good and towards evil, and also with intuitive knowledge as to which is good and which is evil. There are good and evil tendencies in body and mind, heart and soul; and the hope set before us is that we can foster the good so as to attenutate the evil; that is, on condition that we put Educaton in her true place as the handmaid of Religion.” (p. 42; emphasis mine)

Charlotte here equates various kinds of goodness including goodness of the mind and the soul. Furthermore she says that education must serve religion. She assumes that it can serve religion.

Nor was she alone in this belief. In an earlier post on Puritan education I included this quote from Richard Baxter:

“‘Education is God’s ordinary way for the conveyance of his grace and ought no more to be set in opposition to the Spirit than the preaching of the Word.’” (Leland Ryken, Worldly Saints, p.159)

And to quote myself:

The goal of education, for the Puritans, was also a religious one. Ryken says, “Their primary goal was Christian nurture and growth” (p. 161). Indeed, they saw an educated, Bible-reading populace as a foil to Satan himself. (from “Charlotte Mason and the Puritans on Education”)

We have moved away from this idea and I am not sure that is to our benefit. On one hand, I have known quite a lot of very educated people in my day. I am related to a fair number of them. And I can tell you without hesitation that book-learning does not equate to faith or moral goodness (you wouldn’t believe the wife-stealing and such that go on in a university math department). But ignorance doesn’t translate into goodness either, despite what some segments of American society seem to believe.

Remember the terminology Charlotte used? She said education was the handmaid of religion. That seems a good way to think of it. Education saves no one. It will not produce faith where there is none. But at the same time education can serve faith; it can promote spiritual growth.

Our culture tells us that there are no absolutes when it comes to truth, beauty, and goodness. The Bible has a different view. How can we be commanded to consider “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy” (Phil. 4:8; NIV)
if these things do not exist? In a Charlotte Mason education, the main role of the teacher is to select materials to put before the student. We do this because we do believe that Shakespeare has more value than Captain Underpants. If you don’t believe some things — whether they be books, music or art — are more valuable than others then this approach is probably not the one for you.

There are two ways I see in which such an education can serve religion. The first is that when we learn to discern one kind of beauty and goodness, we are more apt to recognize another. There is a resonance, if you will, between intellectual goodness and moral goodness. The second is that there is often real moral value in the subject matter. A Charlotte Mason education is all about ideas. When we study Shakespeare’s Macbeth (as we are doing in my homeschool this year), it may be hard to perceive that there is much goodness on display. But there is a lot of truth. We see human nature and we see the powerful effects of sin and guilt. My 15-year-old made the observation that while Macbeth chose to act on the prophecy that he would be king, King David in the Bible did just the opposite. How can we make this connection and see the results in each man’s life and not draw some moral conclusions?

So what can we say about Charlotte’s 2nd principle? I do think she is talking about moral goodness in the sense that she does not distinguish between intellectual and moral goodness. It does not even occur to her to make the distinction. In this I think she goes to far — I don’t think education can save anyone or can change the character of a populace in the way she envisions. But while I am still a good Calvinist and believe wholeheartedly in total depravity and our inability to choose the good without the aid of divine grace, I do think Charlotte has a point — we go to the opposite extreme and segregate our intellectual life from our spiritual life. We need to rediscover that there are absolute standards of beauty and truth and we as believers need to educate ourselves and our children as a means of building up our faith.


Another High School Homeschool Essay

Dear Reader,

I recently shared an essay my 10th grader wrote so to be fair I thought I should share one from my 9th grader as well. My point here is to show that kids who have been educated with a Charlotte Mason education and with little direct focus on writing skills can wrote coherently and even better have intelligent thoughts, that they can, as Charlotte says, form relationships with the material.

My dd is working through the American literature curriculum I developed last year for my son which can be found here. Her assignment was to discuss Thoreau’s view of government and her own responses to it. She had some preparation for this in the short answer questions I had her do as she read the passages but was here asked to pull it all together.

In Henry David Thoreau’s essay “Resistance to Civil Government,” he says that he believes the best government is no government. He also says that the government is run by a few people with a lot of power, and those people misuse their power.

I do not think the world would go well if everyone could do whatever they liked. Thoreau is a transcendentalist and transcendentalists believe that the most pure and sacred thing is the human mind. God says that all people have sinful, imperfect minds. If you take the “pure mind” point of view, then no government might work out pretty well. Unfortunately, since people have sinful minds, then if everyone did exactly as they wanted, the world would be chaos because people would want to do sinful things and people do not naturally get along with each other.

If everyone was running around, doing exactly as they pleased, and probably fighting with each other quite a lot, then it is quite possible that a few people would become more powerful and start a government. In other words, there is a good chance that a government would start all over again.

Now, to look at the other side of the argument, there is no reason that just because there [are] laws doesn’t mean everyone obeys them. In fact, there are quite a lot of people who don’t. The laws do cut down on bad things, but they don’t completely get rid of them.

Just because the government says some thing is illegal doesn’t mean that thing is bad. There are probably quite a few laws that outlaw perfectly good things. I think most laws are necessary to keep order, like laws about not murdering, and laws about not yelling “Fire!” in a crowded movie theater. There are also a good many laws that don’t really help anyone, like about not running over small children getting off a schoolbus.

Thoreau thinks that the government shouldn’t be able to tax people. There are probably some useless taxes. A lot of taxes, though, help the military, and help to set up libraries and things like that. If one had a choice whether to pay money to fund a library or not, then most people would not pay and would get to use the library for free. That is not fair.

To sum up, I think everyone should be smarter in general. The government should only do what it needs to do. People should pay only taxes that benefit them and society. Thoreau views taxes as a burden because he doesn’t experience any of the things taxes fund because he lives in a tiny cabin in the woods.

Okay, it’s not perfect. She uses the word “things” way too much for too many . . . well, er . . .things. And that last sentence probably should have been earlier on. But, she is thinking about the material and forming her own opinions. Also when I asked her how she knew transcendentalists value the human mind, she said Emerson (whom she studied previously) said so and that he was a transcendentalist too. So bonus points for that. Oh, and the bit about running over school children not hurting anyone? I didn’t teach them that. Honest.


Writing and Literature in a Charlotte Mason Education

Dear Reader,

A Charlotte Mason education is a long-term affair. It can be hard as the parent of younger kids to trust that you are doing the right thing, especially when your (classical) homeschooling friends seem to be doing way more. My oldest two are in high school now and I am starting to see the fruit of their labors. I posted some narrations my eldest did recently. Today I’d like to share an essay he wrote for me.

For a little background, I’ll tell you that this year I am having him study “Great American Bestsellers.” I am using the Great Courses series by that title and have selected 10 or so of their “bestsellers” to read. After each one I have him write me some sort of essay or response and then we listen to the Great Courses audio lecture. He just finished Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe. His assignment was:

Uncle Tom’s Cabin Essay Questions

1. Faith plays a large part in the book. For each of the following characters, write a paragraph saying what they believed and how it affected their actions:

Uncle Tom

George Harris

Augustine St. Clare

Miss Ophelia

Little Eva


the Hallidays (the Quakers)

Simon Legree

2. What do you think Harriet Beecher Stowe’s view are? Is there an overall statement about faith she is trying to make? Can you discern what she believes or which character(s) she would most agree with?

And here is what he produced:

In her story, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe paints an array of characters.  Each has unique characteristics and traits.  Belief also played a large part in the book.  Belief very much governed the actions of the characters.

Uncle Tom, as the central character, plays one of the largest roles in the book.  His actions are almost entirely by his belief in the Christian God.  I cannot think of a single instance where he did not act as God would’ve wanted him to.  He always carries his Bible with him and he is loyal unto death.  He gladly takes a beating, unto death, for the sake of Cassie and Emoline.  In his last words he forgave the worst man in the book.  He showed Christianity to all of those around him.  Even if his Christianity didn’t change them he showed everyone the strength of the one, living, and true God.  I feel more like I am writing an obituary than an essay.

George Harris was Tom’s first owner.  I believe that his belief is best expressed at the very end of the book when he frees all his slaves after he witnesses Tom’s death.  Actions speak louder than words, and this action screams about George Harris’s faith.  He is always a good steward of those put under him.  He was definitely a Christian before Tom’s death, but I think Tom’s death opened his eyes to the sin of slavery.

Augustine St. Claire is Tom’s second master and he has a lot more “screen time” than Harris.  St. Claire grew up with Christianity but he was never a true Christian until his final hours.  His greatest love was his daughter Eva and that is reflected very clearly when he bought Tom right up until his death.  He was always kind to his slaves, to a fault.  He had no cares about what the slaves do as long as they get their jobs done.  He doesn’t seem to care about his life, as long he has Eva.  Like everyone else, St. Claire is changed by Eva’s death.  It seems like after Eva’s death he doesn’t have the will to live anymore.  If Eva hadn’t died Tom’s words wouldn’t have rung so true in St. Claire’s heart.  You can very clearly see God’s plan in St. Claire.  His actions in his final hours reveal his heart.  I think at the end of his life he reveals himself to be a Christian.  His major failing was not freeing his slaves, but he simply didn’t have the time for that in his life.

Miss Ophelia is St. Claire’s cousin and spends the majority of the book at his house.  At her introduction she is shown to be an abolitionist but she soon shows she doesn’t know what she is fighting.  She seems to be racist at her introduction but by St. Claire’s death she seems to have changed.  What really had a hand in changing her was seeing Topsy change.  Topsy was given to Miss Ophelia as a gift from St. Claire to act as a ward.  At the start of the book she wouldn’t dream of having a black in her house, but by the end she wouldn’t dream of not having one in her house.  Throughout the book she is a Christian and she is an abolitionist but God calls her to be more effective in her work and for that she needed to understand slavery better.  God did exactly that for her.

Little Eva is portrayed as an innocent from her first appearance to he dying moments.  The two innocents, her and Uncle Tom, both die prematurely.  The Good Die Young.  She is shown to be kind to all creatures, from horse to slave.  She was innocent from her beginning but she only became aware of the presence of God when Tom showed her.  She knew she was dying and she embraced it because she knew she was going to go to the Lord.  Like others, her character was best shown in her last action, making her father promise to free Tom.

(*This would not be in a real essay* It really doesn’t help that Pandora is playing all sad songs.)

Topsy was the little black girl bought by St. Claire to help Miss Ophelia.  At first she was a little devil.  She stole whatever she wanted and then got away with it by asking for punishment from Miss Ophelia.  But even more than Miss Ophelia changed Topsy, Eva changed her.  Eva persisted in showing Topsy the Bible, even after Topsy bragged repeatedly how “very wicked” she was.  Eva’s death was the final blow to Little Topsy and she broke down and finally changed her wicked ways.  She became a firm Christian and ended up helping Miss Ophelia with the abolition movement in the North.

Not too much is known about the Hallidays, but their few actions showed their characters’ beliefs very well.  They showed compassion on fugitive slaves and gave safety and food to the fugitives, even though they knew they would be hated for it.  Their few actions speak louder about their faith than any number of their words could.    They might not have had a perfect faith but they believed in a God of compassion and love and this is what was shown best about them.

Simon Legree was the “villain” of the story and he sure played the part.  He is the one character in the entire book who got any real “screen time” and still kept a hard heart.  (There was the slave trader at the start of the book, but he barely got any screen time.)  He was changed by Tom’s actions, but it was not the same way as everyone else in the book.  He seems to have killed all emotion in himself with the death of his mother.  The ways people deal with death are grief and anger, frequently both, and Legree took his anger to an extreme, so much so that it killed all his other emotions.  He didn’t really seem to be striving for anything either.  He was just cruel.  He would have made a really good Sith Lord.  His killing of Tom was the action that I think showed his character best.  He wasn’t looking for money, or else Tom would have lived.  He wasn’t particularly looking for cruelty either.  It is kinda hard to tell what he was looking for.  Other than him being a superstitious atheist, the only sure thing I know about his “faith” is he lives by the Sith Code.

I think Harriet Beecher Stowe paints herself into this book as the role of Miss Ophelia.  Especially the last chapter, seems to be written from Miss Ophelia’s religion.  It seems interesting to me that the last chapter was so strongly portrayed from Miss Ophelia’s point of view.  Both Ophelia and Stowe are strong abolitionists and females trying to work at it in a man’s word.  My guess would be that Stowe started out with the same racism as Ophelia until she was shown the error of her ways.

What I noticed about all of these characters is that they are entirely governed by their faith.  As long as you know their faith, you know exactly their next move.  This makes the story a lot more relatable because we are all governed by our faith on one level or another.  Having people who act solely on their belief and not on their emotions is interesting and it gives the book a unique aspect.

I’m pretty pleased with the results. We have really done very little in the way of teaching writing. We do a lot of narration including written narrations as well as dictation and copywork. I make observations on some things like “you really need a comma here” occasionally but I don’t tend to overemphasize these things. Last year when I had him study American short story writers, essayists and poets (see this post), I introduced the idea of an essay and talked a wee bit about the form it should take but again we really didn’t spend much time on it.

Now I am not saying this essay is perfect (he misidentifies George Harris for one thing) and I don’t honestly have much basis for comparison but here is what I like about it: he shows original thought (we actually disagreed in our interpretations of Topsy’s character), he writes clearly but with a humorous edge, and he makes connections (very CM!) to other things he knows (albeit Star Wars based). He was shocked and horrified to find that I don’t know what the code of the Sith is though I can guess. I liked his conclusion about Harriet Beecher Stowe and Miss Ophelia though I have no idea if it is true.

I also have an essay from my 9th grader which I will share soon.



God’s Word Written in His Creation

Dear Reader,

I just finished another volume by one of my favorite authors, Frank Boreham. Boreham was a minister in New Zealand some years ago and  a very prolific writer. His books are very pastoral and most I have read, this one among them, are collections of essays. The volume I just finish is A Bunch of Everlastings: Or, Texts that Made History. Like his book A Handful of Stars, this one looks at the biblical texts that have moved and inspired great men. As you may be able to tell by now, I really enjoyed this book. It is not difficult reading and I may have one of my kids read it soon too.

I want to focus now on just one passage, a quote from Boreham’s chapter on Dean Stanley. The quote which inspired Stanley was a reference to “The Lamb’s Book of Life.” Boreham expounds upon this idea of a book, saying that “God is a great believer in putting things down.” I have often marveled how integral words are to God’s work: He created the universe by His word and He sent us salvation through His Son, also called the Word of God. As 21st century Protestants, we value the written revelation of God that those of the past have not had such ready access to. But Boreham speaks also of that other source of divine revelation: nature. He says that,

“[God] writes everywhere and on everything. He is the most voluminous author in the universe. Every leaf in the forest, every sand on the seashore, is smothered wth his handwiritng. The trouble is that I am slow to recognize the manuscripts of God.”

In a wonderful call to nature study, he goes on to talk of all the information one can gain who has knowledge of a tree– he can tell from its rings how old it is, what weather it has experienced and what diseases it has suffered. “A botanist,” he says, “could open the book and interpret the entire romance.”

And the same can be done for the earth itself if we have the knowledge. And here we get to the passage which struck me. Boreham says that:

“He taps at a stone, and crumbles a lump of loam, and straightaway tells you of the lora and fauna od the district in some prehistoric time. It is all written down; nothing happens without leaving its record. God is a great believer in bookkeeping.”

Now, I have done a series of posts on the whole creation/evolution thing; I don’t want to revisit the whole topic. But here is what Boreham made me think: if God has given us a written record in His creation and if God is not a liar or a deceiver, than shouldn’t we seriously consider the record He has given us. I have heard Christians say that God planted dinosaur bones in the earth to test us only and that they never truly roamed the land. Not only does this seem depressing, it does not seem like the God I know. It sounds too deceptive. But if the record in the earth’s layers also points to a very old earth, perhaps we should believe that as well. It is, after all, God’s record and He is not One to deceive. (I know there are a lot of other issues this raises like how we deal with Genesis 1 but, well, you can look back at those older posts for my thoughts on that.)


How We are Studying Current Events and Geography

Dear Reader,

We are attempting to study geography and current events together this year. The plan I have devised is based upon the book Why Greenland Is An Island, Australia Is Not-And Japan Is Up for Grabs: A Simple Primer For Becoming A Geographical Know-It-All by Joyce Davis. I really love the idea behind this book though I am struggling to implement its ideas practically. My simple summary of the book would be that it provides steps for looking at news stories and using an atlas or other geographical tools to gather more information thereby allowing one to gain a deeper understanding of world events. I went through for myself and wrote down the basic steps. They are:

  • Identify the geographical issue
  • Study maps
  • Compare with more detailed maps
  • Look at large area maps
  • Combine geography and other facts
  • Picture the scene you have been studying

While I love this idea, I am wishing that the book had more examples, more detailed examples, and more contemporary examples of how all this plays out. The first example given is of the break up of the Soviet Union. Davis gives a brief blow by blow account of the events, sends us to look at more detailed maps, and then gives her own conclusions. But I am left wondering how exactly the geography played into it all. She supplies in her conclusions information we could not have gathered on our own from simply studying maps which makes it all a bug useless in terms of teaching how this process it to be carried out. We did to start off out studies begin with her Soviet Union example, however. It was somewhat useful. I did not feel like we achieved any ground breaking insights, but we could see, for example, how the mountain range on Russia’s southern border separates it from the countries below. We also talked about why Finland, alone of all the nations surrounding Russia, was never absorbed.  I don’t know if our conclusions are historically accurate, but they made sense to me. And, because every good post needs a picture, my older daughter doodled this cute image of the Baltic states while we talked:


For our second endeavor, I picked a news story that seemed liked it would be relatively easy to understand and have a natural connection with geography: the plight of refugees in Slovenia.** These refugees have come from the Middle East and are hoping to get to Germany and have been pushed off into Slovenia by neighboring Hungary. We read the story, looked at our atlas, and then talked about where the refugees came from, what their easiest means of travel would be (sea travel across the Mediterranean), why they would choose the Slovenia area, and the like. I think it was a somewhat fruitful conversation. I would like to gain the ability to delve deeper and deeper into such stories and to get more out of our studies but it felt like not a bad beginning. My goal is to do such studies once or twice a month. I will try to post here about how they are going.


**Side note (well, footnote, really, I suppose): My source for this news blurb and a magazine I really love is The Week. If you are not familiar with it, is is a news summary magazine. Issued weekly, it purports to be “all you need to know about everything that matters.” If you are like me and can’t always keep up with everything in detail, it is a great way to make sure you are not completely out of the loop, current events-wise. Plus I think it will prvide great fodder for these sorts of studies.

Recipe: Mashed Potato Pizza Pie

Dear Reader,

My kids don’t like sandwiches. Okay, one does. You could give him a loaf of bread and things to put on it every meal and he’d be happy. You’d go through a lot of bread, mayonnaise and gravy though ;) My point is that with all of us home every day we run out of lunch ideas pretty quickly. This recipe is an attempt to spice up our lunch routine. It sounds fancy but only takes 30 minutes to make which is about the maximum time I ever have available.

Mashed Potato Pizza Pie


One large potato per person


a little almond milk, regular milk or broth

leftover or jarred pasta sauce

mozzarella cheese (or Daiya dairy-free cheese)

other toppings of choice


  1. Wash and pierce potatoes. Place on microwave safe plate and heat on high for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, roll them all over, pierce their other sides and give them another 5 minutes. If you have  a large number, you made need to roll them and nuke them once more. Your goal is to have them be soft and easily mashed with a fork.
  2. Meanwhile, grease a baking dish. The size will depend on how many people and potatoes you have. It should be large enough to fit all the potatoes with a little extra room.
  3. When the potatoes feel soft when you stick a fork in them, place them in the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle then with a little salt and pour a small amount of milk or almond milk over them. If you can’t so dairy or nuts, you can use broth for this. With your fork, mash, mash, mash those suckers. If it helps, imagine them as your enemies’ heads. If the mixture seems to dry, you can add a little more of the liquid of your choice. The point of the liquid is just to give the potatoes a little creaminess and a smoother texture. Exact amounts are not important here (that’s the kind of cooking I like).

pizzapie (3)4. When you have your potatoes as mashed as you like, make sure they are spread evenly over the bottom of the dish. Now is the time for toppings. Adorn them as you would any pizza — sauce, cheese and your favorite toppings.

All assembled and ready for the last step

All assembled and ready for the last step

5. Broil the whole mess on high until the cheese is melted and just beginning to brown, probably about 5 minutes. Be sure to keep an eye on it; broiling can turn from hot to burnt pretty quickly.





Update: 9th Grade American Literature

Dear Reader,

I wanted to give you a heads-up that I have been updating my post on 9th grade American literature as I go through the course with my daughter. Some of the resources I originally used have been taken down and in other instances I have added material that I didn’t use with my son. I expect this editing to continue as we go through the school year so if by any chance you are using this resource, you might want to check back frequently.



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