• July is National Picnic Month!

    July is National Picnic Month!

    The word picnic has French origins, likely from the verb “piquer” (to pick) and the noun “nique” (a small amount). The term pique-nique was first used in a French satire in 1649, Les Charmans effects des barricades, ou l’amité durable de la compagnie des freres Bachiques de Pique-Nique. The main character is named Pique-Nique and…

  • The Federalist Papers

    The Federalist Papers

    In 1776, John Jay, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison published a series of articles under the name of Publius in several New York newspapers. Their goal was to encourage the public to support the republican constitution being proposed. Some opposed to the document argued that the central government would be too powerful. These three Founding…

  • Summer Reading BINGO For Kids and Teens!

    Summer Reading BINGO For Kids and Teens!

    What a fun way to encourage your kids to read! We have two levels of summer bingo cards that you can download, and even fill in prizes. You do not even have to spend money on them, you can offer a no chores week or pick the menu for family dinner night. Click the image…

  • June is National Rose Month!

    June is National Rose Month!

    According to fossil evidence, roses date back some 35 million years. There are over 30,000 species of roses in the moderns world, with 150 native species in North America alone, stretching all the way north from Alaska and south to Mexico. The first roses were first cultivated in China about 3,000 years ago. Around 2,o0o…

  • 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…