Miss Thistlebottom’s Hobgoblins: A Review

I have a weakness for books with funny titles– especially if they are about writing, grammar, style, and usage. Miss Thistlebottom’s Hobgoblins: The Careful Writer’s Guide to the Taboos, Bugbears and Outmoded Rules of English Usage by Theodore M. Bernstein has finally made its way from my Amazon wish list to my desktop, and I’ve been enjoying it immensely.

Bernstein, a former editorial director of the New York Times Book Division, a 25-year journalism professor at Columbia’s School of Journalism, and consultant on usage for the Random House and American Heritage dictionaries, tackles some of the unfortunate strictures that have made writing more difficult than it needs to be. With delightful good humor, he routs “Syntax Scarecrows” and other distractions, while answering grammar, usage, and style questions you didn’t know you should be asking. Continue reading

Our Students Need to Write More

Erasmus by Hans Holbein: Write more, write better.During the past decade, I’ve spent a fair amount of time evaluating student writing and teaching SAT prep essay workshops and online high school literature classes. I’ve had the chance to read hundreds of papers from students all over the country, and I’ve discovered one small key to success in writing: Write More...

That’s a directive that easily questioned– write more what? Words? Minutes? Pages? My response is simple– YES to all of the above. Students who write often, tend to write better and more easily than students who are rarely required to pick up a pen (or turn on the computer). Continue reading

High School Requirements: The Wrong Question?

As you consider whether or how to homeschool through high school, there are a few major questions that may crop up. One of the first questions I often hear is about “high school requirements.”

Parents wonder how many years of which subjects their student must take in order to graduate from high school, and that’s certainly an understandable question. However, there are reasons why it isn’t the most important question you need to ask. Continue reading

High School Transcripts- Frequently Asked Questions

Creating a high school transcript is easier than it looks, but there are a few questions that tend to recur like dandelions in springtime. The beginning of the spring semester seems a good time to review a couple of the questions that are most frequently asked.

The winner of the most FAQ (frequently asked question) contest would have to be some variation of the following:

Q- My 10-year-old is doing Saxon Calculus this year. Can we count it on his high school transcript? Continue reading