Intro to Art History

Dear Reader,

I have one child who has always had a passion for art. Though we have covered art history in various ways in the past, mostly through picture study, I wanted to give her something more organized this year that could count as a high school fine arts credit. Next year we are going to try AP Art History so I am calling this year’s work “Intro to Art History.” Keep reading to find out what we used and how we went about it.


Intro to Art History


Look! by Anne D’Avella – Someone had given me this thin book about looking at art. It is a nice introduction to how we analyze a work of art. I had my daughter read it first. We spent 2 weeks, or about 8 sittings, on it, which given the length of the book is not at all burdensome.

The Story of Painting from Cave Painting to Modern Times by Horst W. and Dora Jane Janson – There are a lot of “story of art” books out there. Of the ones I had easy access to, this seemed the most readable while still being fairly thorough. It is a fairly dense book so the readings I assigned were short. As is our custom, the assignment was “read and narrate, read and narrate.”

How to Read a Painting: Lessons from the Old Masters by Patrick De Rynck – This book analyzes various works of art. I divided up the readings and interspersed them with those from The Story . . . so that she was looking at the works of art from the time she was reading about.


Sister Wendy: The Complete Collection Sister Wendy is a nun who did a series of videos on art history. I had my daughter watch a segment about every other week to get through them all in a school year. One warning though: Sister Wendy is not afraid of the raunchy. She doesn’t shy away from nudes and the like.

How we went about it:

For most of the school year, my daughter was doing readings 4 days a week. The first two weeks, as I said, she did Look! The next 18 or so weeks she did readings from the other two books. If you want to see how I divided up the readings, you can find them here (opens a Google doc). She also watched the video every other week.

After the reading portion was done, I had her do two kinds of assignments. First she analyzed a few paintings. I made up my own sheets for her to use for this to guide in her considering form, composition, etc. You can find that sheet here. It’s wonderful to be able to go to a museum to do this, but if you can’t do that, you can always look at paintings online.

The second assignment was a term paper on some topic in art history. While the topic was up to her, I provided some help by providing a list of sample topics that I thought would work well. Once she had a topic — she initially picked mythology in art and then we narrowed it down to paintings depicting Bacchus and Ariadne — I helped her find works that fit her topic. I gave a longer list and she narrowed it down to three. Then I had her analyze each of the three. The next step was to find something to say about the three and to write it up. She is still working on this so I will report back on how it all turns out.

Additional Resources:

These are resources we have used in the past or will in the future.

A Child’s History of Art by V.M. Hillyer — Hillyer’s works are aimed at a younger age but he has enough to say to make them useful to the older student as well, especially on with not much of a background in art. Sometimes his books are found as thinner volumes such as A History of Sculpture, A History of Architecture, etc. or you may find them combined in a one volume set.

Adventures in Art from Cornerstone Curriculum is a wonderful curriculum that we have used in the past. It comes with instructions that make it easy to adapt to a Charlotte Mason curriculum. I felt that it really helped us learn how to look at art.

How Should We Then Live by Francis Schaeffer – Schaeffer looks at western civilization through Christian eyes and in the process discusses movements in art. I think it is a higher level book and we plan to read it next year. Schaeffer is quoted heavily by Adventures in Art. There is also a video series.

The Liberated Imagination: Thinking Christianly about the Arts by Leland Ryken – I am reading this book now (review to come soon, I am sure) and plan to have my daughter read it next. It is easier to digest than Schaeffer. It is not about the movements in art, however, but about how Christians should do and understand art.


Habit-Training and Sanctification

Dear Reader,

As my local Charlotte Mason study group makes its way through her 20 Principles,  we are up to “Education is . .  a discipline . . . ” Habit-training is what we are talking about here. As I revisit this topic, I find myself thinking more about the spiritual than the physical.

Often times in habit-training we seem to be speaking of very mundane issues — cleaning one’s room and bathing and brushing one’s teeth and putting one’s shoes away. On the surface these things don’t seem to have much of a spiritual component. But I think that if we get tied up in practical, everyday things we miss the point.

God is always working in the heart of His people to sanctify them and to bring them closer to Himself. As I told my own children, we need to cooperate in our own sanctification. About a year ago, I sat each of them down and asked them what they wanted to work on in themselves. They are slightly older (currently 10 through 15) so they are able to say that they need to work on things like “pride” and “patience” (that one is a lot like her Mama). But even when we work of the seemingly more trivial issues, it can and perhaps should still be a spiritual exercise. For one thing, whenever we change our habits, we are working on the will as Charlotte Mason speaks of it. We are forcing ourselves not to do the easy, lazy thing but to do what we know we should. Then too there can (and should) be good reasons for the things we are working on. I would go so far as to say if you can’t give your child a good reason why they should work on a given habit, you should probably let it go and turn your attention elsewhere. Brushing one’s teeth, trying a new vegetable, cleaning one’s room — these are all about stewardship, about being wise and responsible with what God has given us. Putting away your shoes so they don’t clutter up the foyer? That’s consideration for your family members who might trip over them.

Above all, habit training is not something we impose on our kids; they should be part of it. We should explain to them what they will be working on and why. And as they do they learn that we all have things we need to work on. If you conquer one bad habit, there is always anther. And that’s really what life on this earth is like for God’s people. Too many of us (and I am guilty of this too) go through life waiting for God to start changing us. I do believe that the work of redemption and sanctification is all God’s, but He graciously allows us to cooperate with Him in it. How much better to do so consciously and intentionally. As Paul says, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,  for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Phil. 2:12b-13; ESV).


THM Recipe: Chocolate Peanut Butter Muffins (S)

Dear Reader,

This is a new variant of my peanut butter muffin recipe. I think they’re scrumptious. They are also low-carb and gluten-free. If you are on the THM diet, they are an S.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Muffins (S):


1/2 c flax seed meal

1/3 c coconut flour

1 c xylitol

1/2 tsp baking soda

4 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 c peanut butter

1 c almond milk (or other milk of your choice)

1 tsp vanilla

2 eggs or 1/3 c egg whites

optional: 1/3 c chocolate chips (plan-approved if you are on THM!)


Preheat oven to 350 and grease a muffin tin. Combine dry  ingredients. Add peanut butter, vanilla, milk and eggs. Stir well. If desired, stir in chocolate chips. Divide batter among greased muffin cups. Bake 30 minutes.

Makes 12 muffins.




Deschooling -Yes? No? How??

Dear Reader,

Have you heard this term? Deschooling gets thrown around a lot on my local homeschool lists. Loosely put it seems to mean the downtime or recovery time one needs after having been in school. Popular wisdom is that one should deschool one month for every year of formal (i.e. traditional, institutional, in a school setting) schooling. It is just a vague perception on my part, but I sense that the way this term is being used has changed recently. I have even read it suggested that a parent whose child has never even in school needs to deschool. Something about this all rubs me the wrong way so I have set myself to find out what deschooling is and whether I am for it or against it.

Defining Deschooling

The first step is to find out what exactly deschooling is so I began by googling “deschooling” and “definition.”  Wikipedia tells me that the term has been used since at least the 1970s and can mean different things in different contexts.

The key, as far as I see it, is who is being deschooled. Ivan Illich, who is credited with popularizing if not inventing the term, spoke of deschooling society (in fact that is the title on his article on the subject). I have only begun to read this article (and hope to tell you more about it in the future), but it is clear that Illich is opposed to institutions in all facets of life.  He uses the schools as his example but his opposition is really much broader. He mentions, for instance, how institutionalizing medicine has made it so people no longer think they can treat themselves at home. For Illich institutions breed dependency and create poverty (not just in monetary terms) and basically ruin us. He has some interesting ideas about how to reform education to avoid the pitfalls of institutionalism, but I will save those for a future post. For our purposes today, the point is that deschooling, for Illich, means transforming society so that it is no longer controlled by school as an institution. It is a societal, and not an individual goal, though he does say that is must be accomplished one person at a time. Behind Illich’s definition of deschooling are two fundamental ideas: that institutions are bad and have damaged us and that we can and should try to undo this damage.

In homeschooling circles, when we speak of deschooling, we are talking about something that happens to the individual. Illich’s ideas are still there, however. Deschooling assumes that institutionalized education has negative effects, that it has damaged people, and that this damage can be repaired. These are the underpinnings of deschooling, but, as I hope to show, deschooling also has something to say about the kind of damage, which in turn depends upon a certain view of the individual, and about how this damage can be repaired.

Who, What and How?

When homeschoolers speak of deschooling, they often think first of the child, but in our society it is likely that the parent also has been affected by the institutional schools so that he or she also can, and many would say must, be deschooled.

Parent or child, the immediate goal of deschooling is to get out of the “school mindset”:

“In a practical context, it refers to the mental process a person goes through after being removed from a formal schooling environment, when the “school mindset” is eroded over time. Deschooling may refer to the time period it takes for children removed from school to adjust to learning in an unstructured environment.

Families who have taken their children out of school to homeschool often find their children (and often the parents too) need a period of adjustment – learning to live without the reinforcement of grading and regimented learning.” (“Deschooling,”

How is this done, practically speaking? AtoZ Homeschooling begins their article on deschooling with this advice: “Relax, enjoy your family, and let learning come to you naturally. Don’t force it” (“Deschooling” from  “Homeschool 101: What is Deschooling?” describes it as follows: “Simply put, [deschooling] is a period of time after institutionalized schooling where parents let kids be free to do whatever they want and relearn their love of learning” (“Homeschool 101: What is Deschooling?” from

In both of these we begin to see a little more about the why and how behind deschooling — learning should come naturally. The love of learning has been lost (it is assumed) and must be reacquired. The way to do this is to give freedom and not to force learning.

If you are completely at a loss as to what activities one might do during the deschooling period, Homeschool 101 (“Homeschool 101: What is Deschooling?” from offers a long list of options from gardening to reading to hanging out with friends. Jeanne Faulconer also gives a list of practical tings to do during this period (“How to Start Homeschooling: Tips for Deschooling” by Jeanne Faulconer at In case you think your child might not need deschooling, Jeanne Faulconer also cautions that the child may choose school-y activities out of habit even though this is not what is what they really want or need (“From School to Homeschool: What is Deschooling?” by Jeanne Faulconer at

What’s the parent’s role in all this?  AtoZ Homeschooling sums it up succinctly: “You are doing exactly right if you are just the wallet and the wheels!” (“Deschooling” from

Parents are not completely off the hook, however. They have their own deschooling to do. Since most adults today were themselves educated in institutional schools, parents’ notions of what education can and should look like are often much more deeply rooted than those of their children:

“You will also find that parents themselves need to ‘deschool’. We have to get past the idea that learning only happens in a classroom, in 40-minute periods, or with workbooks and pens. Education does not start at nine o’clock in the morning, nor does it necessarily stop in the middle of the afternoon.”(“Deschooling” from Home Education in the UK)

“Even if you have been dreaming of homeschooling for years or planning it for months, you have still been institutionalized by having been in school yourself and by experiencing school again through your children. It may be just as tough for you, if not even more challenging, to through off the shackles of scheduling every minute of the day, of grading on a letter scale, of assessing knowledge through standardized tests, and of feeling the pressure to race through topics the way a traditional school does.” (“Deschooling: Important Homeschooling Step or Useless Buzzword?” from

“Deschooling for Parents” from gives a very good, personal account of how one parent deschooled herself and why she needed to do so.

Benefits of Deschooling

Homeschool 101 offers a nice list of benefits to deschooling. These can be sorted into two categories, those that directly benefit the child and those that are for the parent’s benefit. In the former category we have getting control of their own education, getting over damage done by the schools, de-stressing, finding their own interests, and seeing that education can be fun. In the latter, we find allowing time to prepare for homeschooling and finding out how their children learn (“Homeschool 101: What is Deschooling?” from

There are also familial benefits. Home Education in the UK speaks of these as does Homeschooling-Ideas (“Deschooling” from The deschooling period allows parents and children to get to know one another again and also allows siblings to learn to be together:

“If you have more than one child, it also gives them a chance to get used to being in each others company again.” (“Deschooling” from

Deschooling and Unschooling

Because of the similarity in their names, and because the terms are not always used consistently, deschooling and unschooling may be confused. Unschooling refers to a particular approach to homeschooling, deschooling to a period of transition between traditional schooling and homeschooling.

Advocates of deschooling often make a point of saying that deschooling need not lead to unschooling and can (and should) be used before any approach to homeschooling:

Deschooling is important for all families who are starting homeschooling, even if they will ultimately use an ongoing approach or homeschooling style that is not unschooling. ” (“Deschooloing vs. Unschooling: What’s the Difference?” by Jeanne Faulconer from

Despite these assertions, there does seem to be a close connection between the two. Both Sandra Dodd and Pam Larrichia define deschooling as the transition period to unschooling (“Deschooling for Parents” by Sandra Dodd on, originally published in Home Education Magazine, Sept/Oct 2002; “Why Deschooling?” by Pam Larrichia at The whole concept of deschooling, as it is used within homeschooling circles, seems fairly new to me. At least I hadn’t heard of it 8 or 10 years ago. I’m not sure what the actual evolution of the term is, but Sandra Dodd’s article is from 2002. I rather suspect that deschooling started within the unschooling community and was, as she defines it, a way of transitioning to unschooling, and that since then its use has expanded so that now we speak of deschooling as a necessary transition period no matter what your educational philosophy.

Indeed, the movement from deschooling to unschooling seems like a very natural one. Larrichia describes such a gradual transition saying that deschooling should last “long enough that when you’re nearing the end, hopefully you’ve reached the point where you’re not even looking for the ‘end’ any more” (“Why Deschooling?” by Pam Larrichia at A letter on Sandra Dodd’s website (“Deschooling” on from a parent identified as Rachel Marie describes just such a process. She writes that though she committed to deschooling for 6 months with the intention of then moving on to more formal homeschooling, 6 months became a year and then 2 years before she knew it. Even those who do not define deschooling as the precursor to unschooling acknowledge that the former leads naturally into the latter:

“You may find that this period of deschooling gradually evolves into the kind of learning – autonomous education, or ‘unschooling’ that so many home educators do over many years.” (“Deschooling” from Home Education in the UK)

In truth, the ideas behind deschooling meld better with unschooling than with any other approach to homeschooling.

The Ideas behind Deschooling

Ideas matter. I have said many times that the ideas behind your homeschooling curriculum matter. Most advocates of deschooling claim to be neutral; they say that deschooling, as they define it, not only works with but should be used before any approach to homeschooling. But there are ideas behind deschooling and they may or may not fit with your intended approach to homeschooling.

I recently published a quiz to help you determine your best homeschooling approach. I tried to look particularly at the philosophy behind each approach (and I considered 16 of them). If I apply this quiz to deschooling, I find that its answers pretty much line up with those of homeschooling (you can find the nitty-gritty details here if you really care; deschooling’s answers are in bold). I should say this is true for those questions for which deschooling provides an answer; it does not address every issue. And, of course, deschooling is  a temporary state.

Deschooling is essentially temporary unschooling. Like unschooling, it does not have an agenda, limits the role of the parent/teacher, says that learning happens through free play or at least free time. It is child-directed.  It says that the child will get what they need without adult involvement. Its goals — though they are intermediate goals — are to revive the love of learning and to allow the child to find interests, or possibly to find himself.

I think the core ideas behind deschooling are these:

  1. Institutional schooling has a negative effect and has likely damaged anyone who has been subject to it.
  2. Children have an innate love of learning which is essential to true education.
  3. The primary negative effect of institutional schooling is to kill this love of learning.
  4. This damage can and should be undone so that the love of learning is reclaimed.
  5. The way to undo the damage and to enable children to reclaim their love of learning is to allow them time and space to be as un-school-like as possible. Parents should not interfere or direct. They should not push any kind of learning or educational activities. Children should be given freedom to do what they want.

Evaluating Deschooling: Will it work for you?

So is deschooling a good fit for your family? The answer depends on what your personal philosophy of education is. If you have chosen to homeschool, odds are you are dissatisfied with the schools available to you in some way.  It is likely that you will consciously do something differently than the schools do (for some examples see “Deschooling: The School Rules You Need to Break” and “Deschooling: More School Rules You Need to Break” by Rebecca Capuano at But that doesn’t mean that you need to accept all that deschooling implies.

If you look again at the list above of ideas behind deshcooling, the later ones tend to depend upon the earlier ones, but they are not necessary results. You can go through this list and think about each one in turn. You may get to the end of the list and say, yes, I agree with all of that. If so, deschooling is for you. But if you find yourself disagreeing at any point, then deschooling, as it is usually defined, may not be the best for your family.

While many homeschooling families are consciously rejecting the system of institutional schools, some are not. You may homeschool because you have no native language schools near you, because you are in the military, or your child has a sport or business they pursue aggressively, or because your child misses the school cut-off age. In any of these cases, you might be perfectly okay with the school system we have or even want to keep on target to have your child re-enter it at some point. In such cases, you may not even agree with point 1 above and getting out of the school-mode probably doesn’t fit your needs.

Ideas 2 through 4 have to do with the love of learning. While I would hope that any parent would view such a love as a good thing, many homeschool approaches don’t depend upon it or view it is as something which is developed later rather than being innate. This may not rule deschooling out entirely but might at least affect how one goes about it.

Which brings us to idea 5. Personally I agree with ideas 1 through 4, but I differ when it comes to the last point. I don’t think complete freedom is the best way to rebuild the love of learning.  I take a Charlotte Mason (CM) approach to homeschooling so I will speak of how I think she would have addressed the problem. Other philosophies which also rely upon or seek to build the love of learning may have their own takes on the best ways to go about it.

I do think children are born with the desire for knowledge and that traditional schooling kills that but that it can be reclaimed. But I do not think complete freedom is the way to go about it. While Charlotte Mason saw the value of free time (“masterly inactivity”), she believed the way to keep the desire to learn foremost was: 1) to not subvert it by catering to other desires such as the desire for rewards (grades) and 2) to supply the mind with quality materials such as “living books,” fine art, and good music. She frequently uses the analogy of a meal. The mind, she says, needs to be fed on ideas in order to thrive. One does not force-feed intellectual foods; one presents them and the child-mind will take in what is right for it. But this is not complete freedom. The banquet is chosen by the parent/teacher and presented, but it is up to the child to “eat” what he will. To extend this analogy to the problem at hand, we would say that the child who has been damaged by schooling is like one whose appetite has been ruined by a diet of what basically amounts to intellectual sawdust, and that only fed on an arbitrary and artificial schedule. The solution is not to allow complete freedom but to place before the child good, nutritious food without forcing them to eat.

To my mind deschooling says let them eat whatever they want in an effort to restore their intellectual appetites. And I do think that could work for some children. Perhaps even many children. I suspect most still have a shred of their original appetites left and on their own they may seek out what will sustain them. But I also think that some will be so burnt out and damaged that they will fill themselves with what is essentially intellectual junk food, better perhaps than the school’s sawdust but still not what is healthiest for them. I also think many (most?) people are inherently lazy. Left to their own devices, many children will choose what amounts to intellectual junk food, what CM called “twaddle.” It’s better than the sawdust the schools provide, but it is not truly nourishing.


I think there are some good ideas behind deschooling. I do think its proponents have identified a problem and are trying to address it. In fact, I guess you could say I agree with 80% of what they have to say. Where I differ is in the how of it all. I do not think that complete freedom is the best way to rebuild the love of learning. I realize I have my own presuppositions which are informing my position. One of the key ones would be that there are better and worse things to be reading and studying. If you have other approaches to homeschooling, you may have your own ideas about what the best way to rebuild that love of learning is.

For the parent, I do recommend taking some time to evaluate how you want to do this thing called homeschooling. There are plenty of approaches to education out there to choose from (again you can take a quiz to get you started). Jeanne Faulconer also offers a similar list of questions to ask yourself as you begin your homeschooling journey (“Parental-Deschooling: Find Your Non-School Normal: Part 1” by Jeanne Faulconer at

Lastly, I heartily second a tip from  “Beyond School Daze: The Descholling Process” at which is to always ask why you are doing what you are doing — “whether there is school reason or a good reason to do things with your homeschooling child.”


Books on Deschooling:

Deschooling Society by Ivan Illich. His original essay  of that name is available as a free pdf here. I’m not honestly sure if the book adds more or not.

Deschooling Gently by Tammy Takahashi is recommended by AtoZ Homeschooling. I could not, however, find the Kindle book available anymore and was unwilling to pay $58 for the print version.

Deschooling for Parents by Sara McGrath — The Amazon blurb on this book calls deschooling a “cleansing, deprogramming process.”

Deschooling Our Lives by Matt Hern — This book seems to be aimed at reforming the educational system and is not a how-to guide for homeschoolers.


Living Books for High School Chemistry

Dear Reader,

When I tried to cobble together a biology course for my then 9th grader, I discovered that the part that worked best for us was the living books. So this year, his 10th grade one, I declared that I would not be swayed by outside pressures but would keep living books as the center of our curriculum. I plan to use the same selections (with just a few tweaks which I’ll explain below) for my second child next year.

Living Books for High School Chemistry

Life of Fred Chemistry We love the Life of Fred series. It started as a math curriculum but has expanded into early readers, high school chemistry and more. This year my 10th grader was using no less than 4 of the LOF books. When I saw they had a chemistry one, I couldn’t resist. As with the whole LOF series, this book tells the story of Fred, a 5-year-old genius math professor. All the books incorporate the subject matter in Fred’s life. There are 36 chapters and each has a problem set with answers at the end. I let my son work through this one on his own because he can check his own answers (and he’s pretty trustworthy about such things). Because it is only 36 lessons, I had him do it once a week. Mondays were for LOF, the other days for his other books . . .


The Joy of Chemistry: The Amazing Science of Familiar Things by Cathy Cobb and Monty L. Fetterolf We used this book as kind of second spine book in addition to LOF. I chose it mainly because it has experiments which are relatively easy to do with relatively accessible supplies.  For Biology, my son did a 2-day lab intensive course with Landry Academy. It looked like we would not have their chemistry lab in our area this year so I wanted something else that involved labs for him. As it turns out we will be able to do the chemistry labs in October. We were really happy with the biology lab last year and I would recommend their lab intensives if you have one in your area. Since my daughter will be able to do the chem lab in October, I will probably have her skip this book. I did like it though. It is well-written and easy to read. It is really directed at an adult who wants an introduction to chemistry. The supplies for the labs were not too difficult to find. I made a list of all we would need, bought whatever I could from Amazon and the rest at my local supermarket or hardware store. I also had my son lead the labs himself. His ten-year-old sister was his audience/class so he had to read a chapter, figure out the lab and then lead her through it and explain it to her. He also used this book once a week through the whole year.

Exploring the World of Chemistry by John Hudson Tiner I didn’t have my son read this one but it is one I am considering for my daughter next year to replace Joy of Chemistry (see above). We have used Tiner’s books in the past and I have found them easy to read. Though they are thin and are perhaps more of a middle school level, I find that they contain a fair amount of info and that my kids retain them well. A thin book retained well beats a thick one that the child can’t remember in my estimation. My daughter is also less of a science-y type so I don’t mind going a little lighter with her.


The Periodic Kingdom: A Journey into the Land of the Chemical Elements by P.W. Atkins Now we get into the living books which my son read. The Periodic Kingdom treats the periodic table as a land with different countries within it. This paradigm allows the author to explain the landscape of the periodic table and the relation of the elements to one another. I’m not big on memorizing things like the elements and their characteristics but this book allows one to get the lay of the land, if you will, and to see how it all fits together very nicely. My son did a great job narrating this book and seemed to enjoy it. An alternative to this book which I looked at was The Mystery of the Periodic Table by Benjamin Wiker and Jeanne Bendick. It seemed a simpler book along basically the same principles. It could also work for younger children.

Crucibles: The Story of Chemistry from Ancient Alchemy to Nuclear Fission by Bernard Jaffe As it name suggests, this book takes a historical approach to chemistry, showing its developments through time.

Napoleon’s Buttons: How 17 Molecules Changed History by Penny LeCouteur I love how chemistry can be approached through different lenses. Napoleon’s Buttons looks at a number of molecules and tells their stories. An alternative which I looked at but didn’t like quite as much is The Disappearing Spoon by Sam Kean. If you are looking for an explicitly Christian book, you might want to check out Elements of Faith by Richard Duncan.

Two I didn’t have time for but considered look at the chemistry in specific processes: The Chemical History of a Candle which I believe is a series of lectures by famed scientist Michael Faraday and That’s the Way the Cookie Crumbles by Joe and Joseph Schwarcz.

Lastly, another one I wish we’d had time for:  Molecules of Murder by John Emsley looks at the chemistry in crime, specifically at poisons.







Blog Post Round-Up

Dear Reader,

Here once again is some of what I have been reading:

Target Bathrooms and the Straight Conservative Preacher’s Wife” from — The best thing I’ve read on the controversial topic, though I’m not sure I agree with her 100%.

The Habits Pendulum” from Sage Parnassus — More on habit-training, the topic for my local CM group this week. I loved this bit:

While Mason does mention choosing a bad habit to work on, I don’t see her picking a character trait or habit and turning it into a unit study by defining it, reading books to point the moral and talking about it ad nauseum.” 

Why I Write Scary Stories for Children” by N.D. Wilson at — Wilson is a favorite author. I don’t think what he ahs to say is new (CM said is a century ago) but it is worth saying today as many have forgotten the value of fairy tales and creepy tales in the lives of children.

A Stanford Dean on Adult Skills Every 18-Year-Old Should Have” on — Honestly, as a homeschooler, I am not worried about any of these. My oldest will be 16 this summer and I’m not saying we are there yet on all of them but I can see that we are getting there.

I love posts that make me think about an issue in a new way, and “Why Typical Preschool Crafts are a Waste of Time” by Melissa Dahl at did just that. I don’t say this often but I agreed completely with the author. I just wish I’d thought about it when my kids were younger!

And finally, a long article but a must-read: “Reconsidering Charlotte Mason and the Classical Tradition” by Art Middlekauff at Middlekauff reviews, and dissents with, Karen Glass’s recent book placing Charlotte within the classical tradition. Though I haven’t read nearly so widely as he has, I am quite convinced by his arguments. They seem right to me. I think he quite legitimately asks why we shuld ven want to say that CM is classical. I suspect a lot of the reason comes from the pressure we as homeschoolers feel from our classical friends. We feel called upon to defend what appears to be a less rigorous approach to academics. But rather than seeking to defend ourselves, Middlekauff gives us confidence to say that we don’t need to be classical, that there is no inherent value in such a designation. He also shows how CM’s approach  is something much better — biblical.

Happy Reading!



Approaches to Homeschool: All the Links


Dear Reader,

I’ve found myself coming back to this topic again so I wanted to put all the posts before you once more.

My newest endeavor is a quiz to help you find your own educational philosophy. You can find that here.

From there, you can check out my Bullet Points on 16 Approaches to Homeschooling and Resources on 17 Approaches to Homeschooling.

Once you have narrowed down your choices read more on the ones that intrigue you in my original Approaches to Homeschool series:

The Summary Post is actually not a bad place to start. From there you can check out the Introduction to the series and then all the individual posts on the various approaches:


Classical Education

Christian Classical Education and a follow-up

Charlotte Mason

Thomas Jefferson Education

The Principle Approach and follow-ups 1, 2, 3 and conclusions



Unit Studies and additional thoughts

The Puritans’ Home School Curriculum

Related posts:

How to Glorify God

Educating Girls and CM on Educating Girls and Chesterton on Educating Girls

Good Books

What does the Bible say on educating children part 1 and part 2

The Goal of Education

That is everything! I hope I haven’t forgotten any.



my musings, wise or otherwise

Festival Fete

locally grown art, food, and merriment


A Literary Homestead


Blogging about education, theology, and more

Harmony Fine Arts

Blogging about education, theology, and more

The Common Room

....Blogging about cabbages and kings since 2005.

Sage Parnassus

Blogging about education, theology, and more

A peaceful day

Blogging about education, theology, and more

Living Charlotte Mason in California

Blogging about education, theology, and more


Weekly Walrus Whatevers

Creations by Maris

Craft Projects For all Ages

Fisher Academy International ~ Teaching Home

Blogging about education, theology, and more


Blogging about education, theology, and more

Leah's Bookshelf

Book Reviews You Can Trust

Duxbury Art Boosters

Supporting the visual arts in Duxbury Public Schools

Just Right Porridge

... you'll lick your bowl clean...


Seizing life three L's at a time!

Homeschooling Middle East

A Homeschooling/Unschooling Adventure from Bahrain to Dubai that's a story for anyone, anywhere who's interested in offering their kids an educational alternative. Please have fun visiting and have even more fun commenting! We have now moved to Granada, Spain and I will write again once we've settled down!!


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