News and Notes, Newsletters, Pezze e Piselli

Pezze e Piselli by Tammy


A hodge podge of things I’ve been reading. I hope you find something of interest.

From MIT: What Kids Should Do in High School

Setting Goals for Your Dyslexic Homeschooler

Briana shared this recently on Facebook, but in case anyone missed it: Bullet Journal for Homeschool Planning

My son is a rising high school freshman. He turns fifteen in August and is chomping at the bit to get his driver’s permit. I’m having to move over as he takes more control of his education AND his driving. Moving to the Passenger Seat


The more relaxed days of summer are a perfect time:

How to Teach Your Kids to Cook

Summer Ideas for a Better Homeschool Year

Charlotte Mason on Helping Children Form Good Habits

Join Jen and some of us in a Middle Earth Summer


An Audio Lecture Series From The Great Courses Plus: An Introduction to Formal Logic

I’m just discovering Professor Carol. Boy, have I been missing out!

Art is Empowering (podcast)

Finding Amber

Knowledge lightens our hearts and our souls. It eases and inspires our minds. It fuels the great God-given capacity we have to learn in the abstract and to apply our learning to the concrete.
So, stop the bus from time to time. Pull off your shoes, especially as the summer has come and more structured learning can take a back seat to spontaneous discovery. Run on the beach and let the sunlight guide your eye to those chips of learning that are the unexpected jewels. Gaze in delight at them, and put them in a secure pocket. Their light will warm our souls and light they way through the dark days of winter.


My husband and son both enjoy these during the warm months (but we use plain graham crackers instead of cinnamon): Homemade Ice Cream Sandwiches

Enjoy the long weekend. Fire up the grill. Spend time with friends and family. But also teach your children what Memorial Day is truly about; bear witness to the sacrifices that have built our country. To quote General Patton: We should be thankful that such men (and women) lived.



News and Notes, Newsletters

October Pezze e Piselli, by Briana Elizabeth

Pezze e Piselli is Italian for “patches and peas.” It’s a bits and pieces dish that gets thrown together with whatever pasta bits were leftover from the making of the dough. It was the first thing I thought of when our editor Tammy asked me to revive the long-neglected newsletter and tuck it into a Thursday post for the blog. Who can say no to Tammy? Not me.

Some of these links you’ll remember from the Facebook page. (Have you friended us? You should! We try to make it as relevant and as fun as we can!)

This piece titled The Joyful, Illiterate Kindergarteners of Finland by The Atlantic was floating around, and it sparked a lot of questions. Many of us remember kindergarten as a lot of play time interspersed with cutting and pasting and a story or two. We all know that the case is much different now, and we should ask, is that better?  The links within the article are noteworthy as well, so be sure to check them out. It also lined up with this article we shared on Delaying Kindergarten.

We thought this styrofoam cup trick for teaching place value was pretty cool!

One of our authors Jen Naughton wrote a great blog post on what might make a good Norse Myth reading list. It ties in well with this article, Hygge: A Heartwarming Lesson from Denmark.

You might really agree with this list of 10 Things Homeschoolers Wish They Could Say.

If your house is anything like mine, Halloween costumes have been chattered about for the last weeks, and finalizing of pumpkin carving images has happened. Don’t forget to save some seeds for roasting! 

Not to rush you, but November is coming up fast. My family celebrates Martinmas if we can. Here are some links to ponder and get you thinking about what kind of lantern you can make. I’ll post more about that later, too, just in case you forget.

Finally, some posts from STS that were particularly talked about: Georgiana opened her heart and wrote on Homeschooling Through the Hard Times.  And Slow and Steady reminds us all to really ponder how fast we have to work at homeschooling. Is faster always better?

And last but not least….


June 2014 Newsletter

How is everyone’s schooling doing? Some of you are fully into your new year, some are winding down or finished, and some of us just keep at it all year long. I’m in the keep at it all year group, which is why I am always reading something about education so that I can keep my interest levels up and stay engaged.

This week I was reading about monks and the Rule of St. Benedict. I was amazed at how a  Benedictine’s vows of stability, conversion, and obedience are so in tune with homeschooling. Stability is the idea that we find contentment where we are. It speaks to order. Conversion is the cultivation of virtues, and I was reading Quintilian in The Great Tradition today, “Can a bad and unjust man speak on such themes as the dignity as the subject demands?” and later, “For I do not merely assert that the ideal orator should be a good man, but affirm that no man can be an orator unless he is a good man.” To the ancients, virtue was the aim of education, and how we attain this is by constant conversion to virtue. Obedience speaks to attending to the words of our parents first, so that we can self rule, be virtuous, and become truly free people.

For the moms with littles, I came across an amazing article from Maria titled, I am Here to Help, which is about how we can teach self control to those smaller people in our lives, and the writer’s lesson through the example is proof she is a master teacher. Sometimes we need concrete examples as to how to build virtues and this is one!

Our very own Lynne wrote an amazing article for those parents who are just starting out or thinking about homeschooling, Parents as Teachers: Qualifications.

Homeschooling is not one definable “thing.”It’s as varied as the families who homeschool.   Homeschooling works for so many families because the parents are invested in finding out which methods, which curricula, and which approaches work best for their individual children.

And our newest contributor Brit also wrote a wonderful article for our Parents as Teachers series From Classroom to Homeschool.


“There are two sentiments I have heard many times over when people learn we homeschool our children. Either they say, ‘Well, you can homeschool because you are a teacher,’ if they know I used to teach, or they will exclaim, “My children would never listen to me to learn anything.” Both statements make me groan internally while trying to smile sweetly on the outside, explaining that no, my credential really doesn’t help me educate my children, and yes, your children can learn from you.”

You might have figured out by now that at Sandbox we love a good series, and we have another good one coming up on handwriting. Interestingly, this article  What’s Lost as Handwriting Fades came across my feed the other day and gives a strong argument on why we might want to keep handwriting a part of our homeschool. Not only is it beautiful, but it helps kids learn and read earlier. Ms. Spalding was right after all.

To round out this virtue training and skill building, another thing we can do with our kids is sing with them. We may not sound hauntingly beautiful like this 800 year old Icelandic funeral hymn, but music appreciation always starts with simple sing-alongs like Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.

For your older kids, you can watch art and math collide in beauty and nature study! My kids were enthralled watching  Nature By Numbers, a video on the Fibonacci sequence and the Golden Ratio.

As always, please frequent our sponsor, Classical Academic Press! We have some wonderful things planned with them, and we’re very thankful for their support of us.



Sandbox to Socrates Newsletter 5-1-2014

Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all. ~ Aristotle

With that quote in mind, I’d like to share with you our most-read post in the past few weeks. A Love Story by Genevieve is a profound story of how one mother came to the decision to homeschool and what that journey meant to her and her family.

Our second most-read post is the story of how one family chose to homeschool when public school was not meeting the emotional need of their family and how that’s worked for them. When Life Takes an Unexpected Turn by Kiki Lynn will hopefully give parents the courage to realize that they too can homeschool their children.

Those two posts were a part of our Classical Foundations series on Why Homeschool?

All over the internet and in real life, the contributors to Sandbox to Socrates are seeing parents asking these important questions about their children’s education, more than we’ve ever seen before. We want to help empower parents to make these decisions on behalf of their children and to give them a tried-and-true path to walk on: the ancient road of classical homeschooling. A Classical Education has stood the test of time and has been proven year after year. Our article by Lisa, Peace of Mind Pedagogy, sums it up well! If you know a family that is struggling with the idea of homeschooling, share this series with them, please!

~Found Around the Internet~

Protect Your Child’s Playtime is an article that I recently read on the internet that I know Ms Charlotte Mason would approve of, and I think you’ll find it validating if you’re a mother of young children.

This Book Was A Tree is a wonderful activity book for the whole family that would fall under a few homeschooling philosophies, especially classical!

Anthony Esolen has written another wonderful article on education that is a shot in the arm for a classical homeschooler and also answers some questions on what’s wrong with Common Core. Read Literature and Learn to Love Truth.  To quote, “The trick is to raise people sagacious enough to distinguish between a falsehood even if propped up by sophistication, and a truth even if naively or poorly expressed.”

If your kids love Frozen as much as mine have, you may want to read them Hans Christian Anderson’s The Snow Queen. Ask them if they can spot any similarities!

~Please Support Our Sponsors~

Classical Academic Press  not only has wonderful classical homeschooling products, but they also have Schole Academy! Check out the forums of  Classical Educator, sponsored by The Society of Classical Learning and make sure you grab a cup of something while you watch The Liturgical Classroom and Virtue Formation, a lecture by teacher Jenny Rallens.

Warmest Wishes,

Briana Elizabeth