Friday, 2 June 2017

STOP PRESS! New Sections of Middle Ages and BritNov on Offer!

We're so blessed and humbled at Dreaming Spires that so many people are entrusting us with the education of their teens, and our popularity meant that two of our English courses became oversubscribed before the end of May!

Problem: how to make sure more students can take advantage of our motivating and empowering style of live, online courses?

Solution: Recruit one of my oldest and dearest and cleverest friends to come on board as a second English tutor!

Introducing Jackie Pavlenko!

Jackie's bio can be found on the "About Us" tab, but the long-and-short of it is that she's an Oxford grad who went into the screenwriting business. She's too humble to tell you about the awards won by the film she wrote, El Greco, including BEST FILM at the Thessaloniki Film Festival in 2007.

Jackie and I have been co-home-educators in the trenches off and on for the past twelve years, and I'm so thrilled that I managed to eventually pin her down to join the Dreaming Spires team. She has so much insight and depth of thought to add to our courses' explorations, and being a "worldschooler" at this stage in life, she'll be one of those value-added tutors with oodles of culture to exchange!

Mrs Pavlenko will teach a section each of Middle Ages and British Novel: refer to the timetable for the new opportunities to study with us.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Unexpected Gifts - Courses Filling Fast

I know sometimes people will claim their courses are filling up to just get people to sign up earlier, but in this case, I'm telling the plain truth.

This is my "being honest" face

Dreaming Spires has added new subjects this year, and all of them are filling up in May when they're not due to start till the second week of September.

I can't believe it! Incredibly humbled and very excited, but also, stunned.

This is my "I'm stunned" face
So let me just make one plea: if you're considering joining us for any of our courses -- the four options for English and composition, Ancient Rome or Ancient Greece, Spanish and Advanced Spanish, or our new living books Biology course -- then please register today!

The only commitment is a $30 registration fee.

If you're still on the fence, let me just say three things: 
  • first, we're the only Charlotte-Mason-style, living-books curriculum delivered live and online by homeschooling parents who are subject specialists (that's a mouthful: we really are a unique tutorial staff here at Dreaming Spires!);
  • second, we retain 80% of our families year-on-year, and for the first time in this registration period, we've had more than one family RETURN to us after trying a year of something else;
  • third, our "graduates" are contacting me to say that not only have we prepared them for their further academic studies, but that they MISS the way that we taught our subjects in such a living and memorable way.
So, with my most sincere face ...

Ummm ... no ... that's not the one ...

Okay, we'll go with this one

I sincerely encourage you to sign up today using the Blogger contact form on the right-hand sidebar, or drop me a line at

I'm very approachable, and I and my hand-picked tutors are committed to providing courses for your teens as though they were our own children.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Early Bird Registration Starts April 1st

No ... this is not an April Fool's joke - Early Bird registration for current Dreaming Spires students is opening on 1st April, to book places on courses that are due to start in September.

Don't be a fool! Sign up early!!

If you're not a current student, your Early Bird registration period begins the 15th of April and lasts only two weeks.

 Why sign up so early? Because April is the only month where you get two great deals:

  1. Fees will be held over from 2016; after 30th of April, the prices WILL increase!
  2. You are able to spread the cost over five months instead of paying the full price at once!
Pop on over to our Timetable tab and see all the courses we've got on offer this year: the oldies-but-goodies, four years of English with a composition option; our new star of 2016, Ancient History; and the new kids on the block, Spanish (2 courses) and Biology.

Go ahead and spread the word ... referral discounts are unlimited to the tune of 100% savings, so get out there and share!!!

Sunday, 19 February 2017

New Timetable for September Out Now

Early Bird registration for Dreaming Spires courses will open on 1st April, but in the meantime, you may want to see what we have in store in terms of our timetabling.

There are some alterations based on the necessity of our family commitments, especially when it comes to juggling our own children's home education with our desire to supply the highest quality of online learning experiences for yours.

English Literature and Composition
Middle Ages Lit
8 am CST/2 pm UK

American Lit

1 pm CST/7 pm UK

British Novel

1 pm CST/7 pm UK


9:30 am CST/3:30 pm UK
Add-On Composition
Usually meet 1/2 hour after class

Classical Civilisation/Ancient History


Roman History

1-2 pm CST/7-8 pm UK

Greek History

8-9 am CST/2-3 pm UK

Add-On Writing Extensions
Usually meet 1/2 hour after class



Biology with lab

8-9 am CST/ 2-3 pm UK



Spanish 2

11 am CST/5-6 pm UK

Spanish 1

11 am CST/5-6 pm UK

Friday, 6 January 2017

Foremost Frankenstein Expert Dies

So many famous people died in 2016 - Prince, David Bowie, Carrie Fisher - but one of the deaths that impacted me the most was that of an academic.

This man was Professor Charles Robinson. He was my graduate advisor at the University of Delaware back in the 80s, and one of the foremost authorities on Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.

Professor Robinson died peacefully at home in November last year, but in June, he was taking my children and me on a tour of the Delaware campus where I'd spent two years as a student. As eager as always to talk up the English department there, he gave the recruitment spiel to my teenage daughter. Heck, he did such a good job, I was ready to sign up for it all over again!

He then took us up to East Main Street and bought us pizza. As we sat on the patio, practically sweltering in the summer sunshine, he started telling us all about his continued research in Mary Shelley's original manuscripts. 

The Pizza may be a legend, but so was the company!

Robinson's book called The Original Frankenstein is published by Vintage Classics, and provides actually two different versions of the novel: that with Mary's words only, and another with Percy's amendments.

"She uses a lot more simple vocabulary and is more straightforward, then Percy comes along and adds all these Latinate words. But even though he added about 4,000 words to the original story, the novel is all Mary's."

His research and scholarship has earned him the position as the go-to consultant on most documentaries on Shelley's bookname turns up on almost every documentary about Shelley as a consultant, but it's not just his excellent scholarship; it's his enthusiasm for studies.

So friendly and accessible, and a lover of great scholarship!
Here are my kids with him at the pizza place.

The man loved his Romantics - his Byron, his Shelley, his Mary Shelley. He didn't know just the texts, but their letters, their manuscripts, their scribblings - the kind of behind-the-scenes expressions that reveal more about the author than simply reading between the lines.

Perhaps in the context of 2016, his death was just a small pebble in a very large pond, but the ripples he made in terms of Frankenstein scholarship were considerable, and will be noted for many years to come.

Friday, 16 December 2016

Middle-Ages Lit Student Wins Charity Speech Contest

A student from the Middle Ages Literature class at Dreaming Spires Home Learning has won the annual speech contest where the winner sees a donation sent from Dreaming Spires to a charity of his or her choosing.

Talia shows off her winner's certificate

Talia K, a 16-year-old from Maine, spoke with great passion about Dress a Girl Around the World. She continually asked us to envision a world where every girl owned at least one dress, and pointed out how a well-dressed girl was actually less likely to be targeted for the slave trade. We learned that people help sew the dresses rather than relying on machinery or mass-production, and each dress is distributed on mission trips in person, not just shipped abroad.

The external judge gave Talia the nod for not only her crafted speech, but because she had personally raised money and sewn dresses for the charity herself.

Congratulations, Talia!