Seeing Something that Hasn't Been Seen for 400 Years

Zhenya Gershman in her studio


Sometimes we only see what we’ve been told to see. What if there is something entirely different to see?

During 7th grade, Natalie and I enrolled in a magnificent class on the artist Rembrandt with Zhenya Gershman, an artist-educator who was teaching at the Getty Center at […]

Stressful Schools = Toxic Apples


Madeline Levine’s book Teach Your Children Well (see Judith Warner’s review, NY Times 7/29/12) includes a startlingly true statement that serves as a call to action. She says, “When apples were sprayed with a chemical at my local supermarket, middle-aged moms turned out, picket signs and all, to protest the possible risks to […]

Pamela's Interview at


uncertainty innovative home schooler. lifelong learner. possibility seeker. Pamela Beere Briggs is a filmmaker, writer, and the mother of a happy teen. Her passions include good food, engaging books, and re-thinking the wisdom of middle school.

When we’re learning, we’re so much more open. There’s a freedom, a feeling of being able to […]

The Key to Healthy & Happy Lives? The Answer Might Surprise You


Renoir’s “Boating Party.” I wonder if Renoir knew that being part of a caring community is really good for your health.

In his eye-opening book Outliers: The Story of Success (Little, Brown and Company, 2008), Malcolm Gladwell tells a cross between a fairy tale and a detective story about a town whose […]

A Parent Asks About High School After Home School

A mom recently sent me an email to say that she is thinking about home schooling her son for a year or two to allow for opportunities that aren’t possible because of the cultural pressure to “keep moving fast and forward without much time to reflect and be centered.” She also asked some excellent […]

Funny Ladies in the Comics Pages?

Sometimes we have to ask a question more than once.

Natalie reads the comics pages in the Los Angeles Times every morning while she eats breakfast. Recently, in the middle of eating her scrambled eggs and toast, she said this, “There’s only one comic strip that’s by a woman. Why’s that?” She had noticed that […]

Reading in Bathrooms & Standardized Testing

Every once in a while, an essay by Claire Needell Hollander appears in The New York Times. I make sure to read it. She is smart & witty & wise. And, her writing, which both entertains and enlightens, always inspires me to write down my own thoughts in response to whatever it is she is […]

A Memorial That Moved Us to Tears

Have you visited a memorial that moved you to tears?

Walking on a glorious fall day in Pasadena, California with no destination in mind, we had already come upon some interesting sites, including:

The Pacific Asia Museum, which was originally “The Grace Nicholson Treasure House of Oriental Art,” a fascinating architectural structure that blends both […]

Knit On!

I’ve been knitting for 8 years, more than half my life, but have only recently discovered that I enjoy teaching people how to knit. After having made multiple scarves, a hat and a sweater, this year I became president of my high school’s knitting club. So far, twenty students have joined and the two meetings […]

How to...

Eleanor Roosevelt knitting

During our two-year home school adventure, we (not just Natalie) learned how to do a lot of different things. We spent time making things: a garden, a quilt, recipes, scarves, a schoolhouse, a newspaper. One thing I know is this: making things is fun and it is also empowering. The […]