• Celebrating the Beauty of William Morris

    Celebrating the Beauty of William Morris

    On this day, the incredible Arts and Crafts artist, William Morris was born. If you are not familiar with his work off the top of your head, it is likely you have seen it. His patterns, inspired by nature, have been used in interior design, for stationary, on mugs, and everything in between. I became…

  • Tulip Mania on Tulip Day

    Tulip Mania on Tulip Day

    Tulips are on of my favorite flowers and have been for a long time. From the elegant French tulips that gracefully flow over the side of the vase to more the more frilly parrot tulips that enchant with their unique petals. While living in Seattle, my husband and I would make the pilgrimage to the…

  • Banning Books and a Centralized Authority

    Banning Books and a Centralized Authority

    Every year, a week is designated as banned book week. This year it is the week of September 27-October 3. But when did banning books start and who decides what should be banned? To answer this, we have to go back hundreds of years. In ancient Rome, the poet Ovid’s Ars amatoria (Art of Love)…

  • Learning with Literature

    Learning with Literature

    When I began teaching college, I was absolutely thrilled to get a tenured position as a humanities professor. This meant that I could use my background in history, anthropology, and art history while teaching my courses. Up until that point, I had taught either history or anthropology for different colleges as an adjunct professor. And…

  • Homer’s The Iliad: Literature of Epic Proportions

    Homer’s The Iliad: Literature of Epic Proportions

    The epic poem, The Iliad, began as part of Greek oral tradition when great storytellers regaled the people with tales of the Trojan War. When Homer, likely around 750 B.C., first put words to paper, he created what is believed to be one of the first works of Greek literature. While there were other epic…

  • Curiosity and Free Will

    Curiosity and Free Will

    After a few episodes of the Passionate Homeschooler podcast and talking with authors, experienced teachers, and especially parents, a common theme keeps appearing in each conversation. Young minds, it seems, will approach their studies in one of two ways. They can painstakingly engage with the objects of their study like a scientist, considering every detail…

  • Shane: A Story for the Ages

    Shane: A Story for the Ages

    I read Shane for the first time to develop the literature unit for our Frontier Heroes theme for middle school. This may have been one of my favorite units to put together this whole school year (I think I say this every month!). For the Frontier Heroes, we used primary sources to tell the story…

  • “I Cannot Live Without Books”

    “I Cannot Live Without Books”

    “I cannot live without books; but fewer will suffice where amusement, and not use, is the only future object.” Thomas Jefferson wrote this in a letter to John Adams on June 10, 1815. Both George Washington and Benjamin Franklin were self taught but early on realized the value of books and reading the great works that…

  • Contemplating Classics

    Contemplating Classics

    Classic literature is considered an essential part of any student’s academic life. But have we ever stopped to consider why this is so? What could be less practical than the study of stories so powerful that they sweep you away, inspire you, and make you forget about your world? This is even more so with…

  • Teaching History through Integration

    Teaching History through Integration

    If you’ve ever had an anxious dog greet you at the door with waves of love, jumping up and down with manic energy, even though you and your dog have played the same routine hundreds or even thousands of times in the past, you might have asked yourself why the reaction is always the same,…