When my older son was studying for AP US History (APUSH is what kids call it in memes) my younger son would learn with us if the material was interesting. So each day we watched a YouTube video and I spent way, way too much time trying to find good videos about topics on the test.

When I heard my nephew Simon is taking AP US as well I started saving the links my kids really liked. I meant to publish this list for Simon’s birthday. I almost forgot. It was last week.

Happy birthday, Simon! Good luck with AP US History!

And pro-tip from Aunt P: Start with the video about the War of 1812. That’s a good one!

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Parents who love to learn never talk about love of learning. Parents assume their kids have it. So the first thing I notice about Classical Conversations is the slogan on their learn more page: “Over 125,000 students worldwide are cultivating a love of learning with us.” Here are other things I noticed.

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Before we can even talk about the merits of Classical Curriculum we need to talk about the mob-like business of creating confusion to generate profit.

There are laws governing trademarks so that people don’t trademark names that cause confusion. For example, people constantly grab Penelope Trunk when there is a new social platform, and they think I will buy the account from them. But I can just write an email to the owners of the platform and they will give me my name because giving anyone else my name will be purposely causing confusion for the consumer.

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Did you always dream of playing video games with your kids all day long? Then homeschooling is your dream come true! The whole family can learn together!

But for everyone else, homeschooling turns out to be each family member learning on their own, because if you want to learn what someone else wants you to learn, you can just go to school.

It took me a while to admit that my kids are not interested in any of the things I thought we’d be learning together. In my dream of homeschooling utopia, my kids and I would study intricate artworks hour after hour. But once I faced the truth, I noticed that complexity annoys the kids, and low-brow innovation intrigues them. So here are some ways I got my teenage sons to pay attention to art.

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How to do 1st grade - 7th grade in one month

I didn’t teach my kids any curriculum until 7th grade. Here’s how I did it:

Reading
Education insider Lisa Nielsen showed me all sorts of data that says kids of college graduates teach themselves to read. That turned out to be true for our family.

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bow

My son’s first cello teacher, Gilda Barston, died when he was 10. He warms up every day with a short song she taught him for getting his fingers in tune. He’s been playing the exercise for so long that it’s no longer an intonation exercise as much as a prayer. A prayer to teaching, I think.

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Public schools in the US are a living history lesson about social class. Grouping by age teaches kids to be sorted according to birth. Sounding bells teaches kids to become factory workers. Our high school math curricula teaches kids how to win the Cold War.

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My new friend Amelia sounds like swift-footed Achilles or bright-eyed Athena or sensible Telemachus. I wonder how many of you recognize those epithets from the Odyssey.

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In high school, I took French and German, and in college I took Hebrew. I spent four months in Israel studying Hebrew and three months in France learning ten french words for chicken coop. So I’m coming to this conversation with a bias in favor of learning a second language.

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This year I made a big change in how we homeschool. Up to now, I let them learn whatever they want, and when they needed help, I hired an expert: skateboard lessons, pottery lessons, and biology. And I taught the kids myself if I thought I’d enjoy it, like violin, and Hebrew and boogie boarding.

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