The Portinari Altarpiece by Hugo Van Der Goes

Hugo Van Der Goes’ Portinari Altarpiece, was shocking when first revealed to the public. The unprecedented portrayal of the shepherd’s amazed viewers and emphasized Van Der Goes theme of humility. A monumental work that challenged both the art world, and the individual, to reconsider what is truly important. This work stands as a testament to […]

Isenheim Altarpiece – The Crucifixion

Isenheim Altarpiece

Crucifixion Panel of the Isenheim altarpiece by Matthias Grünewald which was created between 1510 and 1516. Sister Wendy had this to say about the Crucifixion Panel in the Isenheim Altarpiece “In this noble veracity, Gothic art reached an electrifying greatness.”   Grunewald and Gothic Art Matthias Grünewald, a German Gothic painter, lived during the time […]

Grünewald’s Resurrection from the Isenheim Altarpiece

Grunewald Resurrection

Matthias Grünewald‘s Resurrection painting on the Isenheim Altarpiece is one of Europe’s greatest works of art. Painted between 1512 and 1516, this Altarpiece is unique. The  creation of a deeply religious imagination, Grünewald has painted one of the most excruciating crucifixion scenes ever, and then gone on to paint a truly glorious resurrection. Along with […]

Peter Paul Rubens’ Descent from the Cross Triptych

Peter Paul Rubens’ Descent From the Cross Triptych is a stunning Flemish Baroque work that thematically explores what it means to “bear Christ.” While the center panel shows Christ being removed from the cross, the frontispiece, and side panels both play an integral part in the narrative that Ruben’s is exploring. Descent from the Cross […]

Georges De La Tour’s Magdalene and the Smoking Flame

Georges de La Tour’s, Magdalene with the Smoking Flame, is a French Baroque work that envisions Mary Magdalene in a state of deep contemplation. With clarity of form, and a limited color palette, De La Tour creates a forceful work that captures this quiet moment. In this post we will explore the composite character that […]

Harry Watrous’ The Drop Sinister

Harry Watrous’, The Drop Sinister, What Shall we Do With it?, is a departure for Watrous, an exploration of the moral and social issue that dominated his day. How were whites and blacks to live together in this new, post-slavery world?  Watrous was a child during the Civil War. His life was lived in the […]

Jacques Louis David’s Death of Marat

Jacques Louis David’s, Death of Marat, was a ground breaking painting of the assassination of Jean-Paul Marat, the radical revolutionary who condemned thousands to the scaffold during France’s Reign of Terror. Capturing the quiet moment just after Marat’s murder, David transforms the terrorist, Marat, into a noble martyr and rallying symbol for the Revolution. A […]

El Greco’s Cleansing of the Temple

El Greco’s Cleansing of the Temple (1600) is a cautionary work, admonishing the Church to remember that money, power, and politics can be corrupting influences, El Greco paints a dynamic picture of Christ brandishing a whip of cords as he moves through, what should be a house of prayer, but has become a den of […]

Jacques Louis David’s Death of Socrates

Jacques Louis David’s, Death of Socrates, embodies both the neoclassical movement and the ideals of the French Revolution. Socrates, a harsh critic of the Athenian government was sentenced to death, a death Socrates used to model stoic strength to his students. Who is Jacques Louis David Jacques Louis David is a French Neoclassical painter known […]

Caravaggio’s Seven Works of Mercy

Caravaggio’s Seven Works of Mercy is an oil painting that was completed in 1607. The work shows a set of compassionate acts that humans can perform for one another. These works were central to the mission statement of the confraternity the work was commissioned for. Who is Caravaggio Michelangelo da Merisi, has always been referred to […]

Jacques Louis David’s Oath of the Horatii

Jacques Louis David’s Oath of the Horatii defines the Neoclassical painting style. Creating a sensation due to its’ striking aesthetic, the work soon became a rallying point for the French as it embodied the ideals and vision of the Revolution. Jacques Louis David David was a classically trained, French painter who is most noted for […]

Simonet’s Then He Wept

Enrique Simonet’s Then He Wept depicts the Biblical story of Christ standing on the Mount of Olives, overlooking Jerusalem and grieving for the city. Intimate and moving, the composition invites us to join Jesus followers on the mountain top and listen as he laments.  Christ’s grief is prompted by the disbelief of the Jewish leaders […]

Gauguin’s Vision After the Sermon

Paul Gauguin’s painting, Vision After the Sermon, is a work about the struggle of temptation, the pain of love, and the conflict of the artist. Vision After the Sermon is inspired by the art of Japan, the Celtic roots of Britany, and a woman. More about her later. Who was Gauguin? Generally Gauguin is portrayed […]

Holbein’s The Body of the Dead Christ

Holbein’s, The Body of the Dead Christ, is a gruesome picture meant to shock. Confronting the viewer with such a realistic painting of Christ in the tomb, challenges the believer’s confidence in the resurrection and demands a greater degree of faith. Influenced by Humanism, Holbein shows us Christ most human moment, his death. Doctrine held […]

Helping Kids To Thrive During Coronavirus School Closures

Helping kids to thrive during the coronavirus school closures

Help Your Kids to Thrive During Coronavirus School Closures Coronavirus has caused many disruptions to our normal schedules, including kids staying home from school. While I can’t help with the financial or childcare problems that families are facing, I can offer some advice on making this break time a productive, learning experience for children. I […]

Sandro Botticelli’s Mystic Nativity

Botticelli’s Mystic Nativity is as beautiful as it is mysterious. With this work we venture into the realm of speculation and conjecture. I hope you find this painting as intriguing as I do. “I, Sandro, painted this picture at the end of the year 1500 in the troubles of Italy.” So begins the inscription at […]

Teaching Botticelli’s Venus and Mars

Looking for a fun way to incorporate art history into your February homeschool plan?  Teaching Botticelli’s lighthearted painting of Venus and Mars is the perfect Valentine’s Day study. This painting has fun details that are sure to delight a curious child, and in this post I’m going to give a quick lesson plan including a […]

Stress Free Homeschooling for the Holidays

Great resource for stress free Christmas ideas for homeschoolers

Stress free homeschooling is possible, even during the holidays. In this post I wanted to give you some simple ways to incorporate Christmas into your school day without adding planning time or complicated supplies. These ideas are meant to be productive,  simple and fun. I’ve tried to stick to ideas that require minimal teacher input.  […]

3 Keys to a Meaningful Christmas

Adding meaning to Christmas

Are you already feeling a meaningful Christmas is slipping through your fingers? It’s not too late to inject your holiday with meaning. We all want to create magical memories, but magical memories are often elusive. We start out the month with the best of intentions, determined that this will be the year we bake, craft, […]

Hidden Meanings in Robert Campin’s Merode Altarpiece

The Hidden Meanings of the Merode Altarpiece by Campin Robert Campin’s Annunciation triptych, the Merode Altarpiece, is full of hidden symbols meant to lead the viewer into deep reflection on the mysteries of the Incarnation, or God taking on a human form in the person of Jesus. Before the work could be attributed to Campin […]

The Backstory of the Merode Altarpiece Robert Campin

The Merode Altarpiece,by Robert Campin, is an annunciation triptych full of symbolic meaning, that was intended to lead the faithful into deep contemplation of the mysteries of Christ, who left heaven to become a man. In this post, we will be exploring the backstory and context of the work. If you wish to read more […]

Italian Renaissance Art, An Overview

Renaissance Renaissance is a French term  meaning ‘rebirth’ and is used to describe a period of extensive cultural achievements that spanned the 15th to 17th centuries in Europe. A renewed interest in Greco-Roman antiquity inspired Italian Renaissance scholars to seek enlightenment by studying the golden ages of Ancient Greece and Rome.  Often the Renaissance is […]

Introducing Children to Art and Art History

Art and art history have been a part of our school life from the time my boys were toddlers, both producing art and enjoying works by others. This reflects a strong belief in introducing children to art and art history – art is interesting, expansive, and leads a well rounded education.  I enjoy art and […]

Hate History?

  Do you hate History? Did you watch the clock tick off each minute as your teacher droned on? Did you suffer through dry readings, memorize meaningless dates, and answer pointless review questions? Do you dread subjecting your child to the same boring process? If so, I’m sorry. Believe me, it doesn’t have to be […]

Get Your Museum On…

Summer, beaches, baseball, museums…yes, museums. It is a great time to take the family to the museum. We have made two museum trips so far this July. The first trip was to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). Next to the La Brea Tar Pits, LACMA is a complex of museums that is […]

Why We Need to Rethink Rewards

Do you have some sort of reward system in place for chores?  Do you reward yourself when you lose a certain amount of weight or work out every day for a week? Do you pay your kids for good grades, or take them for ice cream if they read a certain number of books? When […]

Durer’s Saint Jerome in His Study

Albrecht Durer’s Saint Jerome in His Study is a spiritual reflection on a life well lived. Who is Durer Dürer is often referred to as the DaVinci of the North, a true Renaissance man who led the Northern Renaissance from his home in Nuremberg, Germany. His father was a goldsmith, a trade that provided Dürer […]

Curriculum for Elementary School Recommendations

curriculum for elementary school

These are many wonderful curriculums out there, so this list just shows the tip of the iceberg. While the variety of choices is great, it is also OVERWHELMING. When choosing a curriculum for elementary school there are many things to consider, in this post I will give you important guidelines and suggestions. If you just […]

The Conversation That Is Art: An Introduction to the Study of Art History

The study of art history starts with examining tools. Every discipline has its tools. Writer’s craft with words to stimulate the senses, rouse the emotions, and spark our ideas. Construction workers use tools to make an architect’s drawings a physical reality. Teachers use books, imagination, and dialog to inspire their students to learn. When we […]

Video – The Conversation That Is Art

Check out the video below “Conversations in Art” and the full article here on the Blog: The Conversation That Is Art: An Introduction to the Study of Art History.   Art is an exchange of ideas that expands our understanding of what it means to be human. Across time, geography, and social constructs, artist reveal […]

The Habit of Thought Determines Your Child’s Future

The habit of thought is not an option in education. Whether parents with kids in school or homeschoolers, this area of the thought life of a child is central to life. I wrote the article for homeschoolers, but I find this area of life is something I still need to work at in my 50’s. […]

Raphael The Resurrection of Christ

Raphael’s work, The Resurrection, is Who was Raphael The Resurrection is the only work of Raphael in the Southern Hemisphere, currently held at the Sao Paulo Museum of Art in Brazil. The work is an oil painting on wood that was at one time believed to be part of a larger altarpiece. Raphael was born […]

Another No Prep Writing Exercise

easy writing lesson

Here is another no prep, easy writing exercise to keep up your children’s skills during this time we are ‘sheltering in place.’ For some basic tips to help transition to schooling at home you can check out this article.  Collect 10 Mystery Items Take a bag and walk around your house picking up 10 random […]

Schooling At Home Facebook Lives

Schooling in Place Help

Hi all, I’m going to be adding the video’s of my FB lives here. I’ll apologize here for the quality of the videos. FB live doesn’t record in the highest definition. In these video’s I’ll be sharing tips for parents to survive and thrive with their school age children who are home for the duration […]

Fun Writing Exercises

fun, easy writing lesson

Fun writing exercises, that resemble games, are a great way to pass the time while we are ‘sheltering in place’ during this pandemic. While children in school might be working through a structured writing program, for now let’s set the writing standards aside and focus on having some fun while keeping kids busy (and writing.) […]

My Greatest Fear

My greatest homeschooling fear

My greatest fear when we began this homeschooling journey was not that the boys wouldn’t get into college, or even that I would miss some crucial bit of information, (that was inevitable); it was that when they finished high school, they would breathe a sigh of relief and say, “I’m done.” Over the years I’ve […]

The Consequences of War -Peter Paul Rubens

The Consequences of War, (or sometimes The Horrors of War) is an impressive painting by Peter Paul Rubens. The work was painted in response to the Thirty Years’ War and is heavily allegorical. Using mythological iconography to convey an eloquent warning, Rubens gives us a painting of disturbing beauty. The message of ‘The Consequences of […]

Frames and Pedestals, They Matter!

Our first impression of a piece of art is greatly influenced by how the work is displayed and by what surrounds it. Making the effort to consciously take note of these elements can increase our ability to read a work correctly. A closer look at a few sculptures will illustrate just what I mean. Before […]

Botticelli’s Venus and Mars Explained

Botticelli’s Venus and Mars is both beautiful and humorous. Mischievous satyrs, clear bright colors, hidden symbols, and missing legs all deserve a closer look so let’s get started.  Botticelli’s paintings of mythological stories are among his most famous. Botticelli’s Venus and Mars is telling the story of the illicit love affair between Venus and Mars. […]

Dürer’s Rhinoceros Print, Part 2

Albrecht Durer’s Rhinoceros print is a woodcut that is part scientifically accurate and part charming fantasy.  We’ve examined how the description of a Rhinoceros came to Dürer in this post, now we will move on to the actual print of Dürer’s Rhinoceros, how it was made, and what the words on the top of the print […]

Durer’s Rhinoceros Print, Meet Genda

Albrecht Durer’s Rhinoceros is one of the most famous prints to ever be made. The print is based on the real life rhinoceros, Genda. Here is her story.  Genda, The Gift That Keeps Giving In 1515, an Indian rhinoceros was gifted by Sultan Muzafar II of Gujarat, to the governor of Portuguese India. Genda, the […]

The Grand Tour

For nearly 300 years there was a tradition among the aristocracy of Europe to take a Grand Tour of prominent cities and their holdings of art in young adulthood. As I’m developing an Art History Curriculum, I’ve been excited to share the shape and scope of what I am working on. Art is a wonderful visual […]

Let a Child Lead You

Color in art is…complicated. While working on writing a clear, somewhat comprehensive article on the subject for my curriculum, I’ve struggled far more than seems reasonable. Connected to my thoughts on color, in a round about way, is another topic I’m interested in: teaching art to children. Color in art can be realistic, symbolic, emotive, […]

Thinking of Going Plastic Free or Zero Waste

Yes, It’s Plastic Free July. Yes, I’m participating…you can check out why here. I’ve been cutting back on plastic use, particularly single use plastics for a years now. I’ve read innumerable books and blogs, listened to podcasts…and I’ve eliminated a lot of plastic waste. That said, I do have a few cautions if you are […]

Simple, Sustainable, No Waste Water Filter

Plastic Free July is currently going on…you can read about why I got on-board here. About 6 months ago we moved into a new place and our tap water didn’t taste great. I had committed to cutting plastics and began looking for a filtering system that was simple, effective, inexpensive, AND didn’t involve plastic filters […]

Why I Participated in Plastic Free July…Going Plastic Free

Have you ever bought something new, like a blue car, and then you see that same blue car everywhere? Or someone you love gets pregnant, and then every other woman you pass is pregnant?  It’s like we suddenly develop a hyper-awareness. Same thing happened to me with plastic.  Once I saw the problem I couldn’t […]

Color Crash Course – Part 1

Quick color crash course. Color is one of the foundations of art, and  so we need a basic understanding of color theory. For thousands of years artist and craftsmen have been passing down their knowledge of color and how to use it effectively.  In the 1660’s Isaac Newton began experimenting with light and prisms, and […]

Entering The Conversation That Is Art

Article on the Visual Language of Art

Every discipline has it’s tools. Writer’s craft with words to stimulate the senses, rouse the emotions, and spark our ideas. Construction workers use tools to make an architect’s drawings a physical reality. Teachers use books, imagination, and dialog to inspire their students to learn. When we want to know more about art, how to read […]

Bruegel Resists, A Painting With Many Stories to Tell.

Pieter Bruegel the Elder was a Flemish Northern Renaissance painter  who lived from 1525 to 1569, dying when he was 44. Of his children, two sons also became famous painters. Bruegel was known for his landscapes and genre paintings. In fact, he was a pioneer in genre painting, or painting the common people. He used […]

Prayer Nuts

Article on the medieval Prayer Nut

A prayer nut is a Gothic, miniature sculpture contained inside of a sphere of boxwood. Prayer nuts were all the rage during the 1500’s, and personally, I’m not sure why they fell out of style. I find them fascinating. At the end of the post, I’ve linked to my video on this subject if you […]

Murillo’s Adoration of the Shepherds

Bartolome Esteban Murillo’s work, Adoration of the Shepherds, brings to life the phrase, “the people who walk in darkness will see a great light.” Creating an intimate scene of adoration, Murillo invites us to join the shepherd’s in worshipping the Christ Child. Who was Murillo Bartolome Esteban Murillo, a Spanish Baroque painter spent his entire […]

Rembrandt’s Dream of Saint Joseph

Rembrandt’s Dream of Saint Joseph emphasizes Joseph’s connection to the Joseph of the Old Testament, and to his role as the Saint of Hidden Things. Additionally, this work makes us reconsider the customary image of the sleeping Joseph. This painting is one of several that Rembrandt made of this story and I find it refreshing […]

Tintoretto’s Nativity

Tintoretto’s, Nativity provides the viewer with a unique portrayal of the familiar nativity story. Skillfully using light, and the distinctive architecture of a two story barn, Tintoretto connects the iconography of the Nativity with that of the Last Supper. Providing multiple examples of food, drink and nourishment, Tintoretto links our physical need for sustenance with […]

Caravaggio’s Nativity with St. Francis and St. Lawrence

Caravaggio’s Nativity with St. Francis  and St. Lawrence is famous, not just because it is a masterpiece but because it is on the FBI’s 10 Top Art Crimes. The artist has given us a controversial depiction of the Virgin Mary that challenged the doctrines of Catholic church.  Rejecting the exaggerations of the Mannerists (see El […]

Pieter Bruegel the Elder, The Census at Bethlehem

Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s, Census at Bethlehem, shifts the Biblical story into the political and physical world of 16th century Netherlands. One of the first snow landscapes painted in Europe, the Census at Bethlehem is at once a beautifully composed genre painting and a biting social commentary. In many ways it is a painting of a […]

El Greco’s Annunciation

El Greco’s Annunciation was painted late in the artists career when his style had fully developed. Combining the exaggerated colors and figures of the Mannerists with the mysticism he practiced while living in Spain, we have a truly unique envisioning of the Biblical story. Here, El Greco has included the unusual iconography of the burning […]

The Annunciation by Titian

  The Annunciation by Titian is one of the artist later works displaying his innovative loose brushstrokes and dramatic lighting. Containing more of the heavenly realm than the earthly, Titian alters the traditional Renaissance envisioning of the story. Who was Titian The Venetian master, Titian was born Tiziano Vecelli. He was an Italian Renaissance painter […]

Grunewald’s Annunciation from the Isenheim Altarpiece

Grunewald’s Annunciation Panel on the Isenheim Altarpiece was painted to give comfort in a hospital that could offer little hope. With his mystic, emotional style, Grunewald’s Annunciation plays on the theme of Mary as the church, bringing Christ to a dark world. For the hospitals patients and family any hope was a welcome respite. Grunewald, […]

The Holy Family by Michelangelo

The Doni Tondo by Michelangelo portrays an intimate moment of the Holy Family done on a round panel and encased in an elaborate frame. The work  was completed just before Michelangelo began work on the Sistine ceiling and gives hints of Michelangelo’s movement toward Mannerism. The work shows the progression of time, from the pagan […]

Giorgione’s Adoration of the Shepherds

Giorgione’s Adoration of the Shepherds exemplifies the distinctives of this Venetian artist. In this work his penchant for enigmatic themes is fully expressed as he paints Christ as the Eucharist and Mary as the Altar. Surrounded by the evocative landscape we have the shepherd’s arriving to worship the baby Jesus and learn from Mary. As […]

Albrecht Dürer Nativity Woodcuts

Albrecht Dürer’s Nativity Woodcuts Albrecht Dürer’s Nativity Woodcuts communicate complexity with nothing but lines, and it is astounding. Realistically representing space, emotion, perspective, with nothing but lines cut into wood amazes me with the delicacy he achievies. Dürer has always been my favorite artist and I’m looking forward to sharing some of his work with […]

Filippo Lippi’s The Annunciation with Two Donors

Filippo Lippi’s Annunciation with Two Donors Filippo Lippi’s, Annunciation with Two Donors, is a beautiful Renaissance work that brings together the iconography of the nativity story. Today we’ll explore both the art and the controversial artist. Lippi, Artist and Scoundrel Filippo Lippi…his art and his life are fairly incongruous. He was a bit of a […]

Jan Van Eyck’s The Annunciation, The Hidden Meanings.

Jan Van Eyck’s Annunciation, is a work that shimmers with a luminous clarity, infusing spiritual meaning into every small detail. Van Eyck is true to the Flemish tradition of hiding symbols in the everyday, and using complicated iconography. In particular, Van Eyck explores the connections between the Old and New Testament of the Bible, the […]

Rogier Van Der Weyden’s The Visitation

Rogier Van Der Weyden’s, The Visitation Roger Van Der Weyden’s, The Visitation, explores the story of Mary’s visit with her cousin Elizabeth. Today we will be focusing on a small panel painting of the Visitation, and then taking a look at a Nativity by Van Der Weyden’s workshop which has another version of the Visitation. […]

Donatello’s The Annunciation

Donatello’s Annunciation Donatello’s Annunciation is the focus of today’s post. I’m excited that today we get to examine a work by one of the esteemed Ninja Turtles. I have four sons and the Ninja Turtles hold a special place in my heart because my son’s started checking out books from the library about the artists […]

Fra Angelico’s The Annunciation in the Cortona Altarpiece

Fra Angelico’s Annunciation Fra Angelico’s Annunciation in the Cortona Altarpiece is beautiful, and filled with religious symbolism meant to expound on the doctrines surrounding Christ incarnation. You can view this post in a video here.  Who was Fra Angelico Fra Angelico was a Dominican friar, who was also an early Italian Renaissance painter. He was […]

The Limbourg Brother’s Book of Hours

The Limbourg Brother’s Book of Hours Today we journey into the Limbourg Brother’s Book of Hours, or the wonderful world of illuminated manuscripts. These manuscripts are one of my favorite art forms, tiny perfection. The Limbourg Brothers (there are 3 of them) wrote and illustrated the Belles Hours for Jean de France, the Duc of […]

Martini’s The Annunciation

Simone Martini’s Annunciation Simone Martini’s Annunciation is a wonderful example of Gothic art. Martini captures the moment Gabriel tells Mary that she will bear a son. We’ve explored Duccio’s, ‘Maesta’,  earlier in this series, Martini is one of Duccio’s students and is believed to have worked on portions of the Maesta. In that post we […]

The Duccio Maesta Altarpiece Nativity

The Duccio Maesta Altarpiece Nativity is the subject of our tour of Nativity art. You can view this post in video form on my YouTube channel here. Evolutionary thought can blind us In the last article we examined a work by Giotto, who was a contemporary of today’s artist, Duccio. Giotto represented the city-state of […]

Giotto Arena Chapel Nativity

Arena Chapel Giotto di Bondone

The Giotto Arena Chapel Nativity is the subject for day 3 on our Advent in Art Series. Background of the Giotto Arena Chapel In a Northeast corner of Italy is the city of Padua. Even in 1303, Padua was a cosmopolitan center boasting a prestigious University. One of the residents was a man named Enrico […]

Mosaic in the Chora Church

A mosaic in the Chora Church will be the focus of todays advent art. The mosaics and frescoes of the Chora Church are some of the finest examples of Byzantine art that have survived to our modern times. History of the Church of the Holy Saviour in Chora The Church of the Holy Saviour in […]

Nicola Pisano Nativity Panel in the Baptistry in Pisa.

Background on the Pisano Nativity Panel The Piazza dei Miracoli The work we will be considering is the Nativity panel in the Baptistry in Pisa from a pulpit designed and sculpted by Nicola Pisano completed in 1260.  This information is also available in video here. A bit of background is necessary to put this work […]

Advent in Art

I’m excited to invite you to participate in Advent in Art Reawaken the wonder and beauty of the Christmas story as we explore 25 masterpieces. For the first 25 days in December we will explore 500 years of art dedicated to the nativity. Rich with imagery, the story of the incarnation is made visible. Artists […]

Get Organized And Ditch The Overwhelm

getting your homeschool organized

People who know me might be laughing right now. I am a go with the flow type mom, and messes are part of the flow. However, without some serious organization, homeschooling and 4 sons meant overwhelm. (Yes, four sons, the cutie in the photo is a granddaughter, a new adventure.) Since, organization can be a […]

10 Fabulous, Off the Radar Christmas Books

Christmas Books for Children

  This year I was on a mission to discover some new and unusual Children’s Christmas Books. We have recently moved and I’ve been visiting the Thousand Oaks Library. They have the most AMAZING collection of children’s books. There were shelves and shelves of Christmas Books, hundreds of them. I spent a recent afternoon reading […]

Molly’s Pilgrim

Molly's Pilgrim

True confession, when I read this book out loud to students I cry. I cover it well, but every time it gets to me. Part of the pull for me is that Molly is a Russian refugee looking for a new home in America. My in-laws were also Russian refuges who fled Stalin’s Russia. Molly […]

Make This a Summer to Remember

Summer to Remember

  Summer is here!!!!  Except it’s not. I was at the library with my 18 month old granddaughter this morning and overheard some conversations between moms and the children’s librarian. They were discussing ‘summer slide.’ That dreaded decline in students abilities over the summer break. On Pinterest, I was deluged with posts about how to […]

Reduce Stress In Your Homeschool Day

Law of the Farm

Homeschooling is stressful. There are time constraints, financial burdens, and parent burnout. However, the big source of  stress is fear that we are not doing enough to provide our children with the education they will need When this fear snuck up on me, I found relief and hope in applying, what I call, the law […]

Are parents really qualified to teach their children?

Are parents qualified to teach their children

I understand if you have your doubts. We have been taught to think that we need a special credential to teach our children and that if we teach something in the wrong order our children will be permanently damaged. As you will see in a minute, the research suggests that not only are parents qualified, […]

Shakespeare Resources

Resources Shakespeare

  In a previous article I made the case for teaching Shakespeare to your students. If you haven’t read that article you can find it here. Or if you are interested in background information that is helpful when teaching Shakespeare you can check here.         As promised, here are some resources I […]

Shakespeare’s England

shakespeare's england

The ability to place Shakespeare, the man, into his historical context can enrich our reading and understanding of his plays. While dealing with universal themes that will resonate with modern audiences, there are portions that will yield richer rewards if we are able to place the plays in their context. Shakespeare was born during the […]

Why Shakespeare?

Why teach shakespeare

I admit, I’m one of the nerds who loves Shakespeare. I was introduced to the Bard in Jr. High in a drama class, and was asked to compete in a Shakespeare Festival performing a soliloquy from King Lear. While I’m sure my performance was sadly lacking, I was able to watch performances by some very […]

Why Geography?

Why teach geograph

We live in a crazy and exciting time, the world is changing… daily. When I wrote up my Philosophy of Education, and looked to the future, one of the things I wanted to impart to my kids was a concern and interest about life outside of the United States. With advances in travel, communication, commerce, […]

Busting The Myth Of The Perfect Homeschool

busting the myth

This post is dedicated to all those homeschooling moms who fear that they are not doing all that they should to assure their kids get a great education. I was scrolling through some past newsletters and came upon this paragraph. In the article I was talking about the value of going on field trips, I’ll […]

Making the shift to homeschooling, not doing school at home.

Shifting to Home Education

One of the easiest mistakes to make when beginning the homeschooling journey is to model our homeschool after our local public schools. Each of us has our own reason for choosing to homeschool, most often that reason includes the thought that we want more for our kids than our local school offers, or we want […]

Solving at least one common homeschool frustration

Homeschool box

  On a typical homeschool morning it was a major accomplishment to have all the kids up, dressed, fed, and chores done.  Then we need to start school, which often went something like this. Math first, except child # 2 can’t find his book and child #4 broke his pencil. After 10 minutes of searching […]

Steps to Becoming a Confident Homeschooler

Confident Homeschooling

As many of you know, over the summer I’ve been working on getting my website up. Part of doing that has been listening to a TON of podcast to learn all I could about the process. In a Podcast by Michael Hyatt, sort of a platform building guru, he talked about the 7 C’s to […]

Easy Books Are Key To Kid’s Loving Reading

Why children need easy books

Easy books, lots of easy books, are a key element in raising kids who love to read. We all want our children to be good readers. We want them to love books!  A child who loves to read has a huge advantage in life. Why Challenging Books Backfire But there is one common mistake we […]

Curriculum is not the key to your homeschooling success

One of the biggest mistakes parents and teachers make is teaching a curriculum. Let’s take math. Our child needs to learn mathematical concepts, so we choose a math program. Then, almost universally, we become focused on the curriculum instead of the student. Have you ever become hyper focused on your child finishing that day’s math […]

Advice for getting the most from those Junior High Years

Those Jr. High Years

So Just what do your kids need to do in Junior High?     In elementary school our children are learning the basic building blocks of education; reading, writing, and arithmetic. Their understanding of basic science concepts and vocabulary are growing, and  they are gaining a sense of the flow of history. Make this framework […]

New Homeschool Year Checklist

Homeschool Checklist

I LOVE September.  Forget the whole ‘January is a new year’ business, it’s the start of a new school year I love. So here is my list of what needs to be done as you begin the new school year. 1.  Evaluate  Most of us want to jump straight into ordering curriculum, but there is […]

Homeschool Vs. Charter School

Homeschool vs. Charter School

This has been a difficult article for me to write and one I have put off repeatedly.  I was asked again today about Charter Schools and I decided it was time I address the issue. First, and most importantly, I fervently believe parents should be able to determine how best to educate their children.  We […]