Notes from the High School: Week 1

There is no tired like first-week-back-to-school tired, but I think we got the year off to a great start!

This is our U.S. History year, so we jumped right into the complicated idea of what is U.S. history (versus “American history” versus “American mythology”). We started out by revisited some of the big ideas of last year — the Enlightenment and Victorian notions of reason, science, self, politics, and diversity that would play a key role in shaping U.S. history, too. Then we did a close “read” of Grant Wood’s “American Gothic” and surprised ourselves from ending up in a completely different place from where we started. We followed up with an analysis of one of Amy’s favorite poems, Sylvia Plath’s “Mushrooms,” sans title, which allowed us to recharge our critical thinking and reading skills after the summer break. (And which gave Amy an excuse to revisit her favorite point about studying literature, which is: You are as smart as the author, and your ideas are as valid as hers — as long as you can back them up!) We reconsidered the history of the Pilgrims as a great American myth and explored the question of why we want so much for them to be heroes that we’re willing to ignore historical evidence that contradicts that. 

The chemistry gang started out by addressing that most relevant of all chemistry questions: Why should we even care about chemistry? Because if that’s not where you start, it’s hard to make the rest of the class a success.

It’s always a lot of review to kick off Latin, math, and Spanish, and this year is no exception. Everybody seemed glad to get back to work — I love that our summer break is just long enough that everyone is at least a little glad for school to start back!

We’ve got tons of great new books in the library this year and encourage you to take advantage of your check-out privileges.